I’ve travelled more frequently the past six months than I have at any other point in my life. I did the math on the way from South Africa to Jordan a couple of weeks ago and discovered that I’d spent close to 60% of the nights on the road between February and August.
Whenever I feel inclined to gripe about this aspect of my lifestyle, I go visit “Constant Trek”, the weblog maintained by Gary and Paula Constant, an Australian couple who are walking from Trafalgar Square in London to Cape Town, South Africa. (As the motto on their blog explains, “Everywhere is walking distance if you have the time.”)
It’s a 10,500 mile journey, and they’ve just announced that they’ve finished “phase one”, the trip through Europe and Morocco to the edge of the Sahara. They’re briefly taking a break in the UK for a vacation and medical check-ups, before setting off in late September on a trip across the Sahara with a camel train. (As Paula puts it, “And you know what the good news is? For the next few thousand kilometres, it will be camels carrying those bloody packs – not us. Man, that is going to be good.”)
(For anyone who thinks this trip is crazy, you should check out Karl Bushby’s ten-year long unsupported walk around the world. That’s crazy.)
Since the Constants are staying put for the next month or two, it’s a great chance to catch up with the last year’s worth of posts – Paula’s a prolific and colorful blogger, and the detail of the landscapes they pass through, the challenges of walking thousands of miles, and the endless kindness of the people they encounter make for a good vacation from airplane travel or too many days at a desk. Enjoy the rest, guys – I’m really looking forward to seeing Africa through your eyes, one step at a time.
Hi there Ethan,
Just wanted to say “thanks” for your kind words and well wishing. It is soooo good to have a rest, although things are happening so fast now – we have bought our four camels and are returning to Morocco on the 20th of September to continue. Having a break has given me time to catch up on who has been following the site, and it is really lovely to find posts like yours. Thankyou, and I hope all is well in your world.
Paula and Gary
Paula – Thanks for writing. Enjoy the well-deserved break – I’m so looking forward to following the Africa leg of your trip, but I hope you and Gary have a great chance to rest and refresh before you hit the road again.
Is there a planned itinerary online? I’d love to start getting you in touch with friends in East Africa as you head into parts of the world I know better…
That would be great! Thankyou.
During our break in the UK Gary will be updating the “route” section of the site. Being familiar with African politics, you will appreciate that the itinerary changes faster than anyone can keep up with, according to the socio-political environment of individual countries.
However, and despite the many problems in the region, our Hassaniya Saharawi hosts in the Sahara believe it may still be possible to cross from Morocco through Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Chad, and into Sudan. We had abandoned any hope of going further than Mali before turning South out of the desert, though a trans Sahara crossing has always been our dream; but the Bedouin in the region are still crossing these borders, and it may be that we are also able to do so. It is high on my list of investigations after we return tomorrow.
If that is the case, we will head down from Sudan into Kenya and the well trodden route South. However, given that this would be at the least one year away from now, our plans are very likely to alter. At the moment we are simply focussing on the two and a half months from M´Hamid to Dakhla on the Mauritanian border, as this is our training time with Arabic, camels, and the desert. We may well retire in a screaming heap at the end of it!
I would be immensely grateful for any contacts you have, or ideas that you think may help. Every bit of information is incredibly valued by us. Thankyou for your very kind offer.
And by the way – the wine in the South of Spain is Lurrrrrvely:-)