Take Back Time, Part Three: The Wall

There will be times in your life when you feel like you just can’t go on, like some insurmountable obstacle lies in your way, and the ladder you had been climbing now lies in tatters on the floor.

It may be that you had been moving forward your whole life to escape something in your past, or you were blissfully ignorant until it all came crashing down around you.

Whatever the crisis is, internal or external, you’ll feel like you’ve hit The Wall.

This is where I found myself…

But it’s important to know that it’s not your fault.

Though you are blinded to the future by the pain you feel today, this will be the strength you find when you look back tomorrow.

Downward Spiral

So I’d worked hard all my life to be where I was, and at the ripe age of just 26 I was out in this famous world. I had achieved everything I set out to accomplish, everything I had set out to become.

I had a good education, I had this job thing that people were supposed to have, I had a partner whom I thought I loved and a place to call my own that I thought I liked.

But I was still afraid…

I was afraid of losing my job, I was afraid of not being able to pay my rent, I was afraid that my partner didn’t really love me, that I wasn’t really who I thought I was, or where I thought I was supposed to be…

And I would still lie awake at night and think about losing everything and about that black hole that lies beyond….

And then one day I really did lose it all…

I lost my job and my home and my girlfriend left me through depression. Everything that I had built my whole life up to be was suddenly crumbling around me and I felt like I was falling in a downward spiral.

I felt like the walls were closing in on me, the reaper had come and he was at my door again…

I had to move back to my home town and live on my friend’s sofa.

I tried to disguise my feelings around my friends by drinking, but to me it was a s transparent as water.

I had no energy and would take long baths during the day and cry to myself.

And the living room where I slept had no door, and one night I was lying there, and my two friends were in bed with their girlfriends, and all I could hear was the not so subtle sounds of their love making…

And I was terribly ill with a fever because I’d been selling my body to medical science to make money to eat and had been made to take immunosuppressants…

And I had a panic attack, because I thought I was going to die, and I got off the sofa and was out of my mind, and I went to my friend’s door…

And I knocked but I was so afraid I couldn’t even speak, and he came to the door with a bat…

And he had to call the hospital and get a doctor to calm me down…

And the next day my friend wouldn’t talk to me and could I tell him why I had knocked…?

No! Because I was still terrified…

You see no matter where we are in life, whether we’re happy and have everything we’ve ever wanted, or we have nothing and have nothing to lose anyway…

That fundamental fear, that thing that keeps us awake at night, that wakes us up in the morning with a fright…

If you do not face it, it will always follow you…

If you do not speak it, it will take your voice away…

If you do not own it, it will own your life…

So what did I do…?

I had no house, no job, no partner, and I had outstayed my welcome…

I ran away.

In Part Four…

In part four I’m going to tell you about my two journeys.

You see a person really goes through two journeys in their life; and external journey, and an internal journey. And though we may be aware of the external journey, we are often unaware of the transformation that it happening inside.

Subscribe to get email notifications and look out for Part Four: The Journey

The Story of Women for Afghan Women

The origin of Women for Afghan Women

Girls' Globe


In the spring of 2001, six months before 9/11, a group of passionate women’s rights activists came together with the goal of garnering international attention on the plight of Afghan women and girls living under Taliban rule. Little did these extraordinary women know that their efforts to expose the world to the brutalities and injustices of the Taliban period would lead to the founding of one of the leading women’s rights organizations in Afghanistan and the transformation of thousands of lives.

Women for Afghan Women (WAW) was founded in 2001. While researching the state of women’s rights in Afghanistan, WAW co-founders quickly learned that Afghan women living in New York were facing similar abuses and isolation as their sisters at home. In order to respond to this crisis, in 2003, WAW opened its New York Community Center. The Center serves under-educated (mostly illiterate) Afghan women immigrants and their families with…

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WAW Climb for Justice: Week 2

This weeks film: The French Crown

In this weeks film a tackle a crown of peaks leading from Arinsal and spilling over the French border.

At the top of the mountain in Arinsal ski area you get off the lift and look out onto a distant crown of mountains, snow capped, cloud crested and inviting. I’d been eyeing these up for some time now, the solitary eagle circling above. It looked like a very good circuit to attempt and from line of sight, not too time consuming.

Unfortunately these particular mountains fell off the side of my map and so I had to plan my day purely by line of sight. Who needs maps anyway? I set off at 8.15am from my hotel, my new pair of hired (for free) snow shoes strapped to my bag. I’ve never used snow shoes before but always wanted to and since I had a good deal of deep powder last time and my crampons were pretty useless, I thought I’d give it a go.

