‘What are you afraid of?’ He asked.
‘Snails,’ she said, ‘and failure…but mostly snails.’
‘I see,’ he replied.
She looked away self-consciously, nervous to see the look in his eyes. The judgement there.
‘And you? What are you afraid of?’ She asked him.
‘Nothing. I’m not afraid of anything,’ he said.
He looked at her, daring her to object.
Something strange happened a year and eight months ago.
I was a writer, a travel writer to be exact. I loved creating a world for my reader and pulling them in with 500 words.
I was a wizard who could make you believe in a story, who could show you the world, through words.
To be honest, some of my posts were amazing. Some were dumb. Buy hey, I was following my passion. Then something odd happened to me.
There is a beautiful lady in my graduate class.
Long legs. Chocolate skin tone. Always in a pair of heels. Holds designer handbags.
I don’t think there are many people who can pull off her grace and confidence. Absolutely stunning!
She is what every 20-year-old wishes to look like in her 30s. And every 30-year-old hopes to look like in her 40s.
When I stare at her, I imagine her life.
Let’s pretend for a second that you are great.
Not alright. Or fair. But great.
That no one is better than you, smarter than you or more blessed than you, at this very moment. Narcissistic, isn’t it? But let’s pretend it’s true. Just for a second anyway.
That you are everything and more.
That you have been standing in your way all this time, and the minute you move, not much, just a little, the greatness within you will shine through.
Do you ever think about who you are? I mean, really think about it? Who you are as an individual?
If you really analyze, you will realize that you perceive yourself differently from the way your family, friends, work colleagues, boyfriend(s), girlfriend(s) etc., perceive you.
In other words, the person you are to your family is different from the person you are to your friends, work colleagues or boyfriend.
I mean, that’s why your family thinks you are an angel and your ex-boyfriend/girlfriend thinks you’re completely insane, right?
10 months ago, I published my first article on this site.
I called it, ‘The top 10 tips to survive a long bus ride.’
I know what you’re thinking….who read that?
Well, my 2 readers did. Mum, and this one guy from Zambia.
Typed it on my phone on a bus from Kampala to Nairobi.
Being rich is fun. Pretending to be rich is even more fun.
Eating rich people food. Maybe some unsuspecting sea animal.
Going to rich people places. Like an exotic island, a private beach, maybe a private nude beach. No? You’re not into that? Okay.
What about waking up to a view of the ocean. You wouldn’t mind that, would you?
Smelling the air that the rich breathe. Oh, I imagine that it smells different. Like fresh bills, with a hint of mint, you know?
Can you hear it?
The voice inside your head whispering, ‘there is nothing you can’t do, baby.’
You can be anything and anyone you want to be.
Can you hear it?
A gorilla posing for a photo at the end of the tracking session
I am writing this on my way to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. Yeah, yeah...I know people say this all the time. But seriously, I am typing this sentence on my phone, in a speeding taxi to Kabale town.
For as long as I can remember, this is the most excited I have been.
Why, you ask?
a) In a few hours, I will be exchanging smouldering looks with a mountain gorilla, LOL!
b) I am staying at a beautiful lodge right by the national park.
c) But most importantly, I am on the road. In a place that's completely new to me (it's been a while)
At this age, your university days are most likely behind you.
You are ready for the rest of your life.
Or, are you?
The thing about being 23 is that, you are truly at the beginning of the rest of your life.
But also, at this age, you realize that life is not as straight forward as you thought it would be.
The best advice I ever got is 'travel by yourself every once in a while. That's the only way to fully embrace a new environment without reservations.'
There is nothing that screams amateur like a bunch of tourists following a tour guide like a pack of school kids.
"Brace, Brace, Brace."
These are the final words pilots say to prepare passengers for an emergency landing.
I pray that you and I never hear these words. But if we do, it's important to remember, there is a 96% chance of survival if one is involved in a plane crash.
What is so beautiful about Paris is that everything is within reach due to the well connected transportation system. So, you are always one train ride away from a world renowned tourist attraction.
If you're visiting Paris for the first time, prepare to be wowed by some of the world's most famous attractions. Here are my top picks of the 5 places to visit in Paris.
1. Act like a know-it-all.
Just because you read an article about the country or even watched a news segment about your travel destination doesn't make you an expert on that country.
Most tourists make the simpleminded mistake of assuming they've done enough research about the country, therefore have gained comprehensive knowledge about the country they are visiting.
I have never been a bucket list type of girl. But, I feel that if you decide to make one, (welcome to the cheesy club btw), you'd better do it right.
In my mind, an awesome bucket list should look like this.
1. If it's not going to kill you, it's not worthy.
Did you know that there is a group of individuals who are addicted to traveling? If you've been wondering whether you are one of them, here is a list of signs that are common to all travel addicts.
1. If 80% of your new year's resolutions comprised of places you intend to visit this year.
You're walking to work, in a hurry. You're always in a hurry.
Then you pass by these lazy-looking guys wearing shorts and tank tops. It's Monday by the way.
Why would anyone wear flip flops on a Monday? They are sipping some green-looking drinks, laughing at some unfunny joke someone told last night.
Yap, those are tourists.
I remember the day I was accepted into the study-abroad program in Paris. 26/05/2015.
Have you ever felt like you are on top of the world?
I was over the moon. You couldn't pull me down if you tried.
But this feeling was short-lived when I realized how much I had to get done.
Have you met someone who instantly changed your life?
I met this little boy in Rwanda who did just that.
I had been in the country for a while, and things were beginning to seem too normal.
