A Travellerspoint blog

Trucks away!

Africa starts

So originally I had intended to start this blog way back when I started my trip but having to carry everything I needed for almost 3 months of camping in the African Bush meant something had to get left behind. Sadly one of those items was a laptop. Probably for the best given the amount of mud and rain we experienced on the early stages of the trip. I doubt many laptops would of survived it! As it is these entries will be post dated from memory, not that it matters of course but just to keep things clear.

Its Early November and I'm ready to depart, I have my sleeping bag and my air mattress ready to go, Ive packed 5 T shirts, 5 pairs of boxers 3 pairs of socks (not like I need to change them every day right) 2 pairs of shorts and a pair of jeans. 1 Rain jacket just in case.

On November 20 I leave the uk to start my epic over land adventure with Oasis overland, Im shocked to arrive in Nairobi in the middle of what looks like a battle between the land and the ocean. Its not just raining you understand, the water is actually attempting to claim the earth and judging by the over flowing rivers and whirlpools I can only assume are supposed to be drains, its on the verge of winning. This explains why the landing was one of the worst I've experienced with plane bouncing and wheeling all over the runway. Nairobi airport is of course a maelstrom of madness, immigration is clearly over working over time in effort to deal with this influx of foreigners. To my surprise the official at the airport doesn't even look up when my turn comes. More interested in reading and replying to his text message, he summarily stamps my passport, issues my visa and grunts for me to move along without so much as raising a glance in my direction. Perhaps this explains the delay in dealing with arrivals? All airport officials are far too busy with there private lives!

Un surprisingly I get utterly soaked making my way to a taxi in car park, were talking to the skin, wet like you had swam in the ocean. Welcome to Africa, who's stupid idea was it to visit during the rainy season? As we make our way to my guest house for the evening and my departure point for the truck we pass over flowing gutters, trees over turned and abounded cars in ditches. Perhaps this really is the end of the world? bloody hope not I've only just managed to get away!

On arrival at Karen Camp in Nairobi I quickly change into dry clothes, no point showering to warm up since the water is cold anyway. The room is basic and in truth a little bit grotty but its as I expected it to be. Toilet with a seat so there is a bonus for you! Ive had some contact through Facebook and email with some of my fellow travellers but I don't actually know what any of them look like, so I head to the bar to mingle and hopefully meet and greet a few of them. Everyone in the bar is friendly but no one seems to have heard of Oasis overland. Hmm where is everyone I wonder? A few beers and a couple of games of pool later and I've not seen any new arrivals I'm dead tired so I head to my room to sleep. Ill worry about meeting people in the morning!

Posted by cd108 22:27 Comments (0)


The Journey starts

So I find myself out work in september 2011 with a little less than a month until I depart for my African Journey, Naturally its time to visit friends and family and wish them all farewell for the present. I booked myself on a fight to Sweden to meet a greet a friend of mines newly arrived daughter and his wife.

Surprisingly warm for the time of year Alingsauce in Sweden is about an hours drive from Gothemburg, Im also planning to see a friend of mine from the North of Sweden but he is lame and cancels due to work commitments. The first thing that strikes me about Alingsauce is how wonderfully clean the city is. Brightly painted buildings light up the city centre, vast lakes and mountains dominate the city borders and air smells fresh and unpolluted. Locals seem happy in there day to day lives and welcome visitors. Its not long before a hej hej tag tag comes naturally to me. My buddys new arrival Siri is a princess, a warm smile and a happy high five greets me most days. Still a little to shy for a kiss on the cheek we decide to build up to that more slowly! Simiarly his new wife is a darling also, easy to get on with and has a smile and a laugh even after 4 Am feeds. We agree she is one in a million!

Perhaps the only problem with visiting Sweden is the price of the beer! After a morning spent touring around Gothemburg harbour by boat its only natural to want to warm yourself with a little "sauce" 2 beers in a local bar in Gothemburg will set you back some where in the region of 10-15 euros! As my buddy is on a tighter budget than I am, having to now support his budding new family, we agree to buy our beers at a Systembolaget. Basically the Swedish equivalent of an off licence. There all state owned and boy do they like to stock a lot of beers!

