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I’ve now been on the road for six months – I can barely believe it! And after six months and 9,000km I’m in Freetown, Sierra Leone.
My last note was about the Sahara and unquantifiable amounts of sand. I have since then travelled through five countries over hugely varying terrain and differing geographical regions: through the flat, arid sahel and mangrove swamps of Senegal, along the river of the Gambia, through primary forest divided by many rivers in Guinea-Bissau, the green highlands of Guinea and down into the tropical forests of Sierra Leone.
The roads have been equally varied: from smooth, freshly laid asphalt, to gravel, to bumpy dirt tracks and sandy lanes and on occasion across country on barely recognizable footpaths.
Needless to say, a lot has happened: encounters with countless animals, insects mostly; termites, spiders, ants, mosquitos; but also monitor lizards, snakes, monkeys, chimpanzees, mice. Encounters with friendly locals, corrupt officials, screaming kids; fortunately I’ve not bumped into any rebels or mercenaries as feared.
At times I’ve been so happy, feeling so lucky, to be undertaking this journey. At other times, I’ve be tired, ill, overwhelmed. There have been tears and anger and despair.
But all of this adds up into one amazing adventure. I have never once wished to be back home, never wished to be elsewhere, never thought about giving up. Without the tough times, the good times wouldn’t be so great.
Looking forward to what the next six months will bring… I’m headed for Mali and will no doubt soon be cursing the heat and sand again!