Onward, to Africa!

In a week and a half, I leave for Tanzania!

Way back when, about a year and a half ago, the plan was hatched for me to join a group of women hiking Mt. Kilimanjaro for a cause–the American Foundation for Children with AIDS. I raised the money (almost all of it…), I bought my tickets, and then, I got injured…over and over and over again. With all these injuries, it was impossible to train. And then I got a strange foot injury (that my podiatrist is hoping orthotics will magically fix) a few weeks ago that was the nail in the coffin — I was not going to be hiking Kilimanjaro.

At least not this year. Tanya Weaver, the amazing executive director at the AFCA agree to let me join a different hiking team that hikes the mountain in August of 2015.

And just like that, my trip to East Africa became a different kind of adventure!

Instead of hiking Kilimanjaro for ten days, I’ll be traveling solo throughout the country of Tanzania instead! Which, of course, makes my mother, father and sister pretty nervous. And, as I’ve never traveled solo, makes me a little nervous too.

Luckily, I have some good friends (looking at you Kelsey and Amy!) who have traveled extensively all around the world, and who have been able to give me advice and also instill in me some confidence. Also, my East Africa Lonely Planet book has become my best friend, as has the embassy websites of Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda. Places to stay, safety tips, and more — I love it.

So far, I’m following the advice of having a plan for the first few days, and then making more plans once I’m in country. So, my plan for the first few days is to stay at the Ujamaa Hostel, in Arusha, Tanzania. Arusha is about a 30 minutes drive from the Kilimanjaro airport, and the Ujamaa hostel is outside of the city center — which is its only downside.

The upside, though, is that the hostel is home to tons of volunteers who are paired with volunteer opportunities through Ujamaa and can stay at the hostel from 2 weeks to years. I plan to stay in the women’s dorm, where I hope to meet people who might want to take a few days to travel with me!

Maybe they’d want to join me in Zanzibar’s Stone Town (where Airbnb is alive and well!) or perhaps camp at Arusha National Park — were you can take canoe safaris or hire a guide to take you on a half-day walking safari. Or, maybe I won’t meet anyone, and I’ll travel to those places on my own, or stick around at Ujamaa and take some cool cultural tours or spend time reading and writing.

Who knows….

After ten days in Tanzania, I’ll be meeting up with my friend Chandler in Kenya, where we’ll spend a week traveling around there before going to where he’s been living in Uganda for another week.

A few pictures of Uganda courtesy of Chandler:

uganda1

uganda2

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Exciting!  Wish me luck and good vibes! I’ll try to check in while I’m there but as the internet and my access to it will be limited until in Uganda, I’ll have to play it day by day!

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