On Leaving Africa…

By the time you are reading this I’m either in the air somewhere on my way to India or already in India.  However, as I write this, I’m sitting in my room in Nairobi re-packing all of my gear, charging batteries, backing up hard-drives and all the other last minute prep that goes in before leaving for another country.

It is really hard to believe I have been in Africa for 6 months now.  I have had an amazing time and experience traveling throughout this great continent.  I have been blessed to see both sources of the River Nile in Ethiopia and Uganda. Witnessed the great Victoria Falls in Zambia.  Waken up at the base of the magnificent Mt. Kilimanjaro.  Driven over the Equator in Kenya.  Encountered beautiful animals all along the way.  Taken old dahwl boats off the coast of Mozambique visiting islands.  Flown to some of the most remote parts of Kenya to visit with the Rendille people. Happened to be able to photograph my friends traditional Maasai Wedding. Experienced some of this continent’s largest metropolitan areas like Johannesburg, South Africa; Nairobi, Kenya; Kampala, Uganda; and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. It has truly been great. But more beautiful than all these amazing things are the people I have encountered; the friends I have made. Words can’t describe how amazing and beautiful these people are.  Even as I scan through the literally tens of thousands of images and hours of video I’ve taken over these 6 months, it doesn’t do justice to beauty of the hearts of the people who have welcomed me into their homes and lives.

Leaving is somewhat bittersweet.  I am truly eager to go to India, Nepal, Thailand and the other places I am still to visit this year.  But Africa holds a special place in my heart.  People always say once you visit Africa that your life will never be the same.  That it gets under your skin and into your blood.  Ernest Hemingway said it best when he said, “All I wanted to do now was get back to Africa.  We had not left it yet, but when I would wake in the night, I would lie, listening, homesick for it already.” I couldn’t agree more with those statements.  I first experienced Africa in 2007 and those statements still ring true.

Who knows where this journey will take me and when the next time I’ll be back in this land.  One thing for sure though is it has changed me and impacted my life and heart more than I realize.

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Kay Stroud - I so know what you mean about Africa getting in your blood. While I hate the travel to get there, we have so loved our trips there. And the people are so welcoming! Glad you’ve been blessed with an amazing time!

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