It was a gruelling 11 hour day and left me exhausted and walking home in the dark. So without further ado, here it is:

Women for Afghan Women: The work they do

Let’s not forget what this is all about. WAW provide women and girls with life saving support, shelter and legal guidance in human rights violations in Afghanistan.

In 2013, one  of Women for Afghan Women’s clients was 17 years old when she was married to a man who already had a wife and children. The man physically and mentally abused her for years. Unable to endure more, the client decided to divorce him. She went to the local Department of Women’s Affairs who referred her to WAW. This woman is currently living in a WAW shelter and attending empowerment classes while her defense lawyer is working on her divorce.


So If you’d like to donate to this wonderful cause, visit my JustGiving page and tag a friend on Facebook to donate too. Follow my weekly climbs in support of WAW and keep donating each time I release a new video.

Climb for Justice: So here’s what I did

After grabbing a pair of skis from the hire shop I headed outside, but unfortunately I didn’t realise that the first lifts don’t open until 9am, so I was sitting waiting for half an hour impatiently at the top with the other dawn patrol. These dedicated snowboarder and I watched the sunrise over the mountain before the gates opened and got on the very first chair.


A couple of chairlifts later and I was at the start of my hike. I had originally thought that getting the chairlifts and having skis would save me a bunch of time and effort, but by the time I finally got started it was already 9.30am. I did however, get about 1000m of elevation gain for free, so trade -offs. My route for the day was as follows:


I ditched my skis and boots at the top of the resort, planning on collecting them and skiing down later, and headed out in an anti-clockwise direction around the crown. The weather was fine and sunny for most of the day and the first part of the hike was a slow and steady walk in regular hiking boots to the start of the bowl.

When I hit the bottom of the bowl at 11am where the forest began, I donned the snow-shoes for the first time and wow! The extra surface area made a big difference in the soft powder and I glided down as if on skis.

The forest was beautiful and the sound of birds filled the air, much more inviting than the constant thrum of chairlifts in resort. I kind of lost track of time here however, and after a slow and tiring traverse I found myself at the first ascent by 12.30pm, much later than I had planned. It had now been three hours since I started and I was only just at the first ascent of the bowl.

Throwing off the snow-shoes, I headed for hard ground and climbed up the right hand side, not resting until I had gotten to the top (Peak #1). The sun was now on my face again and I went from cold to too hot in no time, shedding layers until I was just in my T-shirt and waterproof. After A further two hours I was finally at the top where I had picked out my meditation spot for the day (Peak #2).

But I was still against the clock.

Rising up, had a quick warm up with some Thai Chi and then threw on some beats to get me through the next section: The Ridge.

alone-at-the-topThis one wasn’t nearly as severe as last time, but It still presented it’s challenges and was a lot longer than I had anticipated. In fact, the entire left hand side of the crown had been hiding a nasty little ridge with many ups and downs, constantly losing and gaining elevation. I was very conscious of time by this point and so I pressed on through exhaustion to get round the crown, trying to motivate myself by keeping the end goal in sight: my skis. If I didn’t get back to them on time, I would be walking home…

The technical climb section, previously hidden from my sight, took up a lot of time and required some axe work, but It wasn’t too bad. It was more the time of day dragging on that really took it out of me. I thought to myself “Why do I put myself through this?” and then I remembered: for all the women and girls suffering in Afghanistan and around the world.

Then I hit the ice sheet.

Coming down the final descent towards the road I had planned on making up a bunch of time by sliding all  the way down, but when I got there I immediately slipped and launched myself down at high speed, saving myself with the axe once more. The entire northern side of the mountain was sheet ice, having been kept shaded from the low sun. I then had to be extremely careful, inching my way across, digging in with the axe and inching some more. At one point I slid down backwards, looking through my legs at the world moving upside down, using the axe as a brake. This was quite disorientating, but amusingly original. I always find that good humour can carry you through the toughest of situations, and laughing at one’s self is the best medicine for panic!

I made it down to the road by 5.30pm, a further three hours from my meditation point, pretty much without rest. I was now on safe ground and as the sun had already set, lost hopes of seeing my skis today. It’s one thing to ski home after the mountain is closed, but it’s another altogether to ski home in total darkness. This was not an option.

It would have taken me about two hours to walk to the town, where I could have called a cab, but It was now pitch black, I had been walking for nine hours, and I was now extremely cold. So, what to do?

