The road leading from Nairobi, Kenya to Moyale, Ethiopia is legendary. In a bad way. For starters it cuts through a rather lawless and sparsely populated swath of semi arid desert. It is potholed, rutted, washed out and pretty much one of the worst stretches of road yet. We have encountered some truly awful stretches where we have had to rely solely on our GPS, turning a little to the right or left when we appear to be veering off course, but this bit of ‘interstate’ stretches on for nearly three brain rattling, mind numbing days. Not only were there human casualties, there were long stretches of tension where one or both of us were totally ‘over it,’ but the car succumbed to the endless rattling as well; we broke both welds connecting our high-lift jack to our bumper, rattled numerous bolts loose, vibrated the caps off of jars and other kitchen casualties, but the real finally was an electrical short that was a miracle shy of catastrophic [read: car fire].
Fortunately I had just given George, our night guard, three books to read; the same three books that had been pressed against the now meted cable that connected our solar panels to our battery. Thank you George, you just might have been an instrumental part of our little miracle.
Glenn, following the noxious cloud of smoke, quickly sorted out the issue, clipped all of the offending wires and within minutes we were happily bumping down the road windows open breathing in dust and the smell of burnt plastic. Of course, we faced some serious repairs as soon as we reached Moyale, but given the alternate outcome, we were happier spending a day or two tracking down wire, fuses and any other necessary tidbits than we would have been replacing melted plastic Toyota parts.
"So, why Africa?" is a question we hear often. Well, why not Africa?
Glenn and I met in 2000 and set out on our first adventure together in 2002, I guess you could say that we learned a lot and decided that together we have more fun than we do alone.
I am truly a wanderer by nature, but traveling for the sake of traveling isn't what propels us. I am sure Glenn has his own reasons for wanting to explore the world, but my reasons are simple: I LOVE new experiences. Yes, I can, and do, have them at home, but at home things are predictable. In any given situation, I usually know what to expect, I understand the social scripts of my homeland and have a certain sense of 'knowing' a particular experience or outcome; but when I travel, I am not the one knowing, everything is so new, so unknowable. The social scripts that a particular group of people abide by are learned over a lifetime, not in one visit. So there is a sense of mystery, vulnerability and curiosity that accompanies even the most simple tasks, when you are a visitor. I love this. Travel reminds me that I am one tiny little (albeit sparkly) thread in this big tapestry called life...Glenn agrees.