Sunday, January 2, 2011
17624km's from point of origin, it all ends here...
A warm hello from us here in Kenya, East Africa. (actually now in India but this was all written in Kenya)
So this is it, the proverbial fat lady has sung, two days ago a very emotional Paul and Karla rode back into Nairobi and climbed off of Yele for the last time. Tears were flowing freely as they embraced each other and the beautiful Yamaha Tenere and thanked her for getting them through Africa safely and above all with so many wonderful tales to tell. South Africa to Ethiopia by motorcycle 2010, what an epic adventure it has been...
Some 17624km's ago we set off from Johannesburg South Africa with no agenda other than we had around six months to get to Ethiopia and somewhere in October, Karla had to be in Uganda to do some volunteer nursing work. Other than that, it was open season. We had no idea where we would be each day, the plan was to roll out the tent and take life as it unfolded. For six months we have done just that, the day's only objective was to be somewhere new, sometimes not even that. There is a raw beauty in freedom like that. We wake naturally, sometimes to birds singing, at other times to the call to prayer at a nearby mosque. If we decided that we liked a place, we stayed. If there were things to do, we did them. We chose to see and do pretty much all of Africa's jewels. We crossed international borders with our bike 11 times, and each time, a new country brought with it so many new things. The people took on a different colour, they spoke differently, their mannerisms were different, the landscape changed immediately, the animals changed, the food changed, and with all of those changes we changed too. Each time we had to learn the new basic words for the new land, "thankyou", "please", "camp", "room", "how much", and quite importantly, "beer"!
You know, looking back, time has gone so fast, but at the same time some of the countries we visited seemed like a really long time ago. Talking to friends in various places around the world of late, we have such a different perception of time over the last six months. Since we left, friends have married, friends have had children, friends have been promoted, friends have moved on, life has been exciting and challenging for so many people. For us, and indeed as we had hoped, we have grown ourselves individually, and together, enormously.
Africa is not like other places around the world. But in some ways it is trying to be just like everywhere else. Either way, not many places on earth exist where you come face to face with such diversity on a daily basis. Here, anything can happen and quite often it does. I have seen why people who have grown up in Africa long to return here, despite the challenges that living here pose. There is so much desperation, and there is also so much inspiration. There are advances in certain cultures that are moving at a blistering pace, but there are other cultures that, quite frankly, it is hard to see how they can possibly survive moving through the 21st century. In fact, we have seen cultures that have not much progressed since the dawn of mankind, but they live on and they are still smiling.
It is really difficult to reflect on everything we have done over the last six months, there is simply too much information to process to achieve an accurate representation of what Africa was for us. It is after all so many different things for different people. And I think that is what makes travelling such a very special and personal thing for everyone. Africa for us will be a very different experience than what it would be for you. But I guarantee you that in every way you will grow and you will have fun and at the end of the day if you don't have that in life...
Over the coming weeks we will commence looking through our experiences of Africa and we will be compiling a collage of shots that hopefully highlight the wonders of our six month voyage from South Africa to Ethiopia. Stay tuned for that!
Be well and be safe.
P and K
Attaching the panniers for the last time, Northern Kenya.
Cleaning Yele for her long boat ride home
Saying thank you and goodbye
Mission accomplished, time for a beer and a bath!!!