Facing the final continent
Landfall made but still a long way to go
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