Ed’s Let­ter

True Love - - NEWS - Mbali Soga Edi­tor

When I com­pleted matric, I vowed to travel to one African coun­try each year un­til I cover the en­tire con­ti­nent. There’s some­thing to be said about raw and hon­est travel, im­mers­ing your­self in an­other cul­ture and mak­ing new friends. I find that it fos­ters a sense of pride in black peo­ple and our way of life. No mat­ter what coun­try I trav­elled to, there was a soul and en­ergy sim­i­lar to home — how we gather and eat to­gether, dance like no one’s watch­ing and will­ingly give of our time to help any­one in need.

I re­mem­ber trav­el­ling to Dar es Salaam, Tan­za­nia and land­ing at an air­port in the mid­dle of nowhere, wait­ing for my friend — who was run­ning three hours late — to pick me up. Why didn’t you call, you ask? Firstly, roam­ing was an ex­pen­sive ex­er­cise that I couldn’t af­ford yet, and I didn’t have Tan­za­nian shillings for the phone booth. A gen­tle­man who had shared the same flight, no­ticed my ut­ter panic and lent me his cell phone. My love for cof­fee also be­gan there with the “cof­fee man”, a guy lit­er­ally walk­ing around with a ket­tle on coals and a bench for you to sit on.

An­other mem­o­rable foray into the un­known was a bus de­tour to Mozam­bique on my way to the Lake of Stars Fes­ti­val in Malawi. I was meant to meet a friend there who was in des­per­ate need of a cash in­jec­tion on her way back to South Africa. I, in­stead, chose to stop in Bi­lene, Mozam­bique, at the last minute. Trav­el­ling along the coast in a lo­cal “taxi mota”, couch surf­ing (I wouldn’t rec­om­mend sleep­ing on strangers’ couches these days) and gorg­ing on seafood and 2M beer.

I’m def­i­nitely nowhere near tick­ing off the en­tire con­ti­nent, but I do make it a yearly point to gift my­self with a trip away. It doesn’t have to be any­thing fancy — you could even start a Flight Cen­tre Travel Stokvel with your girls for as lit­tle as R500. The beauty is the jour­ney, and the scores of mem­o­ries you’ll make along the way.

All of my travel ad­ven­tures have con­trib­uted to the per­son I am to­day. I rec­om­mend go­ing away the next time you feel a bit stuck. This is­sue is full of women who’ve braved the world alone, street food in­spired by the globe, and the ul­ti­mate pack­ing guide straight from the pros. Do en­joy our travel is­sue and if you’d like to chat, email me on edi­[email protected]­elove.co.za.

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