Published: February 15th 2012February 14th 2012
Me, arriving in Savannah (South Carolina) airport from Johannesburg after 31 hours and 4 flights.
Welcome to the final installment of The Adventures of John Jo, indeed, tis true, I am heading home tomorrow.
No time for sorrow though, I have to be thankful that I have had such a good year and even I understand that all things come to an end. I also appreciate how lucky I have been to have had the opportunity to spend so much time travelling around, most people never get this chance, this is a fact that has never been far from my mind.
My last couple of weeks have been spent in the good old U.S. of A, visiting my Uncle and Aunt. I had always planned to visit them, but I needed to see how the year progressed before making a final decision. My last few weeks are documented in the pictures, as always they tell the tale better then I can.
If you are planning on such an adventure, and I highly recommend that you do, I think you should read on. I have always tried to report both the good and the bad aspects of travelling, I feel it is my responsibility.
So, what are
The hotel that we were staying in had lots of lovely hot tubs. My Aunt Darlene loves a good hot tub, as do I. I vouch, once I can afford a house with a garden that I will install a hot tub.
the bad points?
Yes, the act of travelling can indeed be terrible. I assure you after several 12 hour bus journeys the novelty wears off. Spending so much time hot, hungry and dying for a wee really isn’t fun, it can leave you a mess for a day afterwards. Arriving in every new place clueless and lost, a natural victim for every scammer and hassle monger in town also wears pretty thin.
Sorry to break the news to you dear readers, but paradise does not exist, no matter how much the glossy holiday brochures proclaim. Behind every white, palm tree lined beach, you will find poverty that will shock you. You get used to this after a while, but trust me, for the first few months you will feel the guilt pretty strongly. Now this may not be the case for developed countries, but for the developing countries so popular with backpacker types, it certainly is.
Standing out. Being stared at everywhere you go. Now this can reduced depending on the places you visit, had I travelled from SE Asia down through Australia and New Zealand I would have not
After the terrible internet in Malawi, it was nice to have decent internet. Here I am calling my dear Mother to tell I had arrived alive.
felt like this. Again you have to trust me, standing out like a sore thumb on every street you walk down can become pretty tiring after a while.
Money. Money. Money.
Money will dominate your life in exactly the same way as it does when you are back home. You will expend huge amounts of time and effort attempting to retain, save and budget your money. Sometimes you will retain, save and effectively budget your money and at other times you will involuntarily hemorrhage money, which can be frustrating and depressing.
Being a tourist, regardless of the country you visit, will make you a relentless target for exploitation. You have to except that however much of an intrepid traveler you are, you still form part of the tourism industry, and this industry like all others needs money, your money, to function.
The good bits.
Yes, the act of travelling can be fantastic. Especially when you fly in to a new place, the new sights and sounds. And in the remoter areas the feeling that you are pioneering is pretty satisfying, not always at the time, but certainly afterwards.
We were all happy to be together.
Paradise does not exist, you do get to see some pretty stunning places. Beautiful and extraordinary places that most people will never get see. And after a while, whether you like it or not you do develop a certain immunity to the poverty that surrounds you. Mud huts and shoeless children just becomes the norm, it stops effecting you. You start to accept that for many people this is just normal life, just like stress and pressure of the daily grind is our normal life.
There are times when being different is quite fun. You get treated differently, you attract smiles and special treatment. And, at the very least being constantly different gives you a valuable insight in to how it must feel for foreigners in your own country. I will always treat foreigners in England, whatever their motivations or reasons for being there, with warmth and hospitality, because only when you have felt lonely and lost, do you realize the boost a friendly face can make.
Sorry, I cant think of any counter argument to the problem of money, it remains a constant bane whether your are at home or away, I
Hilton Head is a very wealthy. Full of rich folks, who buy boats. © Missy Elliot 2002.
am sorry but the scourge of money is unavoidable and universal.
So there you are, a very short, but balanced view of this travelling business. There is much more I could rattle on about, but you would get bored.
Would I do it again? Yes. In a heartbeat. I think, all said and done, this the most important thing to remember. I think that the impact of my time away will only become apparent when I return to normal life, its no doubt changed me, just not sure how yet.
Thank you for all reading my blog, and thank you for all the love and support you have shown me.
All my love.
There are more photos below