We spend our days taking slow walks around the lakes and streets, through the woods and viewing the famous "Lights in Alingsauce" a festival that takes place yearly and invites artists to create artistic lighting arrangements around the beauty spots in the town. Good food and some beers intertwine with lazy days spent relaxing and chatting in good company. Im even treated to a delcisous meal with some of the best pork I have EVER tasted by Grandad and Grandma!

All too soon its time to wish my Swedish friends good bye and I never did get that kiss on the cheek.....

Guess ill have to go back some day!

Posted by cd108 22:08 Archived in Sweden Comments (0)

What made me do it?

How I left my job and decided to travel full time

Having already established how and why I got the travel bug, its time to talk about what made me decide to take the radical step of leaving work and travelling full time. Put simply I had begun to despite my job! In early 2006 the business I worked for announced there intention to close the office I was located in and offered re-location packages to existing staff members. Initially I was skeptical, what would it mean to leave all my family and childhood friends behind. Would I be happier or lonely? With nothing much to loose in trying I decided to accept the offer and re-locate to the town of Northampton. Things moved fast and I was quickly promoted to team leader, taking some satisfaction in helping the business set up the new office and in training and coaching new staff. Most days were fresh and challenging, almost exciting at times in so far as work can be exciting of course. But.....

As with all businesses in the current economic climate cuts were announced, additional and in my view unfair pressures were placed onto teams, communication seemed to break down or stand still and the department floundered. We all still strived to deliver top notch service but morale began to weaken the office degenerated until it became a fairly unpleasant work environment. The on site nurse was inundated with staff signed off with stress related illnesses increasing the pressure on remaining workers. I began to hatch a plan to get out. Already 3 years into a 5 year saving plan I resolved to quit when the time came. 18 Months later I was looking at options to dissolve my savings plan early, the environment having became almost unbearable and morale having reached an all time low. It was then announced that again the business had chosen to close the office and voluntary severance was available. Like a dream come true I jumped at the chance and hastily booked my self onto an over land trip in Africa, what would 73 days on a truck with around a dozen other people as travel mates bring us.....

Posted by cd108 21:55 Comments (0)

First post

bringing it up to date part 1

Every thing started for me in 2005 when I went on my first "proper" holiday, by proper I mean some where more exotic than a week or two in a resort. 2005 and took me to kenya for almost of a month of Safari and it opened my eyes in many ways. One of my first impressions of Kenya was the slums in mombassa as we transferred from the airport to our first destination. I had never seen first hand such poverty before and I think I was deeply shocked to find that the pictures we all see on television were a very real part of some peoples lives. It didn't detract from what was an amazing experience viewing game and wildlife in its natural environment its a must have experience for any animal lover but the contrast between the people in Kenya never left my mind.

The very different cultures and experiences you have when you leave your home country and head to some where that is not a major tourist resort was fascinating to me, of course at the time I was on a package holiday booked through a travel agent but I was still under the impression I was embarking on a great adventure and experiencing Africa.

Its fair to say that one trip hooked me into more exotic travel, Its simply not satisfying (for myself at least) to spend a week or two in a resort, lying on the beach and never stepping foot outside of my hotel. A year or so later I planned my next trip, this time to Japan. I booked my flight to Tokyo and I was eager to see my little brother who had been working there for the past year teaching English. Again for me this was a real eye opener. The locals were friendly and polite but communication was a problem and very few of the people we met spoke English fluently. Japan was a crazy mix of weird food, frantic pace and difficult navigation. It brought back memories of my teenage plans to open a bakery in Japan. Fuelled by Ninja movies in my childhood I had always been fascinated by Buddhism, martial arts and Asian culture and cuisine.

Trips to Thailand and Egypt soon followed and each time I learnt a little more about how to get around, when to barter and when not and what to expect and look out for. Both of these trips involved diving, In Koh Lanta a try dive opened my eyes to the serene beauty of being underwater and the effortless feeling of weightlessness when you establish neutral buoyancy. In Egypt I marvelled at the pyramids in giza before heading to Sharm El Sheikh and starting on my diver certificates. Where better to learn than one of the premier diving sites of the world.

My first solo trip took me to Bangkok, a city I had visited before with company. I was of course familiar with the Koh San Road and while I was alone to start with the purpose of the trip was attend my friends wedding In Samui. I found travelling alone was not as scary as perhaps I might have believed and resolved to travel independently when ever I chose to in future.

Posted by cd108 21:33 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

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