Africa

Travel Resources

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Everything I needed to know before traveling! This list is specific for citizens of the United States in relation to other countries.

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What NOT To Buy Online

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Any article of clothing that you have not put on yourself in person. This includes:

  • Shoes (VERY Important)
  • Socks (With Shoes)
  • Pants
  • Underwear
  • Shirts
  • Jackets
  • Gloves

DO NOT buy these items online, it will save you a lot of money. For example, I had bought some shoes for 109.00 but when I put on my hiking socks, I realized they were far to small. For those of you who are familiar with hiking, small shoes can result in loss of toenails, blisters and more (For a great guide to buying the right size shoe, click Here).

I strongly suggest, in order to keep from wastefully spending like I did, to go to a store like REI and try on your stuff before you actually buy it.

 

Change of Plan

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As you can see, I’ve updated the Bucket pages to include the cheapest prices and stay times for each individual country. Europe is great, and South America isn’t so bad either, but if you take a look at the prices for African Visas, your reaction may be similar to mine!

Shock and uncertainty. If I go according to my current route, I will spend over 1800 USD in Visa fees ALONE. That’s a ton of money! I asked my German friend, Ursula, what she thought about that and she said (In a delightful German accent),

Oh, no no no no, this is too much to pay for traveling visas. Maybe if you have a lot of money, but asking so much for a visa is crazy.

So, depending on how Europe goes, I may fly over the first 5 or 6 African countries. We’ll see how it goes!!

Check the updates page to see website changes =]

Backpacking Checklist 2.0

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When traveling, short-term or long-term, it is important to have a list of everything you need before you leave. This reduces your anxiety, stress, and money. If you buy things you need in advance, you can find cheaper options. I made this mistake with my Filter, Pants, and Shirts. I’ve since corrected my them.

In total, the bag on my back will weigh around 12 pounds, not including food or water. All items on my person add up to about 8 pounds. All in all, if I assume my food weighs 5 pounds, my entire weight will come to around 25 pounds.

This here is my Checklist of all the things I think I will need when I am traversing the globe. If you have any suggestions, go ahead and leave me a comment.

 

 

