EXCERPT FROM DIARY:
I’m at Heathrow airport, virtually shaking. What the heck am I doing? WHY, HOW, WHAT…every question is flying through my mind. I’ve only recently managed to take my first solo travel steps ever – to Vienna and Zurich – the comfort of Europe. Now, to leap to travelling solo through Ethiopia feels somewhat crazy! A little voice deep inside keeps telling me I can do it, but it’s very much buried under a mountain of doubt cast from everyone else’s reactions to my telling them I’m going alone….to Ethiopia.
It’ relatively untouched in terms of tourism, relatively unheard of for tourism, yet considered the cradle of humanity, boasts impressive scenery and landscapes, deep-rooted historical sights, UNESCO World Heritage Sites and incredible cultures so deeply embedded, I’m both intrigued and keen to learn more. My Father grew up in neighbouring Uganda and his passion for African music, food and culture has been infused in me from a very early age. Time to find out for myself. But more than all this, it’s THE PERSONAL CHALLENGE.
* Going alone – as I mention, I’ve only ever gone solo to Europe so far
* Being alone in a completely foreign country in which I’ve really no idea just what to expect
* Safety – If I can get through whatever security issues arise there from alone or being in Africa, most likely a combination, I’ll return feeling I can take on the world and have newfound faith in myself – something that’s very very important to me
* Become a stronger and more independent person
* See a different side to life. Having just returned from a spectacular month through Myanmar / Burma, I have a real taste for somewhere emerging and hugely interesting
* Being able to cope alone – I can’t emphasise how much of a driving factor this is personally. I need to know that I can be alone and be comfortable and confident alone. I never get a chance in daily life to be completely isolated. I hope I relish this opportunity as much as I keep imagining I could.
* Push my boundaries to learn who I truly am when things get difficult or challenging. I want to know how strong I can really be. At home, how many of us have to push ourselves beyond our comfort zones? When do we ever really leave behind our safety nets of family and friends? I never get this chance. And many would say, with good reason! I want to prove them wrong and prove to myself that I can be the independent girl I feel I truly could be. On this journey, with no-one there to ‘protect’ or shelter me, watch my back or look after the money, aid conversations, make friends, eat with: all the little things…this will be a game-changer.
Whatever I learn about myself on this journey will shape the way I feel towards myself and steer my self-confidence in a huge way! I know i’m putting a lot of pressure on myself but I can’t help it. If I fall flat, I’ll be devastated! This trip could absolutely define the person I become at this stage, and define the person I want to become.
I have faith and fear…
- ETHIOPIAN EXPRESSIONS: Portraits Of A People (ani-shah.com)
- Projects Abroad volunteers among those making a change in Ethiopia (prweb.com)
- Ethiopia: Unexpected wonders in the rock churches of Lalibela and Addis Ababa (mirror.co.uk)