I called my friend Matt and he came and met me with his van. It was a very pleasant walk for about an hour to where I could meet him and the night sky was spectacular. The old moon was in the new moons arms, a term for when you can see a slither of moon and the dark side is illuminated with the reflection from the earth, a beautiful sight. Jupiter was also out in full splendour just behind it and The Milky Way was splashed across the sky, with not a light to pollute it anywhere.

When he met me I pointed out all these wonderful astronomical sights and we star gazed for a while before heading home to get some food and a cup of tea.

All in all the day finished at around 7.30pm, I was walking for ten hours, and I had to go and collect my skis the next day.

So if you thought I put in a good effort, check out Women for Afghan Women’s website and see all the amazing work they do to further Women’s rights in Afghanistan.

Once again thanks for all your support and don’t forget to follow the blog below for weekly updates, a new video release and visit my JustGiving page to donate. Thanks for reading.

Understanding Africa: Rwanda

Rwanda is the cleanest, most well maintained and safest country in the region, by far. It truly is the Gem of Africa. So why don’t people go here? What really goes on in the Land of a Thousand Hills? What about those beautiful Gorillas? And wasn’t there that horrible thing that happened 20 years ago?

At university I studied renewable engineering with my good friend Mike. Since then he has been living almost exclusively in Africa with his partner Melba, working on development projects in renewable energies, whilst I on the other hand, have been working in the Oil & Gas industry. After a brief visit home, he convinced myself and our fellow uni-mate Ben to visit them in Rwanda and experience a different kind of life, so we popped on a flight and paid them a visit.

First impressions

I tried not to create expectations before my trip, but I couldn’t help myself worrying about how safe it was going to be. When we first arrived however, it was not what I had expected at all. It was clean, quiet and modern, like you might expect from any city in Europe, barring the holes in the pavement. Mike and Melba greeted us with a big hug at the airport and introduced us to our first Rwandan, their house mate Denyse. Denyse is an angel. She spent the whole week ferrying us around to bars and restaurants so that we could drink, leant us her car to go on a road trip, and even gave Ben and I her room to sleep in. Denyse has a great job with Oxfam and earns a decent salary, but chooses to live n a house with no electrical appliances, no hot water and cooks in a charcoal outhouse. When I asked her why, she said that she just prefers a simpler life. Denyse, like most Rwandans, is a Christian and believes in Christian values. She works for a charity and is in her heart a deeply charitable person. Why then would she succumb to unnecessary home comforts not afforded to most of her fellow people? Mike and Melba also live in the same house out of choice.

The second Rwandan I met was a police officer. “Leave these Muzungus in the car and pick up a shovel.” said the policemen to Denyse, Mike’s Rwandan house mate. Muzungu is actually a polite word for white man, since the actual word for Englishman translates to ‘The Cager.’ It just so happened that the day we arrived, the last Saturday of the month, was community service day. This is a compulsory exercise where everyone gets together and helps the local community by doing some labour or cleaning the streets. while in principle this sounds like a great thing, it actual projects a grim image of the iron fist of the Rwandan government. The only reason we were able to escape labour was because the beautiful Denyse managed to convince at least 10 officers that they shouldn’t make our first impression of Rwanda a bad one.

Mike told me another story about the Rwandan police force. He had a conversation with a local guy about a thief being gunned down in the street for stealing a wing mirror. “That would never happen in Europe.” Mike explained, to which the man replied “I know, you guys don’t steal over there, right?” Mike was stunned to silence, not just by this man’s acceptance of totalitarian policing, but also of his view that Europeans are beyond crime at all. Actually Rwandan police are incorruptible. They will never accept a bribe, in fact they will throw you in prison for suggesting it, quite unlike in Kenya where they will arrest you for no reason other than for the purpose of soliciting a bribe.

“So why is Rwanda so nice?” I asked Mike. “Rwanda is Africa Easy Mode.” he tells me, “Just wait till you get to Kenya!” After some experience, I am inclined to agree with him. “After the whole genocide thing” he continues, “everyone was like ‘right, come on guys, let’s sort this out’ and now Rwanda is the most stable country in the region.” Mike is obviously simplifying a complex socio-political situation into an anecdote, but he’s not far off. After the events of 1994, most of the perpetrators of the atrocities fled into neighbouring countries, and everyone who was left was so horrified that all they wanted was for a chance at normal life again. With some help from western governments and organizations, the infrastructure and economy was repaired, and things got back to normal, but the emotional and physical scars will never be forgotten.

