So, it's been over 4 months since my last post and nearly 3 months since we returned to Canada. Since the last post we travelled through Zambia and into Malawi and then spent a little better than a month in Tanzania. After Tanzania we flew back to Namibia where we spent another 3 weeks before traveling overland back to Cape Town where we enjoyed our remaining days until we had to catch our return flight home. So what happened to those blog posts? Why has so much time elapsed? Herein lies my confession… Traveling is hard work! We put in long, exhausting days, often spanning from before sunrise to well after dark. Africa offered us little time to take a leisurely breath let alone the time to write about our experiences. And it is those daily experiences that inspires the writer of travel- if you wait too long, the new experiences push the older ones to the back burner and so forth. Once you've let a week slip by (or two, or three, or more) it becomes an overwhelming endeavor to get caught up. This is the position I found myself in this past trip, and rather than take the time required to catch up on the then overwhelming task, I instead decided to just enjoy everything Africa had in store for us. Travel writing is merely a supplement to our travels- just as photography is only a hobby. This is not my work, no financial gain on offer. I do it to share travel wisdom, to keep friends and family in the know, and to inspire travel in general- just as I look to the blogs of other travel writers for advice and inspiration. So this is my confession (inundated with excuses)… I have been a bad travel blogger! BAD BLOGGER!
But let's put the past behind us shall we? For all my short-comings I have one redeeming quality: I don't like to leave things undone! I will finish posting on the last couple of months of our journey through Africa, however, in an attempt to save precious time, the following posts will be word-sparing and photo-heavy (with the exception of this here post). Let's consider them a representation of our travels through imagery (supplemented with a few descriptions, anecdotes, and some information that could possibly be passed-off as advice).
With the exception of Vic Falls, Zambia for us was just a place to get our visas in order for Malawi. Then it was a 30-hour bus hopping fiasco from Lusaka to Lilongwe and onto Nkhata Bay- our home in Malawi. In Nkhata Bay we stayed at the very excellent Mayoka Village, located right next to the run-down Butterfly Space. Business is booming at Mayoka and it's not hard to realize why. The place is just stunning- great dorms and private rooms at great prices, great free activities on offer, a great travel family atmosphere, and food that will pin you down in Malawi longer than you had ever anticipated. The owners, Gary and Kathryn, also do great not-for-profit work in the community with the money they generate from Mayoka, which, along with the sound of waves crashing outside your room at night, may help you sleep better! I would also like to give a shout out to Joy who runs a fantastic guesthouse in nearby Mzuzu. If you're ever looking for some clean digs in Mzuzu or just want some amazing and authentic Korean eats, then drop into Joy's Place- you will also be supporting two of the nicest people in Malawi. But Malawi and Mayoka for us was all about the interesting people we met and of course the nightly beer-induced benders!
First there was Pierre and Jacqueline who we first encountered in Lusaka. Pierre is one those guys you meet that have had more than their fair share of life experiences. This guy has met Che Guevara and Mao Zedong. He was offered a job over dinner with Sir David Attenborough (which he turned down). He ran a propaganda publishing company during the Cold War era and participated in some weird spy-like stuff that eventually got him shot! He led a documentary expedition through the Venezualan jungles which resulted in a capsized boat and a subsequent week of trying to survive in the harsh environs that they found themselves in (which incidentally worked out for Pierre but not for all of his team). I could go on about this fascinating French Canadian, or instead, if you can speak or at least read French Canadian, you can read his self-published work of compiled stories “10 Aventures…”. I'm sure it wouldn't disappoint!
Then there was Javier who had been on the road for more than 4 years already… on his bicycle! This guy has looped the world on two wheels and has had many amazing and some terrifying experiences. Total respect to these kinds of modern day adventurers. Dori, a wee little Polish thing of a girl had been hitch-hiking across the world for 3 years. One part brave, one part naïve in my eyes, but good on her! We also ran into a guy who couldn't even be burdened with wheels at all- he simply just decided to walk from Cape Town to Malawi (so far). Ain't no big thang right? I could go on about the people we met in Malawi but I believe you get the point! Malawi for some strange reason is a melting pot of the World's crazies!
I didn't bring out my camera gear much at all between Vic Falls and Tanzania. Maybe it was because we spent the majority of time either in or enroute to large and not particularly picturesque African cities. Maybe it was the distractions of talking for hours on end with the interesting people we encountered. Maybe it was the heavy but brief showers that would spring up with little notice, or more plausibly it was that Malawi was a place that we just decided to unwind in for a week with no real travel obligations other than enjoying good times with good people…
BAD TRAVEL BLOGGER!