The warm wind blew my hair into a bedraggled birds nest, resembling those in the leafy trees above, as we bumbled down a dusty dirt track.
Encompassed by luscious green foliage and shrubs, which were only disturbed by the occasional cluster of acacia trees, a group of bounding gazelles soaring through the air like flying fish, a vibrant Fischer’s lovebird floating across the milky horizon or a herd of nonchalant elephants in search of their next pit stop, I was in a peaceful paradise in, you got it… Africa.
It was whilst I was on this safari in Tanzania, heading towards the tranquil plains of the Serengeti National Park, that along with a lot of mosquito bites, I was also bitten by that famous ol’ travel bug we always hear so much about.
As this trip was my first experience of travel outside of Europe, I immersed myself into the colourful African culture like a duck or, to stick with the African theme, a hippo to water.
I found myself intrigued by how other people live.
After meeting a group of men from the Masai Mara tribe who had only a spear and each other by their sides, it left me… dumbfounded.
People still live in tribes? People still catch their food using a spear? Do they not have a Tesco Express around the corner? Okay, that last question was a joke, but you catch my drift. I was 15 and, oh so naive.
At that point, I felt desperate to learn, learn, learn. I wanted to understand their religion, their beliefs, their culture, their lifestyle and not just in Africa but everywhere.
I decided that as soon as I finished school I would take a Gap Yahhh and travel the world.
After studying hard for my exams to secure myself a place at University and working in a call centre to save enough money for my trip, I was off.
I backpacked through Australia, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, China and India and very quickly realised that I never wanted the journey to end.
After 6 months away, I reluctantly waved goodbye to one of my favourite countries of all – India – and boarded my flight home. Although I was overjoyed to catch up with my friends and family, it wasn’t long before I was once again planning my next adventure…
Africa sucked me into the world of travel (excuse the pun) and now I couldn’t be any more excited to be setting off on my next solo trip in December (stay tuned).
This is where my wanderlust stemmed and flourished… where did yours?