I had a chance to visit the Genocide memorial in Kigali, something that everyone should do once in their lives. I could not possibly have prepared myself for what was to come. Ben and I were two grown men sharing a pair of headphones, crying our eyes out as we walked through the museum. Here are some of the personal accounts I remember:

“If someone came up to me and said “I murdered your wife and children” I would forgive them, but you cannot forgive if you don’t know who was to blame. Forgiveness is a gift that they can still give to us.”

“The saddest thing was the silence. After people being killed day and night, there was no more sound. No one could even talk about it any more. It was as if Rwanda had been erased from the earth.”

“I saw a baby breast feeding itself off its own dead mother. I did nothing to stop the baby. I could not. I was so lost myself. It was like walking through a Bush after it has already been burnt.”

“Now released prisoners from the genocidiers stand beside victims at the memorial and they know why they do so…the focus was not on revenge but forgiveness.”

The list of survivor accounts is longer than the wall of names of the victims, because most of them were either never found, or never identified. The fact that a Rwandan can stand next to the person that murdered their family and morn them together, is something that I almost couldn’t believe. It just goes to show how strong the focus is on forgiveness and unity in the country. If you want to learn more I would advise against looking on Wikipedia or BBC websites. If you want to get a real feel for what happened, visit the Genocide Archive of Rwanda.

Pragmatism and African time

One thing that impressed me deeply about the Rwandan people are their pragmatism. They don’t sit around all day complaining that they don’t have things, they simply go and make them. On one of our first nights in Rwanda we went to a bowling alley for dinner and, well, you can’t not laugh. They are hand-operated. It’s just about the most hilarious thing I’ve ever seen. Since modern machinery is expensive, but labour is cheap, when you knock down the pins, little hands suddenly appear from the dark and sweep away the remnants, sometimes scoring you additional points if they accidentally knock more pins over. They couldn’t give a toss about health and safety, they just want to get it done.

Mike and I used to work out together at our uni gym, so when I asked him how he was keeping fit, he took Ben and I to his local gym to see how they do things there. As engineers, we were thrilled to see that, in place of proper weights, they had welded car differentials to the ends of axles to make barbells. For cable machines they had rigged a system of pulley that lifted buckets of nuts and bolts off the ground. Ingenious. This is the kind of thing I love about Rwanda, and Africa in general. You can buy 1 cigarette from a shop, or 1 roll of toilet paper from a multi-pack. If a garage can’t fix your car, the mechanic will drive with you to the next town to see if they can, and the next town, until someone fixes it and drives them all home. Cars have infinite mileage and there’s no such thing as an MOT.

As we were driving through the countryside we saw people walking for miles with everything from bricks to bananas balanced on their heads. Their skills at this could rival even the most highly trained Chinese acrobats . They do this because there are no cars to transport goods, but stuff still needs to get done, so they just do it on African time. Most of these people aren’t even being paid for doing this , but at the end of the day someone will have a house, and that’s what’s important. The feeling is that if they are doing nothing, then they might as well be helping out. This kind of philosophy , is something that’s really missing from a lot of places in this world.

Mike’s project in Rwanda (when he’s not moonlighting as a bike mechanic for their national team) is to develop a new kind of electric induction cooker that could replace charcoal cooking and stop deforestation in the country. The only problem with this, apart from the fact that it only works with certain kinds of pots, is that Rwandan homes don’t really have kitchens. Instead they cook in a little black outhouse on a coal stove. Since Mike’s cooker is still in the development stage we ate out a lot. In most restaurants in Rwanda you will wait a seriously long time for food. This is called African Time. This is can be frustrating, and is kind of bizarre since there are always a ton of people working in restaurants. The problem is, they are only really being employed for the sake of not having unemployment, so there is about twice as many people as there is stuff to do. You’d think this would make it faster, but actually they just all get in each other’s way and mix up your banana chips with your fried bananas (they are both identical).

Getting around

Even though Mike has only been living in Rwanda for about 3 months, he’s no Muzungu. He seems to speak Kiriwanda with a surprising fluency. Every time we need to get anywhere he hails a bunch of motorbike taxis, or motos, and get’s us the Rwandan price of about 10p per kilometre. Now, the first time you get on one of these you will likely cling on for dear life to the drivers back as it meanders through, and across, traffic at high speed. Once you get used to them, and you realise that the driver really doesn’t mind if you spoon them, you can sit up, relax and enjoy the view.

