Travel Confessions: A Fear of Solo Travel

In my head, I generally regard my travel-self (as opposed to my “domestic-self”) as some sort of daring, adventuring, vagabonding type  able to change my mind on a whim and take what ever challenges come my way with great ease. While at home I’m pretty flexible and adventurous I certainly don’t exhibit the same sort of easy spirited nature, at least not the same extent. There are few places I’m unwilling to travel, and few things I’m not willing to try. Not much scares me in the world of travel. Well, giant amazon spiders do, quite a bit, but they would never prevent my venturing. Continue reading

Learning.

Walking to lunch, Joyce tries to teach me phrases from her local language-from the Volta region. I try, she laughs at my inability to properly pronounce anything. I ask her, how many languages she speaks, she says 5. And, once again, I feel like a dumb American. She asked me, how many I speak. I say, English, and some Spanish. She then asks how to say a few key phrases in Spanish, and immediately commits them to memory. I can say hello now, and respond “good” when asked how I am. I also asked Joyce her favorite beach around Accra (she has lived here 17 years, since high school). She hasn’t been to any. Evidently, she has a slight fear of the ocean-apparently, this is typical. But she was enthusiastic about trying to go to one “now that she has a friend to take her.” I promised that of course, I would accompany her. I am beyond grateful to have made a friend so early on, and has been a great companion. Her ease and joy makes her an absolute pleasure to be around. Later, she took me to lunch and had me try another local dish, red-red. It’s just beans with a chili sauce that you eat with fried plantains that have a ginger-cayenne seasoning. The sweet and spicy is excellent, and the flavor combination is familiar. So far, I’m loving local food. I’ve read many blogs stating how much volunteers disliked the food, and perhaps I’ll tire of it too, but so far, it’s fantastic.

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En Route: Accra

In T-10 hours we’ll be on our DC-Accra redeye. Now, we’re in D.C. on a 24 hour layover. Which, I haven’t ever done, on purpose anyway (reluctantly remembering the Atlanta stopover after Peru), and I have to admit, I really like it. A chance to regroup (and shower) before the international leg, which is a an easy eight-hour flight that I hopefully will sleep through.  So far this hasn’t felt like an absurd international trek, rather two easy flights, neither of which involve getting up early or spending 20 hours in planes/airports. I think this is a method to keep. Plus, it minimizes the probability of lost luggage, though Accra has a bit of a history with this, so we’ll see.

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6 Month Check In

I doubt this will reach anyone, as it has been quite a while since I’ve been back. But I suppose this is more for myself anyway. I thought that by six months back I would feel completely re-immersed into Western culture. To my delight, this isn’t the case. I feared losing all that I learned, and felt, in Tanzania. On the contrary, my desire to be back has increased. I’m comfortable living in the US. I recognize the importance of getting my education here, and of course, all of my loved ones are here. BUT, I miss it, so much. It’s hard to explain, and I barely understand myself how a few months abroad could have such a monumental impact on my life. Three months. I’ve been back six, and very little has happened. But in those three months, my world was re-created. I still have this recurring dream of driving along the road from Moshi to Arusha in a dala-dala. I can remember it so vividly, the smell of the land, the warmth of the sunset, the wind. It almost brings me to tears. But I’m not sad, this memory is of one of the few times in my life I’ve felt entirely at peace. It’s a great source of happiness.

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