Fac­ing the fi­nal con­ti­nent

Land­fall made but still a long way to go

RiDE (UK) - - Travel -

As I sat qui­etly up­dat­ing my blog in a lit­tle Airbnb on the out­skirts of Dur­ban, I heard the door ten­ta­tively creak open. I looked up to see a mon­key with an in­jured arm walk in. Sur­prised by his cheek, I said, “Hey!”, as­sum­ing he would run. In­stead he non­cha­lantly walked past me, hopped onto the dresser, grabbed a banana out of the fruit bowl, and walked back out again. Half ex­pect­ing him to close the door be­hind him­self, I laughed and said out loud, “T.I.A in­deed. This Is Africa, al­right!”

‘T.I.A’ is a com­mon phrase used by South Africans, usu­ally af­ter their warn­ings of my im­pend­ing doom, as they learn of my mis­sion to cross the con­ti­nent alone by mo­tor­cy­cle. Peo­ple here talk about cor­rup­tion and vi­o­lence as the Brits talk about the weather. Now is not the time to be fazed by the naysay­ers, though. Hav­ing rid­den more than 60,000 miles – through 40 coun­tries and on ev­ery other con­ti­nent on earth – I have made it to Africa, the last leg of my jour­ney.

Rhonda the Honda (my CRF250L) has not ar­rived. She was due this week but, un­sur­pris­ingly, there has been a de­lay of two weeks. This, at least, gives me time to pre­pare. With 20 coun­tries left, and pos­si­bly ten months on the road, this could be my tough­est con­ti­nent yet. Fi­nances are at an all-time low and the po­ten­tial for earn­ing is even lower. The road ahead may be full of lo­gis­ti­cal, po­lit­i­cal, and un­pre­dictable bar­ri­ers that will call upon my best prob­lem-solv­ing skills.

My worry about camp­ing with bears in Canada seems triv­ial now, but the words of Nel­son Man­dela’s favourite poem In­vic­tus ap­pro­pri­ately lodge in my head like a mantra: “I am the mas­ter of my fate, I am the cap­tain of my soul.”

My am­bi­tion to en­joy and savour ev­ery mo­ment of the ride for what it is has never been stronger. With re­spect for the road ahead, my senses of hu­mour, ad­ven­ture, and op­ti­mism are in­tact. I still be­lieve my last leg is go­ing to be truly mag­i­cal – with, no doubt, the odd scrape along the way. This is an ad­ven­ture af­ter all, and I ex­pect noth­ing less.

STEPH JEAVONS is near­ing the end of her solo three-year round-the-world trip on a Honda CRF250L, tak­ing in all seven con­ti­nents. Steph writes this col­umn ex­clu­sively for RIDE ev­ery month, but you can also fol­low her One Steph Be­yond blog. She has now touched-down in Africa on the fi­nal leg of her jour­ney.

Not a bad place to wait for Rhonda the Honda to catch up

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