When I first contemplated the idea of travelling from Cape Town to Cairo on a wing, a prayer, a small budget and no transport besides whatever people in the area used, I realised that it may necessarily be a solo voyage. While that would mean possible disbenefits such as not having anyone to go and fetch the doctor, or a second alarm clock in order to make sure you catch the early morning bus, making my peace with the possibility of it being an extended, lone journey meant that certain important things could be taken for granted. Such as the fact that, one way or another, I would be stepping out on November 13 into the unknown.
It is, I think, a truism of planning any adventure that there is a huge gulf between those who think that doing something would be a fantastic idea and those who are actually willing to put their health and good humour on the line (and eat noodles and water at times) to make it all come together for themselves. Even then, among those who would be willing to do it, I have seen more than a few excellent ideas come to nothing for lack of an initial person willing to step out the door first, writing the first chapters in the story that the willing few will turn into an epic.
With a bit of luck and enthusiastic pointing on a map, we may be able to recruit yet another brave soul into the party – about whom more shall be said if she commits.
So, in a way, it was with Cape to Cairo. Not soon after I had staked my pride to promising that I was going, Jonathan opted to step into the adventure. Audrey soon afterwards. With a bit of luck and enthusiastic pointing on a map, we may be able to recruit yet another brave soul into the party – about whom more shall be said if she commits. Feel that? That there is a small sense of mystery.
Even more important than providing semi-partly-qualified medical support and good humour for each other, that old adage of the more the merrier really does hold true. Being able to make plans, exchange travel porn from Flickr and the blogosphere, and reel of endless sequences of “won’t it be amazing if…”, “I am seriously hoping that…”, and so on has served to gradually pull the whole idea out of being something intellectually and emotionally interesting and turning it into an inevitable reality. Inevitable. Just thinking that ending up in the Simian mountains, Dar es Salaam or the Tanzam Express has become inevitable gives me the excitement level of a five year old.
Until Audrey pointed it out this evening, it had also not occurred to me in the slightest that there might be a slightly-greater-than-outside chance that anyone might be interested in the writing and photography that a trip like this will generate. I had fully intended to wring every scrap of writing inspiration and opportunity to take better photographs, but besides sharing it on this blog, had not really thought the issue through much further. Having realised the (in hindsight, fairly obvious) fact that someone somewhere might have an interest in accounts of how to navigate the length of Africa alive, with minimal gear and on a shoestring, a nicely formatted overview has now been prepared for emailing out to those who might be interested in supporting or telling the stories that come out of the voyage.
So the to-do list has grown by one more item, to tell the story of where we go, and what we learn to anyone with an interest (it will take the place of “get Hepatitis vaccination”, which will hopefully be ticked off tomorrow). Perhaps, as the first foot out the door makes a journey possible, there might be something in our tales to make an adventure OK for someone else out there. That alone, would make it a first step worth taking.