Tag Archives: Backpacking

Gregory gets Hitched in Turkey

Jordan Deall from Hitched, Gregory Baltoro 75 Litre Hiking backpack

Traveling can be rather unusual at times. Constantly on the move, it often just feels like an bizarre blending of different cultures and peoples. Experiences begin to merge into a strange passing of place and time. Things from a month ago suddenly feel like faded memories, but then there’s also small things like a handshake or nap in the shade of a particular tree that stick like vivid pictures in the mind.

You’re neither here nor there, and the longer you travel the more that becomes reality. Home becomes distant, and foreigness becomes normal.

That’s why I think it’s difficult to say that I’ve had a favourite place I’ve travelled through. Perhaps though, in it’s passing, it is the place you remember most. And if that is the case, then Turkey would probably be it. It’s the kind of place your mind imagines living in.

The many picnics on patches of grass with children playing loudly, their father’s making huge meat dishes over smoking fires, their mothers pouring endless chai. Soccer games enthusiastically cheered by passersby. Tight alleys lined with old men engaged in games of dominos. Coffee conversations in broken English. Bustling markets at two in the morning. Couples eating ice-creams, dipped in chocolate and sprinkled with nuts. Strangers sharing watermelon, more red than pink, with hardly any seeds. Friendly smiles on trains and buses. The kind park robber who returned our passport…

These are things I will remember.

Gregory Gets Hitched in the Sudan

Luke MacDonald from Hitched, Gregory Zulu 65L Backpack through Sudan

After the whirlwind of Ethiopia where we were seperated and struggled to find each other due to an internet blackout during an attempted coup, Sudan is, according to media reports, supposed to be even worse.

Khartoum is in the middle of a civil uprising, and things have become so bad that it’s being dubbed ‘a massacre’ around the world. Because of limited visas options we have no choice but to pass through, and so we desperately sell some camera gear before we enter, so as not to look like a bunch of undercover journalists.

Yet when we enter Sudan we’re totally surprised, and we’re taught a lesson in the true goodness of humanity. Despite the unrest people are the most hospitable we’ve ever encountered. We’re reminded how different people are from their politics, and how people can unite in times of difficulty. It truly is profound, and we leave Khartoum both challenged and humbled.

In terms of travel, the conflict is quite isolated to specific areas and the rest of our passage is a relatively easy procedure. There are many military check points, but we aren’t hassled too much. Just an endless amount of searches and document clarifications.

But the desert is gruelling and by the time we reach Egypt we’re physically broken. The last stretch of Sudan is a blurr of heat, sand and thirst, with our only respite the occasional crossing of the winding river nile.

Arriving in Egypt, we’re close to finishing the length of Africa and I’m reminded of the oddity of our first lift in Namibia – an Egyptian man selling carpets. Now four months later we’re in his country, walking through the same markets he gets his supply from. Life is a strangely woven tapestry.

So far it’s been simultaneously slow, and yet time has also flown by. Most of all it’s just a strange feeling to have finished a Cape to Cairo, yet know you’re only at the half way point of a trip.

Gregory Gets Hitched in Namibia

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Although we left home a month ago, having already hitchhiked from Durban to Cape Town, stepping into Namibia feels like the start of the trip. Mostly because it’s a new country, and we’re suddenly no longer ‘at home’, but also because our original plan to get to the Americas had failed miserably.

We’d wanted to catch a boat from the Cape across to Brazil, and then go up through South and Central America and on into North America, but for various reasons we had no luck with that.

Instead, like all good journeys, we’re now on a completely unplanned route. Our new route is to travel up the length of Africa and then cross the Mediterranean into Turkey. From there we’ll either go West into Europe or East into Asia in order to get to America.

We’re not walking fit yet, so everything feels heavy and cumbersome. We literally have our lives on our backs. It’s not much, but it’s what we’ll live off for the next few months. It’s crazy to think it all fits in a single backpack!

The desert temperatures are insane, it’s got that typical heat shimmer, and the sporadic black rocks make it feel like Mars. The Namib desert is said to be the oldest desert on the world, and as far as the eye can see is sand. It feels formidable, but we’re pretty confident we’re gonna score a lot of sympathy points and getting lifts will be easy.

So we walk, and walk. Nothing. About 2 hours and 10km’s later we’re in the middle of nowhere, there’s nothing visible ahead, we’re already feeling low on water, and now we’re searching for shade. It’s a good reality check, and although we’re well travelled a good reminder of how things can go in Africa if you’re not careful.

Nonetheless, we remind ourselves that all long trips start with baby steps. Namibia is the second least densely populated country in the world – maybe lifts won’t be as easy as we initially thought. We’ll have to turn back and stock up better for tomorrow.

Solid start. Typically us. Under the stars that night we can hardly sleep with the excitement for the road ahead.

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