One of my most beautiful memories of Kigali is driving on the back of a moto at night. Kigali is spread over a number of hills, and at night they light up like fibre optic domes. At a certain hour the traffic clears and a sweet smell of honeysuckle rises through the air. It hits you and you loosen your helmet, suddenly wishing that your journey would be just that little bit longer. After a few days in Kigali the four of us set off on a road trip in Denyse’s car and headed for the hills. Rwanda is a lush green country filled with bananas, tea plantations and mangoes, and driving through it is probably the best part (as long as you have a four wheel drive car). Unfortunately we wrecked Denyse’s Toyota Espacia and had to glue it back together when we got back to town.

It’s called the land of a thousand hills for a reason, and it’s choc-a-block with forests and small villages. All along the road you’ll find people walking who will stare at you for no other reason than they’ve probably not seen a Muzungu in a while and are curious. Nearly every kid we passed shouted out “Muzungu!” at the top of their voice, waving a chasing the car. It’s cute at first but it gets old real fast. We stopped for a break to soak in the view at one point and about 30 children all crowded around in silence, watching us like we were in a zoo. I still remember probably the most bizarre sight I saw: a little boy ran across the road barefoot and scrambled up a hill. As we turned the bend there was an ancient looking women sitting on the corner with white eyes full of cataracts, wearing shabby clothes, but holding a beautiful new rainbow coloured umbrella over her head. As we passed by, a picturesque green dairy farm revolved behind her and she followed us with her ears the whole time.

Sadly, after just over a week, it was my time to go, and so Mike two’s up on a moto with me down to the city bus station to get a ticket for the overnight bus to Uganda. These buses don’t joke about. It was like a scene from the fast and the furious. They’re all lit up like Christmas trees, LEDs and banging tunes, chromed out wheels and leather seats (in the VIP section). Unfortunately for me who bought a VIP seat for the, (which are located right at the front), they play ear splitting Afrobeat in the cockpit all night to keep the driver awake. This has got to have been one of the most uncomfortable journeys of my life. On top of the roads being bad, the music and the lights were like some kind of sensory torture. The border was also a joke. I basically got kicked out in the middle of the night and had to wonder across no-man’s land spooning my passport and beating away the touts selling fake money and cigarettes.

Things not to miss

As part of our little road trip we spent a few days kicking around Lake Kivu, which is one of the biggest lakes in Africa, separating Rwanda from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). This vast expanse of water holds host to a striking array of scenery. In the south at Gisenyi, mushroom islands stick out of snaking waterways like a scene from South East Asia. We hired canoes for next to nothing and paddles out to enjoy the sunset, sipping local banana beer, which is vile FYI. In the north in Kichigi there are beautiful sandy beaches that look over open water like the Mediterranean, dotted with little resorts and boulevards. I got told not to swim too far out however, as blinking in the distance near the DRC side there is a natural gas rig polluting the lake. Classic Africa. We were going to do a border run but apparently you’ll pay $200 for a single entry visa. Also DRC is a bad place, don’t go there.

Ben really wanted to do gorilla trekking, so we stopped off in Virunga under the shadow of the volcano. If you looked on a Rwandan tourist brochure this would be the only thing on it. Ask anyone else who has even heard of Rwanda and “gorillas” is the second word they’ll say after “genocide.” It’s even on their money. The guide took Ben so close he could have touched them and they surrounded their group like they weren’t even there. He told me that one of the bull males came up and beat his chest at them and they all had to make supplicating gestures towards him so as not to get beaten to death. When I asked him how it was he said “Amazing! But not worth $800.” Yes $800 for one morning. If you have the money do it, but I passed.

The mountain gorillas are severely endangered, mainly because farmers have expanded into their jungle and consider them a nuisance. They used to just shoot them, but now the Rwandan government employs a huge task force to keep them under check, both the farmers and the gorillas. This seems to be working well and this is why you’ll pay top dollar to see them. It does actually seem to feed back into program and would be working well if not for the DRC side just giving free reign to anyone with a few dollars.

Besides the fact that it’s a massive cliché, I actually had the most fun just hanging out with some local kids. When we were in Virunga we decided to break out of our sheltered camp site and hang out with some goat herders, after losing an epic animal noise competition against them through the fence. We headed off across the farms and into the forest. Now, being a film-maker, I wanted to take pictures with all the kids, but Mike was very against this. “Imagine if you lived in a poverty in England” he put it, “and rich foreigners kept coming into your neighbourhood on tours and taking pictures with you to show how poor you were. How would you feel?” He has a valid point.