Pack: Osprey Talon 44 (Blk) Packing 149.95 2 lb 1
Tent: Big Agnes Fly Creek UL2 Packing 303.95 2 lb, 4 oz 1
Therma Rest Neoair Sleep Pad, (Lg) Packing 179.95 1 lb 1
Sleeping Bag Packing Free 3 lb, 9 oz 1
550 Paracord 50 feet On Body 4.39 5 oz 1
Clothing Stuff Sack Packing Free 1
Compression Stuff Sack (Med.) Packing Free 1
Rain Pack Cover (Grn) Packing 21.99 4 oz 1
TOTAL: PACKING $660.23 9 lb, 9 oz 1
_ _ _ _ 1
Merrel Hiking Shoes (Tan) On Body 109.89 2 lb, 6 oz 1
Merino Wool Cushion Socks (Gray, 1) Clothes 15.95 2 oz 1
Summer Hiking Socks, Merino (Blu, 1) On Body 18.89 2 oz 1
Kuhl Synthetic Polyester Pants (Gray) On Body 56.99 12 oz 1
Synthetic T-Shirt (Grn) On Body 21.53 5 oz 1
Longsleeve Synthetic Shirt (Blk) Clothes 3.95 1 lb 1
Winter Scarf (Red) Clothes Free 7 oz 1
Ghost Whisperer Jacket (Blk) Clothes 142.83 7 oz 1
Padagonia Rain Coat (Blu) On Body 1.05 8 oz 1
Patagonia Rain Pants (Blu) Clothes Free 8 oz 1
Head Lamp Black Diamond (Grn) On Body 23.95 1
AAA Batteries (4) Misc. Free 1
Sun Glasses Clothes Free 1
ExOfficio Boxer Briefs (2) On Body 42.05 4 oz 1
TOTAL: CLOTHES $436.81 7 lb, 1 oz 1
_ _ _ _ 1
Mini-Stove; Wood Fueled (and sack) Cooking Free 10 oz 1
600ml Titanium Pot (and sack) Cooking 28.5 4 oz 1
Cleaning Sponges Cooking Free 0 oz 1
Titanium Spoon, Chopsticks (and sack) Cooking Free 0 oz 1
Bic Lighter Cooking Free 0 oz 1
Small Matches Cooking Free 0 oz 1
Homemade Pot Cozy Cooking 2.05 0 oz 1
Sawyer Mini Water Filter Cooking 24.95 2 oz 1
50 oz. Water Bottles (2) Cooking Free 0 oz 1
Fishing System Cooking Free 1
TOTAL: COOKING $55.50 1 lb, 5 oz 1
_ _ _ _ 1
Toothbrush Hygiene 4.26 2 oz 1
Toothpaste Hygiene Free 1 oz 1
Toilet Paper Hygiene Free 4 oz 1
TOTAL: HYGIENE $4.26 7 oz 1
_ _ _ _ 1
Nokia Lumia 1020 Misc. 120 9 0z 1
Sony Cyber Shot DW800 20 MP Camera On Body 82.63 4 oz 1
Passport, 28 Pages On Body Free 2 oz 1
Solar Powered Charger, Plugs, and Cords Misc. 23.95 9 oz 1
Gerber Knife On Body Free 1
Compass: Flat, Multi Purpose Misc. Free 0 oz 1
Mountain Climbers Clips On Body Free 1
Sewing Kit, Zip Ties Misc. Free 0 oz 1
Harmonica Misc. 1 1
Pencil Misc. Free 1 oz 1
Pencil Sharpener Misc. Free 0 oz 1
Moleskin Journal 193 Pages Misc. 12.95 5 oz 1
TOTAL: MISC. $163.48 1 lb, 6 oz 1
_ _ _ _ 1
Band Aids First Aid Free 0 oz 1
Pain Relief (10 Tablets) First Aid Free 0 oz 1
Diarrhea Medicine (12 Tablets) First Aid 9.99 0 oz 1
Bandages First Aid 10.95 1 oz 1
TOTAL: FIRST AID $20.94 1 oz 1
_ _ _ _ 1
Estimated Worn Weight On Body _ 5 lb, 4 oz 1
Estimated Bag Weight Packing _ 15 lb, 8 oz 1
Estimated Consumable Weight Food _ 6 lb 1
Estimated Total All Categories $1,341.22 26 lb, 12 oz 1

 

Ghana: From a Local

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Well, looking into Africa is slightly intimidating. Watching news reports from the media, it’s all crazed gunfire, rapes, murders, and theft. I never hear anything good about them- until I speak with locals.

I hitched a ride from an army officer today on my way to work, and we got talking. Turns out, he was born and raised in Ghana, an African country on the west coast, one that is on my route. Coincidentally, his name was Samuel. I asked about advice and he says,

My people in Ghana are so very kind. They will try to help you as much as they can. Of course, there are bad people too, but mostly from northern Nigeria who are using Ghana to transport drugs and different things. But the people of Ghana are good people. You don’t have to worry about that place.

This eased several of my fears, for which I am grateful. He mentioned some cultural differences such as bargaining and accepting help as a white man:

Never pay the price that they first ask of you. You must always bargain. For example, if they say, “This is 10 dollars,” you must ask to pay two instead. Many white people who come pay the full price because all the people of Ghana think that they are rich. All white people are rich, this is what they think. And if someone offers to help you, since you are white, they will expect some sort of compensation. But they will not be upset, or rage, if you do not pay them. So, if what we are doing now, taking you someplace, in Ghana the person driving will expect you to give him a gift. But it is okay if you do not, they won’t get angry.

Thank you Samuel, for explaining some of Ghana’s cultural aspects and for easing some of my fears. Speaking with him made me feel a little more confident in making my way to South Africa.