I was reflecting on a conversation with our sponsor, Johann from Tracks4Africa, that I had before the trip began. They were one of our first stops in Cape Town, helping us to load up our GPS and computer with the latest maps, and gave us paper copies as well.
We were chatting about border crossings and potential challenge spots, but he said that he didn’t think that really it would be the people, logistics or anything like that that would make the trip hard. It would be the trip itself. Surviving each other, the environment that is constantly changing around you, and never settling anywhere. And he was right.
Un-normalcy is definitely the hardest thing about this trip. It is the biggest battle we fight. I’ve been saying recently that when I go home, I just want to work at Starbucks. Now that’s probably not reallllly what I want to do. But as Aaron would say, “It’s everything your life currently ISN’T. Consistent, normal, and filled with good smells”.
Everyday you walk into an entirely new situation, never really sure what to expect, who you’ll meet, or what your life will look like 24 hours later. It is partially really exciting, but wearing on a long term basis.
I wonder if un-normalcy will ever become normal?
A 48 hour snapshot of why my life is different here than at home.
- You sleep with an axe next to your head.
- You have a campfire in a gas station parking lot and everyone is cool with that.
- You get told you will be raped, robbed and killed if you go down a road and you decide to go that way anyways.
- You almost puke up breakfast because it smells like you walked through a port a poty for the past 5 minutes.
- You have a serious team conversation about nuerotoxic, cytotoxic, and hemotoxic spiders, snakes, and scorpions; how to treat profuse bleeding, gunshot wounds, stabbings, splints, and head traumas to stay refreshed on the basics.
- You think you get lost because the road signs change, and roads end, but Marty finds you anyways bearing gifts of apples and diet coke.
- you spend an entire day in a random truck stop waiting for cash to clear from the US so we could fill a gas tank that has broken gauges but we think is nearing empty to take it the next day and find that we could have driven a lot further.
- you talk to lots of strangers because that’s what everyone does.
- you run across the highway barefoot, just because you can.
- you saw a sign depicting high accident zone for cars/pedestrian collisions on the road which you are currently walking.
- you had to do a double take this morning when you saw a dog run across the street because you were sure it was a baboon at first.
- then Marty picks you up and takes you off roading through a random area of wooded brush till he was confident the Land Rover was hidden from the road and called it “camp”. We preceded to collect firewood, make dinner, and watch the stars appear.