He is also against giving money to beggars, or letting people over charge you, even for a quick moto ride. “It’s a false economy” he said, “If you give them money, they will know that the next foreigner will give them money, so they will stop working because they know they can make more money begging. So the whole community turns into beggars, and what happens when the tourists go away? Suddenly the whole thing collapses and they are left with less than they started with.” I kept thinking about this each time I someone asked me for money, but it’s hard to remain so stolid when someone appears to be suffering right in front of your face. I’m still unsure on this.

It rained fiercely that day and the kids led us to shelter in a local barn. Here, as the rain chattered against the corrugated iron rooftop, we had a song and dance competition. We never could have planned it and it was one of the most magical experiences of my life. Obviously I could go on all day about Rwanda, and I do in my travel journal, which may well soon be available to download or buy in a shop! I’ll keep you updated. My advice then is hit the road, explore the mountains and meet local people. You don’t need to speak the language to understand each other. Avoid restaurants. Eat croissants.

If you’ve been to Rwanda, or have any comments about the country or anything I’ve said, leave a comment below and start the dialogue, and don’t forget to check out the gallery for some of my favourite pics of this stunning country.

Understanding Africa: Introduction

In the beginning there was doubt

Africa?” they said, “Alone?” they said, “But you’ll be killed by: bandits, terrorists, witch doctors, lions, snakes, Ebola, AIDs, etc.” and while I did encounter the majority of the above, I am still alive to tell the tale, and to top it off, I got a tan!

Last year I travelled from the heart of Rwanda to the tip of South Africa, some 60,000km overland, snaking through the rainforests, mountains, deserts, and island paradises, from the equator to the Cape. Along the way I lived with a dirt-biking Masai in a volcano doomed to become a thermo-power plant, witnessed the corruption and bribery of the Swahili police force, and carved up dead zebra in Zululand. Jackal fishing anyone? From cannibalism and witchcraft, to humping baboons with a fetish for car bonnets, I seemed to become a magnet for strange and hilarious events, but my true effort on this journey was to help dispel some of the harsh stigma surrounding this beautiful place.

Some things you need to know about me

Unlike most people who travel to Africa I am not a journalist, I am not a humanitarian, and I am not an ironic eco-tourist. I am just a nomad with a thirst for the unknown and a good nose for gossip. I can guarantee you some of the stories I heard are not true, but sometimes the lie is more revealing than the truth, because it exposes the motives of the teller, and every story here is straight from the horse’s mouth. I make it my point to ask the difficult questions and talk to the unheard people, who harbour the opinions and motives of the true heart of Africa. I have no scruples asking about religious indoctrination, genocide, or apartheid, and I don’t omit truths because they don’t agree with my views. I also meet the different kinds of people who travel to Africa, and ask them why: the ex-pats, the volunteers and the Dutch colonials.

Some things you didn’t know about Africa

People forget (or just don’t realise) that Africa is made up of some 112 different nations, and that it is massive! You don’t really realise how big Africa is, because when you flatten out the globe into a rectangle (like on most maps), everything in the middle is squished, and everything at the top and bottom is stretched. Looking at a map in this way, you’d probably think that Africa was about the same size as the U.S, and that Greenland was huge, but actually, you could fit the whole of North America, China, and India into Africa, and still have room for Greenland at the bottom. Check it out at Thetruesize.com, it’s super fun!

You also can’t really make any sweeping statements about Africa as a whole, because it contains possibly the biggest diversity of terrain, culture, and wildlife on the planet. It would be like saying that people in Canada eat the same food as Mexicans, Indians have the same hairstyles as Siberians, or that France and Germany have the same football team. Imagine how that would go down in the pub.

And off we go!

To clarify then, I visited the following countries on this trip: Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia and South Africa. I travelled almost exclusively by land routes (Maybe some boats in there), and I was gone for about three months. This is all possible because I’m unemployed and thought “Screw it! Let’s go on an adventure.” You can be unemployed too! I actively encourage it.

My posts will follow in chronological order by country, starting with Rwanda. Here I visited with some ex-pat friends of mine from university, who have been living in Africa for some time now. After sampling the delights of Kigali we went on a cross country road trip, visiting the lakes, mountains and gorillas of this beautiful country, and found out what makes it tick. Check out the next blog “Understanding Africa: Rwanda” for the full story.