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I have long been a fan of mad plans. The sort which seem just that little bit dafter than the vanilla plan, but falling just short of laughing-and-forgetting-it madness. The recent days have seen a few new additions to what was formerly a large blank wall in my home. Specifically, a ceiling height map of Africa, string and those ever so fun pins with the round heads that you can pin into the map and tie string to.  It’s part of a new and cunning plan, you see.

The entire chain of events was initially precipitated by my only confirmed traveling companion for Ethiopia pulling out – damn you, stupid work. Which left me considering whether to continue with the original plan of seeing Ethiopia at the end of the year (if necessary, by myself) or whether to look for something perhaps a little more challenging. Something a little more, shall we say, crazy.

When dissected though, the entire fearsome exploratatory meal is reduced to little snacks of tripping pleasure, where all that remains is the sweet nectar of excitement.

Amid the giant map, a good deal of coffee, Google and Lonely Planet, I think I may just have found something.  A challenge which, when contemplated as a whole, is rather scary. Make you feel a little terrified scary. But scary with that twinge of excitement that makes your stomach work like a badly-cared-for tumble dryer. When dissected though, the entire fearsome exploratory meal is is reduced to little snacks of tripping pleasure, where all that remains is the sweet nectar of excitement. What late-night searching of the interwebs and offline reading of anything I can find on this idea has revealed is that the entire plot is indeed executable within reasonable time and means. Which is to say, by January, without leaving me stranded somewhere on the way.

Now generally, I am wary of declaring fantastical plans of any sort in this space (unless they happen to pertain to existential angst, for which I appear to have a perpetual weakness). In this instance, however, I have been told on good authority by those polled (in a rigorous quantitative survey consisting of, in particular, the question “is this a nutty idea”) that this is not, in fact a nutty idea. I am also hoping, in a way, that committing to this course of action publicly will seal the reality as firmly as the plane ticket to Cape Town.

Africa is bigger than they told you. Like, at least a fridge and a half big. Fridge provided for scale. Also because it happens to live almost in the lounge.

Africa is bigger than they told you. Like, at least a fridge and a half big. Fridge provided for scale. Also because it happens to live almost in the lounge.

I would very much like, you see, to spend the latter months of 2009 trying to get from Cape Town to Cairo by bus,  bus-like death trap, train, animal  or any other land-based conveyance that will take me.  The research tells me that with a bit of patience and a hardened, bus-resistance posterior, this is in fact a more practical reality than you may initially consider it to be. At present, the planned route (dictated in immutable coloured pins and string) would look something like Cape Town – Windhoek – Livingstone – Lusaka – Dar Es Salaam – Nairobi – Addis Ababa – Khartoum – Cairo. With various  smaller stops in between to see the world a bit more on the way.

So there you go. I am planting my little flag of challenge-meeting declaration, with an intended departure date of 13 November – various bits of organising depending. Be sure that this blog will cover every bumpy, dusty and downright interesting part of the trip that I can fit in. It will also serve as a useful record of my last known location, in case I should need emergency rescue.