Ack! Where’s this week’s Ask Alex? In light of my impending departure early next week I’ve opted to swap out this week’s Q&A with a quick update about what I’ll be doing for the next month and a half. Needless to say, I’m super excited about the upcoming trip though you probably haven’t heard me talk about it much here on the site.
On July 3rd I’ll be throwing an odd assortment of stuff into my backpack before setting off for London where I’ll be re-connecting with my folks. It has been just under a year since I left Arizona and moved to Denmark and this will be the first time we’ve been able to see each other since my move. After connecting in London we’ll jump a long flight on Emirates down to Dubai where we’ve scheduled an extended layover. After all, it would be a shame to pass through the famous (infamous?) city without pausing to see what all the talk is about and to take a peak at the Burj. After a bit over a day and a half in the city we’ll re-board our flight and continue the 2nd 7 hour leg (ouch) to Lusaka, Zambia. Wait, Zambia? Yep! Zambia!
Why Zambia? Well, as it turned out my brother and I decided to make it really easy on our folks. Out of the blue we both decided to head abroad for two years. For me it was a 2 year Masters Degree here in Denmark. For my little brother, David (pictured on the Elephant), it was a 2 year commission in the US Peace Corps. Happy but hard news for any parent, right? To make matters worse we both left within 3 days of each other….and haven’t been home since. As it turned out David got deployed to Zambia where he has been assigned as a health volunteer in the country’s far north, just outside of Mansa along the border with the Congo. For those of you who are about as familiar with Africa as I was before his deployment, it’s actually a pretty good gig. Unlike many of the countries in the region (here’s looking at you Congo) Zambia has experienced relatively competent management and been largely peaceful since the Brits pulled out a few decades ago.
Now that he’s a year into his 2 year commitment he finally has some time to explore. So, instead of letting him wander around aimlessly, we’ve decided to get the band back together and to make him play tour guide. After all, who better to introduce us to things like dehydrated caterpillars, termites, and other local culinary delights? We will be in Zambia between July 8th and August 3rd. During that time we’ll be visiting Victoria Falls (which is the last of the big three for me, I’ve already done Niagra and Iguazu), jumping into Botswana for a mini safari, seeing his village, wandering about aimlessly and doing a world class photo safari with Shenton Safaris and when I say world class, I mean it! It’s going to be our first time in Africa and I’m incredibly excited. It will also be my first trip that far off the traditional grid. About the most rural trip I’ve done previously was to parts of Guatemala, but we still had two niceties which will be lacking during parts of the Zambia leg of our trip – running water and electricity. Oh, and flushing toilets. I’m already practicing my squats. No small feat for my 6’4″ (193), 200 pound build. I’ve already decided I need to do FAR more yoga.
On August 2nd we’ll be forced to undergo a tear-filled goodbye as we leave David behind and let him get back to work. The folks and I will just be getting warmed up, however, as we’ll head straight from Zambia to Prague, across to Berlin and then up to Edinburgh by the 11th of August. Once there I’ve signed the folks up for a 6-day backpacker themed tour which will see the three of us in a small 16 person bus wandering our way through the Scottish Highlands, over to the Isle of Skye (with a stop at the Old Man of Storr), past a few ancient standing stones, and then up and across to the outer Hebrideas to explore the Isles of Harris and Lewis. Don’t worry, we’ll likely also pause at the Tullibardine Distillery for a wee bit of Scotch.
By August 20th I’ll be back in Copenhagen and furiously working on getting photos and posts written to share the adventure with you all. In the meantime, however, I’ll be posting updates where possible to the VirtualWayfarer Facebook Page and my twitter account. I’ve also scheduled a number of fantastic posts about Italy and Turkey to keep you busy in the meantime! You can also learn more about what my brother is doing in Africa and his past adventures and observations on his blog DavidBerger.net.
It’s going to be quite the adventure and a startling contrast between incredible cultures and completely opposite climates. I can’t wait and look forward to sharing it with you all! Also, keep in mind that later this year (in October), I’ll be following this trip up with another to Churchill, Manitoba to partake in a 3 day polar bear watching tundra excursion thanks to the Canadian Tourism Board.
Lot of amazing adventures and stories to share with you over the following few months. As always, I treasure your feedback and the time you take to following the blog. If you have a special request, question or some advice to share please don’t hesitate to let me know!