Okay, when you think of fun countries, Rwanda may not be on top of your list. But you will be surprised. Whether you seek dangerous adventures or a simple walk on the beach, Rwanda has it all.
After a recent trip to Rwanda, I compiled a list of fun, adventurous and enjoyable activities to do in Rwanda. And here is the list.
You found an amazing job. Or graduate school. Maybe your friends invited you to stay with them for 3 months. You're going abroad.
You are excited beyond words. It feels like for once in your life you are going on vacation. Life doesn't get better than that.
I am your average 20 something year old. Big dreams. No stable income. And all these dreams are centered around...you guessed it....TRAVEL.
There are so many young people with similar dreams. You could be that young person. You just want to travel and see the world. You want to learn about new cultures and try different cuisines. Your only restriction is the size of your wallet.
Worry not. Your travel dreams are about to come true.
Growing up, Didi's world was the place to be.
Not because it was the only amusement park in Uganda (it still is), but because every little kid went there.
When we went to school after the December holidays, the only two places we bragged about visiting were Didi's world and Garden City. That's how cool it was!
You know what I like?
Being a tourist. Yes. A good old tourist. Doesn't matter where I am, I will act like a foreigner visiting the place for the first time (even in my home town!)
There is something about it. It's like walking around with a dollar sign on your forehead. You know what I mean?
RWANDA. Known to the world as the Land of a Thousand Hills. But it has so much more to offer.
Are you curious about the thriving African country but have no idea where to go and what to see? Are you on a tight budget? (who isn't?)
No problem! I have got you covered with a list of 7 touristy and non-touristy places to visit all around Rwanda.
I am on a bus heading to the Western Province in Rwanda.
Cruising past endless hills, beautiful scenery, thick forests, small but well-maintained homes. Past trees that go on for miles and a lake that flows endlessly.
It is sunny outside but there is a beautiful breeze in the air, the kind that gently brushes against your cheek and triggers a smile.
Her name doesn't matter. All that matters is that life was once perfect. To her.
She was living abroad. Finally free.
She arrived at the promised land aware that she had a clean slate. In a land where not a soul knew her. Her past mistakes were forgotten.
I once compared climbing the tower of the Gaddafi mosque to bungee jumping in Jinja. It was so dangerous but so thrilling at the same time.
I first climbed the tower in 2009 as a young girl unaware of my adventurous spirit. I remember escaping from school one evening to visit the biggest mosque that was the talk of the town.
Of course, it was still under construction at the time but I didn't care. That day, my friends and I walked to the mosque expecting glory.
Most Ugandans have a love-hate relationship with taxis. This is why.
On a good day, the taxi conductor will help an elderly lady cross the road. Amazing!
On a bad day, that same guy will connive with 5 thieves to rob an unsuspecting passenger. (I was that passenger, but more on that later)
Paris. Amsterdam. Barcelona. Athens. Berlin. Madrid.
Would you like to visit one of these cities in Europe? Well, so do a lot of people. Unfortunately, many give up on their dream destination because they instantly think, "too expensive".
They decide this without doing any research to actually find out how 'expensive' a place is. Granted, these are a few of the most outstanding cities in Europe and in the world. So, automatically, they are branded as costly.
'First, you climb to the top, then... you jump!' said the bungee jumping instructor.
At this point, I thought it was simple. I had all the information. I was going to climb...get tied to a rope...then jump.
There isn't a better feeling than knowing that you will be flying to a new destination...for the first time!
You tell all your friends and family. Deep down, they all wish they were you. You are excited beyond words. At night, you dream about your journey. Ah, the elation!
You check your ticket constantly. You can't wait for the D-day. One week to...five days...two...one...the day is here.
Fry an egg (or four) and a chapati, roll them together and you have Uganda's greatest discovery...the ROLEX.
Although the actual roots of the rolex are not known, it can be traced tracked back to university campuses and student hostels around Wandegeya in Kampala.
Disclaimer: I have met some of the coolest people when I was away from home. I have also listened to the coolest stories shared by fellow Africans abroad that make me want to pack up my bags and move to new places...every day.
But to be honest, many people will say the strangest things and ask the weirdest questions when they meet Africans. I kid you not. Allow me to share the top 20 of the most outrageous statements that people have said to my friends and I only because we said the 'A' word.
1. "You have an African accent".
I could pretend to be an expert on all things Kenyan but you and I know that I would be lying.
Everything I know is based on my personal experience as a foreigner there.
I moved to Kenya in 2012, with a dream. A dream that I could accomplish...
Fine, I will stop with the philosophical crap. I moved there to attend college.
Was it my decision? Well, I wouldn't say that exactly (my parents decided as all African parents do!)
Little did I know that Kenya would actually grow on me.
Welcome, my tourist friend!
Uganda is one of the five countries in East...(ha! jokes, I am sure you know the country.
Thanks to Idi Amin, mountain gorillas and Museveni. In case you don't, then thanks to Google, you will in a few minutes (I'll wait...).
Well, I hope you can place this dear country on the world map. If you can't, you aren't the only one. All that matters is that you have heard of it.
Disclaimer: You may or may not agree with the statement below but...
Most Africans do not consider themselves 'black'.
Growing up, no one calls you black at the playground or in class. 'Being black' is such a non-factor that we do not consider it. So, when we experience our 'blackness' through someone else's eyes, we are caught off guard.
Thanks to globalization, there is a good chance that you will, at one point, work far away from home. Here are a few tips to help you survive the first day craziness.
1.Prepare to do nothing.
Yes, you read that right. First days are tricky for employees and employers alike. Don't be surprised if your supervisor has no work for you.