I’m back at it again, and I know I’m supposed to be posting something new every 4th and 20th of the month, but in my defense, it has been a pretty slow couple of months and nothing new has been happening, really. So I’m going to hit you with another throwback and tell you about some of the crazy-ass trips I have taken in the past.
Now, you must know that traveling is one of my favorite things in the world, going all the way back to 96 when I took a family road trip from our resident country of Botswana to the small state of Swaziland tucked away in the hills of the southeastern region of the subcontinent. And even though I was so young I can barely remember anything else outside the undulating surfaces and steep slopes, that journey and a few others I made around that time birthed something in me that’s been a big part of who I am since then.
Still, it wasn’t until I got shipped off to boarding school that the adventures really began, because that’s when, for the first time, I started traveling alone. I’m not even gonna lie, it was a little scary the first time, and thirteen-year-old me could only hope that I wouldn’t get lost, end up in a different destination, or not find the person that was supposed to pick me up. But once all the anxieties were out of the way, I actually had a good time, and even though I was far away from perfecting my traveling traditions, I found a special kind of peace just by looking out of the window and watching trees, hills, and mountains go by, and that’s when it really struck a chord. And that time, the journey went off without a hitch, which can’t be said for one of the next journeys that followed.
On one of my bus trips home through the heart of the Kalahari Desert about a year later; I was fortunate to have my brother as my traveling companion, and as per routine, when the bus reached its halfway stop, we both got off to go and look for something to eat. Now, this wasn’t an uncommon thing to do as the five-hour journey could get a little grueling, but even though we took a little longer than we should have deciding what to buy, we had little worries because one of our fellow travelers was in the paying queue just ahead of us. Unbeknownst to us, the barcode scanner had other plans for us, only deciding to work on the fourth time of asking. No big deal, right? Well, we had another surprise waiting for us when we went outside to the place the bus was parked. It was gone.
This wouldn’t have been a problem if I had changed the dollars I had on me to local currency, or if we hadn’t spent the last money we had on pizza. Now, we had no money, neither of us had a phone, all the banks were closed because it was a Saturday afternoon, and as if all of this was scripted, the skies opened up into a torrential downpour. Just perfect. At least we had pizza. Completely out of options and soaked to the bone now, we decided the only way we were gonna get home was if we hiked there and told whoever was gonna agree to it that we would only pay once we’d reached our destination. It’s something easier said than done; after an hour of going nowhere, one random bystander noticed our plight and after we explained to him what happened, he gave us an extra five bucks to the five we already hand (we needed at least fifty) and it at least helped me remember that there is still humanity in this world. Anyways, we eventually did make it home; we, fortunately, had a family friend living in that town we were stuck in (we’d completely forgotten about this fact till she pulled up to pick us up from the place we were trying to hitchhike) and she came to the rescue, but I wish I could tell you that that wasn’t the last time I got left behind by a bus, or even that I had never gotten onto one that was going to the wrong destination. It always seems to be something, but then again, if there was nothing out of the ordinary happening, it wouldn’t be me.
Anyways, of late, most of the travel I have been doing has been trips to college and back home, but I am hoping that I am going to get back out there again really soon because there is simply something special about road trips; everything is right with me and I with the world when I am out there somewhere with a road trip playlist, all my favorite snacks, and a good book. And while the destinations are where half the enjoyment comes from, the open road is irreplaceable for me, so even though it is still a long way from now, someday, you will be able to read about more of my travels on a dedicated travel blog. That is ultimately the dream, and I only hope it won’t be too long before you’ll get to see it.