I am in a sombre mood today.
I’ve been traveling for some time now; I spent all my childhood holidays away somewhere with my family. It was and still is my father’s idea of what a holiday should look like.
Traveling with my parents was easy. Between not worrying about finances, where we’d sleep or visas, there was enough time to fantasize about where we’d be going. Our only concern as kids (my brother and I) were how early we’d have to wake up to catch wildlife if we were on that kind of safari. My father would have us rise early for morning game drives, or to visit museums and tourist sites. Our itineraries were almost always packed, a culture that I have kept in my adult travels.
Enter University and post-uni travel. I’ve talked about how I started traveling by myself. I got up one day and my train was ready to leave, with or without companions. That was 2015 and I have traveled solo since. I join groups that are going, I go by myself, I invite friends and go regardless, whether they’re coming or not. And it has been the most fulfilling decision I have made to date.
That said, traveling as a young single female has had it’s fair share of challenges; In African countries, this ranges from men you meet on your travels that view you as a lost, fragile thing in dire need of a man, to those that think you’re rich and can fund their lives, thus pouring out affection and marriage proposals. There’s those that think you must be very lonely, therefore imposing their unwanted company on you, and others that assume you have deep-rooted problems that require their psycho-analysis. And then there’s those in Zanzibar that will not allow any black woman to be in any form of swim suit at the beach, because ‘African women are beautiful and this will cause moral degradation’. Every single female traveler I’ve spoken to has had this experience in Zanzibar (and I don’t mean tourist. Traveler. There’s a difference. Nobody’s bothering you if you stay within the hotel’s beach for your entire trip.)
I thought I might try other continents starting this year. My work on this blog has just started to bear fruit so why not! I still have a lot to see in Africa, but the reality is that the cost of a trip to West Africa for a week would be the same as that to Asia/Europe for 2 or 3.
The visa process for a young, self employed, unmarried mother of none is as strenuous as it is draining. I say draining to mean both your energy and your pocket.
You have no employer, husband or child to return to so you must surely be trying to escape from the dreaded, hopeless life you live. You must have seen how bright and beautiful Europe is, how everyone swims in money. You must certainly admire how happy people are. You must adore their men. You must be plotting to snatch one right off the streets and down the isle. What a happy ending to a miserable life!
Today my visa was denied.
I’m in a sombre mood, but I don’t give up easy. Anyone that knows me will tell you that.
So tomorrow, we try again.
Until next time, happy travels!