Back in the UK, and all is, well, UK-ish basically! It’s really difficult to explain how I feel after a couple of weeks being back, but largely I have an undying want to be back in Tanzania and not sat here behind a desk being the IT guy again.
Last few weeks in Mshiri were emotional to say the least. I’ve been up to Arusha, seen the crazy party lifestyle again that I thought I had left behind in the UK, experienced it, and felt glad that I had only discovered this shortly before coming home. It’s not that I don’t like having fun, but going out till the early hours of the next day four days in a row where you see all the white travelers and volunteers in the area seems a bit too much like being back in Europe. It’s fun, but I can do that at home, and despite still being in Africa, if you start hanging out in these circles, things can get very expensive very quickly.
I’ve made so many friends during my time so far, and none of them will be left behind with anything other than fond memories. From Lisa and Tine in the village, to my Tanzanian friends and colleagues, to the rather annoying but strangely endearing hassling touts that I see each day in Marangu, everyone holds a place in my heart, and it’s this sense of unfinished business that is currently driving me to get the funds together and get myself back out there as quickly as possible.
I’ve had family encounters, issues and politics to deal with; I’ve managed to get myself back on the working ladder with a reasonably decent job that pays more than I need to walk the road ahead, and as long as I can keep my head down and just get on with it, then I’ll be back on the mountain by October. As I write this date has changed forwards and back, but this opportunity to earn that has come my way will certainly help me to stick to my target and be “home” right on schedule.
I left behind things to ensure my safe return; most importantly friends and my bicycle. Now I’m back in Bristol I could really do with having my trusty steed on hand but the thought of being reunited with it with a bag full of spare parts and loving care to see it through the next year and a half makes me smile. I will make it to Kenya, I will take it down and follow the Elephant migration down through Tarangire and Manyara, and I am still committed to getting it and myself up onto Kilimanjaro before I stop calling it my home.
Back to issues closer to home here in the UK, I luckily managed to get myself back just in time to see Alex and Katie off on their big travels in the states. This, as can be imagined by those who know them, wasn’t as straightforward as it should have been, and their original date has been pushed back by a week owing to Visa problems, then on their arrival in New York, further cash needed to be spent to overcome some flight booking errors which have set them back a fair amount of money. Fingers crossed that things smooth themselves out a bit once they get on the road, and I can’t wait to hear how they get on with being out and about in the world. The way it can change your ideas about pretty much everything still amazes me, and I really hope they get everything they are dreaming of from this trip – it’s certainly costing them the earth!
So, desktop support (dear god save me), lots of cider, close friends and good company all adorn my daily existence back here. It would be nice to be able to see more of my family being so close yet so far, but that is the decision we have all taken in times past, and despite where we came from, we each have our own place to end up – life would be too boring if we all lived together, the variation and inspiration drawn from traveling and living in new places is what gives us hope for the future.