Blogger Diary: I Dream Of Africa

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Africa, how can I repay what you have given me? Your people who radiate with such astounding beauty and light, no matter what their personal life has served on their plate. Sights of deep perseverance and hope give 24 hour goosbumps. Strangers become family in an instant. Human connection is the deepest, most simple ingredient. Forget language barriers, politics, haves and have nots… connecting with an elder of 110 years old, holding hands and smiling souls: that’s it.

Every winter my Love and I each pack a single backpack and head off. Like birds flying south, we head to the heat. Somewhere foreign, completely unknown, and far far away.  We travel with few rules but one: no plans. Remain flexible and open, and everything/everyone you should see/meet/explore will find you. Since I was a child, I dreamed of Africa. The continent has always spoken to the roots of my soul… to the core of my curiosities and travel lusts. Not long ago, I embarked on that dream. With the Love of my life beside me, we traveled through West and East Africa. I fell deep. Instantly I felt at home… at peace. We both were in love… and vowed to come again and again, visiting our new-found friends and family. While my heart still aches for these individuals, the smells, the sights, the music… the emotions…  I brought home with me lessons that will continue to teach even in my absence,  I pursue my passions in my own country with a profound calmed peace. I feel blessed. Blessed to come home to support, to opportunity, to rich organic vegetables, loving friends and open doors. Africa, I’ll dream in your colors, textures, and faces until we meet again.

To all of you, friends, may your deepest dreams turn to present journeys… and may they be rich full of experience; love, beauty, discomfort (yes, very important), and most of all… human connection.

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Comments

meg -November 19, 2013, 8:57AM

I dream of the day I get to GO to Africa. I almost went their for my honeymoon, but went to Thailand instead. One day….

http://happinessiscreating.com/

Gita -November 19, 2013, 9:44AM

I was in Zambia a few years ago and I’m still dreaming of its peacefulness and the most lovely people. I wish I could go back someday.

xx
http://gita-oddsandends.blogspot.com/

Liz -November 19, 2013, 10:07AM

Quite possibly my favorite photo diary ever. I can’t wait to travel the world more, and this post just reinforces how much I would like to adopt. :) Every single one of those children are precious!

http://lamentinglizzie.blogspot.com
http://smellthetoffee.com

Eva -November 19, 2013, 10:31AM

someday…this is on my bucket list! beautiful pictures…

Zoe -November 19, 2013, 10:39AM
Cheyenne -November 19, 2013, 11:07AM

I love this place, I’m a huge South Africa lover it’s one of my favorite counties of all time.
Great photos, seeing them just makes me want to go back there!
xx

http://www.bohemianjourneys.blogspot.com

Elissa -November 19, 2013, 11:12AM

Beautiful photographs… Your words paint a picture I would love see myself. Xx.

marissa -November 19, 2013, 11:25AM

@Zoe — Thank you for posting that (;

ema -November 19, 2013, 11:45AM

@zoe I dont see any starving tribal African photos here… From someone whos lived there, the portrayal is accurate.

Juliette Laura -November 19, 2013, 1:08PM

This is such a touching post.

xo, Juliette Laura
http://juliettelaura.blogspot.com

Aleksandra -November 19, 2013, 1:09PM

Great memoties, and you photos pictures those countires exactly the way I imagine them.

Alexa Sonken {Invitations for Creatives} -November 19, 2013, 2:39PM
Skye -November 19, 2013, 4:19PM

Absolutely beautiful photos, which tell such amazing stories. Free People, you have fans in Africa too.
Love from South Africa

lynn -November 19, 2013, 5:50PM

WOOOOOOWWW!! It’s so cool there!!!

Mira -November 19, 2013, 7:34PM

This is exactly how I feel about my experience in Kenya last summer. Such amazing people. Thank you for writing this.

Zoe -November 19, 2013, 7:50PM

@Ema – I appreciate your comment. I do think this post tries not to present Africa as a starving war-torn place, which is great. But, that’s only half the point the article makes. The other half of the article is about other exaggerated and generalized depictions of “Africa,” which have a greater bearing over this blog post. I agree that writing about a whole continent is difficult — that’s why you shouldn’t do it! No one would ever write “I Dream of North America,” because we all know that living in the southeast is as different from living in the northwest, as different as Alaska from Hawaii. In fact, Free People does a great job at exploring the diversity within different American cities, and also within different European cities where they do photo shoots, but then go and post an article about “Africa.” Talking about “Africa” as if it was all one homogenous place generalizes one of the largest, most populous, and most diverse continents in the whole world and glosses over the diverse experiences and landscapes within it. I also can tell you from experience that not all parts of Africa are beautiful rolling savannahs: where I live is a polluted urban city with a serious problem with waste management, meaning there’s trash over all of the streets (except the French quarter, of course).

So yes, I also live in “Africa,” more specifically Senegal, which is a small country in West Africa that is totally different from everywhere else around it, whether West Africa or East or North or Central or South Africa. With regard to language, food, religion, dress, politics, industry, economics, art, dance, etc, Senegal is a unique place and even places within Senegal can hardly be generalized (for example, I live in Dakar, which is a completely different lifestyle than if I lived in Ziguinchor or Tambacounda).

ema -November 19, 2013, 9:26PM

I believe everyone has a right to their very own experience during travels. Someone visiting a place as opposed to someone who lives there, both observation and experience will be different. How can you judge something so personal? Seems to me like this post came from a heartfelt place, only to encourage us to see the world for ourselves. I live in Africa, and while “East” and “West” is still vague, it isn’t just “Africa”. “America” is spoken of generally all the time, perhaps when you live here its easier to see all the distinct differences, but nonetheless, its is still put under one umbrella. I appreciate this post for revealing the happy beautiful people, not the war sufferage and starving children that can be found in the news everyday. Both exists but I choose to celebrate the good.

Anonymous -November 20, 2013, 8:29AM

beautiful.

Ashley -November 20, 2013, 9:15AM

Ahhhhh, what beautiful heart!! Lighting out into the world, following where your soul takes you, open wide to new experiences in a new place… well, that IS how things should be done, isn’t it!! Thank you thank you you beautiful soul for doing just so… In a world of ups and downs and far too much strife, at the core, where to start from, this is the attitude that will give new perspectives and leave a space open for new mindsets, motivations, and ideas to flow in, flow through, flow out…. a frame of mind to be in, to better frame and see and help the world after, is it not? Coming from a place of love and togetherness.. from that, spawning desire to help one another. Amy emanates this so beautifully. A passionate being is the most effective, the most beautiful I say! And then this here trip… gorgeous, sounds life changing, and the photos were stunning to boot! Artists eye. Love love love!

Qalisha -November 20, 2013, 9:39AM

It is my dream to go to Africa. It is such a beautiful place.. Maybe one day..

Anonymous -November 20, 2013, 10:55AM

I’m currently a college student and my dream is to open an orphanage internationally one day. I’ve always been drawn to the African region; I can’t wait to explore it as a potential location when I finish my schooling. Thanks for the beautiful pictures.

Leisa -November 20, 2013, 4:15PM

You drew me in at the first sentence. Africa gave me my son. My Sun! I can never repay my experiences in this beautiful, sorrowful, colorful, vibrant and inspiring place.

Sarah -November 20, 2013, 4:26PM

I too have always felt drawn to Africa and had the chance to travel in Ethiopia for a month a few years back. It was the most amazing experience of my life! Even though I have only been to one part, I am convinced that Africa is the most beautiful continent in the world. Both for it’s landscape, and it’s rich culture.

anja -November 23, 2013, 9:54AM

I think no words are needed

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