12 months, 12 countries

I came to Senegal hoping I’d be lucky enough to see a bit of this country and a few others nearby. Things worked out beyond my wildest dreams, and I ended up visiting 12 new countries in 12 months, a personal record. Half the trips were for work, half for vacation, but all of them were a pleasure to see. (Though they were definitely not pleasurable at every moment, to say the least.)

I’ll share my favorite pictures from Dakar later, but first, here in one place are my travelogues from all the countries I visited from last February to this January.

Senegal: the western and northern parts, and a central / southern part


Morocco: Marrakech and Casablanca



Tanzania: safari on the mainland and Zanzibar

South Africa: Cape Town and Johannesburg



Burkina Faso

The Gambia

Cape Verde: Cidade Velho, Praia, and Mindelo, and the island of Santo Antão

And with that, I’m off to the airport, America-bound…

Cape Verde part one: Cidade Velho, Praia and Mindelo

Many years ago, I read a travel writer’s claim that Cape Verde is the most festive country in Africa, and I put it on my list of places to go. I no longer prioritize partying, but Dakar is just a two-hour flight from the capital of Praia, and after seeing pictures of the mountains of Santa Antão, I swore I’d visit before leaving Senegal. So at the end of January, I island-hopped between Santiago (where Praia is located), São Vicente, and Santa Antão, and I was blown away nearly every step of the way. I mean this both literally and figuratively; Cape Verde is a windy country. Continue reading

One hour, a painful Skype call, and $5 additional dollars later…

…the exact same itinerary has been rebooked, and I was told that this time it is confirmed by the airline and thus will not be summarily cancelled like the last one.

Trip back on.

I won’t go so far as to say all is right with the world again, but at least I get to distract myself with a tropical paradise four days after all goes wrong. (I am counting that as a positive thought.)

easy come, easy go; or, WTF 2017?!?!

I think I’ve well established on this blog that I am not happy about 2017. In fact, I’m worse than unhappy, but I don’t need to use this space to air my mental health issues. In any case, I thought a vacation might lift me out of the muck, and I pinned my hopes on an epic West African road trip, only to fall deeper into my malaise when I had to cancel it due to logistical annoyances. Instead I moved on to planning a trip to Cape Verde, and I bought remarkably affordable tickets on Friday for a trip at the end of January. It helped. I felt myself starting to climb out of my hole by getting excited for the beach and the mountains and the music and the people… Until today, when I woke up to this:

So it seems 2017 is dead-set not only on misery of a general “the world is going to shit” nature but also in a very personal “someone up there hates me” sense.

I will attempt to contact Expedia and figure out an alternate plan to get to Cape Verde in February. But first I will shake my fist at the sky and curse 2017 with the biggest GO FUCK YOURSELF I can muster. So much for that positivity resolution.