It was in 1990 that I was first introduced to road tripping. I was 6 years old when my father decided to stop being a pastor in Zambia and move to neighbouring country Zimbabwe for further theological studies. Naturally he didn’t want to leave us in Zambia for the 3 years he was studying so my mom packed our bags and with her husband and 4 children aged 6,4,2 and 6 months got on a bus and left everyone and everything she knew to go live in a strange land… have I mentioned I have an incredible mom? 🙂
Now, before your imaginations gets ahead of you, I want to remind you that this was 1990 and luxury buses did not exist in my world at that time. This was our form of transport.
In the three years we were in Zimbabwe we probably took these bus trips four times a year.
For us kids, moving to a new country, making new friends and learning a new language was all part of “normal life.” So was: sleeping at open air bus stations; surviving countless hours on bus seats that had hardly any padding; spending hours at the Zimbabwe border as the immigration officers opened every ones suitcases(more than 60 passengers each carrying no less than 2 large suitcases each) and meticulously checking for God knows what. Watching with giddy excitement and laughter as mischievous baboons and monkeys(at one of our stops) would sneak behind unaware passengers and grab whatever they were eating or rummage through their hand bags. Happily spotting out crocodiles and hippos as we cross the Great Zambezi river (notoriously known for it’s over population of crocodiles) not at all bothered by the fact that the ferry we were traveling on had seen better days! I realize now, we never made a fuss because my parents never made a big deal out of anything, what others called “adventure” we knew as “normal life.” For us, mom and dad were happy there was absolutely no need to worry.
Over the years our road tripping has come up with memorable stories, in fact some so wild that my grandma because of worry, refuses to eat or sleep till she knows we are safely in Zambia. We have had all types of problems from our car rolling 3 times down a mountain and all of us coming out unscathed to having a back tyre snap off as my dad drives at 120km/h then seconds later the back part of the car catching fire because of the friction with the road. Once we were stranded in the bush in Zimbabwe sitting by the roadside waiting for help only to be told by a nervous passing motorist that we had to get back in the car immediately because just a week ago lions had eaten people up at the very spot we were sitting 🙂
It’s not like we go looking for trouble, it’s just we as a family seem to find ourselves in the strangest predicaments. It’s amazing how laughing in such times makes the situation so much more bearable!
So here is a peek to our trip thus far. As kids, our motto has always been, “be prepared for anything!”
That means: being willing to eat anything with a thankful heart, my mother HATES hot dogs or any type of meat that comes out of a can or bottle BUT on trips, she makes an exception.
being prepared to sleep in the strangest motels or hotels like this one which had a horrible sewer smell and whose sheets had seen better days, we girls now travel with our own travel blankets.
If you have a weak bladder like mine, be prepared to have the African bush as your toilet…so not fun as I am always paranoid of having a snake biting my behind regions… Oh the joys of being a girl and squatting!
Please don’t get too used to the paved roads because the bad roads WILL come! Sometimes what would have taken 10 mins would stretch for an hour because of the potholes!
Don’t forget to pack your own fuel because you will definitely run out!
and above all, “it’s not a road trip till the car breaks down!” Please don’t even bother asking me what happened this time, I am hopeless at remembering car terminology. I do know it had to do with the exhaust and the part had to be hand-made because the random mechanic we found didn’t have it. That’s another fun part about traveling here, you meet the most industrious mechanics who almost always have to make whatever spare part is needed.
And then ladies and gentlemen, there is the scenery!
I have taken LOTS of pictures and will be sure to post as time goes by. Just so you know, we are still in Zambia.