"Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.” ~John Lennan~
People, who know me well, know I am not big on making plans. I much rather go with the flow and allow the rest to fall into place. After all, the thrill of a journey is wrapped in its uncertainties.
I recognized my natural tendency to “act first, think later” when I accepted an invitation to study abroad this past February as a senior in college. I envisioned my final semester in undergrad as that time to cherish Furman University for all its quirks and perks, enjoy quality time with the roomies, and plan (yes, plan) for “adulthood.” While I was busy envisioning the perfect plan for my senior year and post-graduate lifestyle, another dream was making a very bold appearance. Sooner than later, I dropped all those thoughts about the “prim and proper” senior year to embrace something way cooler and way more meaningful: a trip to the motherland.
That’s right…Mom and Dad, I’m going to AFRICA!
As a child, I dreamed about being an African queen. How couldn’t I? My mom filled my reading collection with books about black culture and African history. My dad spoke about ancient African principles in casual conversation, and he exposed me to African culture and heritage in and around South Carolina. I ate from an African placemat during dinner time, I wore kente cloth during Kwanzaa, and I (more often than not) imagined myself dancing to authentic African beats and creating art on African soil. [What a childhood!]
Travelling (particularly in Africa) means a lot of things to a lot of different people. For me, it meant exploring my heritage, discovering feelings of connectedness, being “home”, and learning about a culture that was once tangible only through pictures and story books during my childhood.
I considered the travel experience in southern Africa a perfect opportunity to embark on a personal journey. I went with an open-mind—hoping to return more enlightened and fulfilled not only about myself, but also about the people and history I’d encounter along the way.
I began to realize that life (after this journey) would never be the same…
People always ask, "So...how was Africa?" The best answer I can give: I'm still processing the entire experience. It was breathtaking, awe-inspiring, inspirational, beautiful, worth-it, and a whole lot more. It may take a lifetime to process, but I wanted to share my reflections in the meantime. Here's to sharing the [south] African experience (from this perspective) one post at a time!
This time for Africa...NOT the country...the continent :)