Most people that follow me on social media will know of this epic adventure already, as I fear it’s all I have talked about for the past two months. However, it came to my attention this week that many of my friends and family members that may not be as addicted to Instagram or Snapchat as I am, had no clue what I was up to or where I was going. So, dear readers, friends and family members, in case you did not already know, on Monday August 22nd (thats….TOMORROW!!) I embark on a 9 month overland trip from Cork to Cape Town. The catch? I am not allowing myself to take any flights!
How did the idea come about?
Lot’s of people keep asking how this idea came about. in truth, it’s something i wanted to do for a long time and is the culmination of a lot of crazy ideas as well as a
not so nicely worded email from a friend suggesting I stopped flying everywhere!
Essentially, I’ve been a little obsessed with Africa ever since I lived in a remote township in South Africa when I was just 18 years old. I had just graduated from school and jetted off to South Africa to teach Business and Economics for a year. This incredible, and testing, 12 months honesty shaped me as a person cementing my love for travel and starting a decade-long love affair with the African continent.
Don’t be fooled into thinking I’m ‘incredibly brave’ (as some people keep putting it) to be travelling through such a long list of unusual destinations. The truth is, I’ve been to most of the countries on this list before when I was a lot younger and a lot more naive! During University, I spent every summer either travelling or volunteering in East Africa, exploring remote parts of Uganda, Ethiopia and Kenya. I also returned to Kenya for a month to study WASH projects in the remote North as part of my Masters Thesis project. East Africa honestly feels like my home stomping ground and I sometimes feel more at home in Africa than I do in Ireland.
This was before digital cameras, social media and LONG BEFORE I had a travel blog. This means this will be my first opportunity to properly document my African adventures – something I’m very excited about.
At first, I simply thought about booking a one way flight to Cape Town and just winging it. It’s one of the most beautiful cities in the world and I could happily live there for a few months hopping from one awesome hostel to the next. That seemed like too easy an option, however, and wouldn’t be the most interesting read! If I wanted to go to Cape Town, I should at least attempt to follow in the footsteps of Charlie Boorman and Ewan McGregor and take the long way down!
Finally, as a travel blogger it can be very hard to differentiate yourself from the crowd. As a blogger that focuses on solo female travel and tips for those planning long backpacking trips on a budget, I believed I needed to do something really epic to keep my already awesome readership more engaged. I wanted to do a trip than no one else I know has done – one that will set me apart from the crowd. Whether this trip will be enough or now…only time will tell. If you’re read this far at least, do me a favour and leave a comment!! ;-)
What’s the route / itinerary?
Not surprisingly, the second most asked question this summer has concerned what route I plan to take. How exactly does one get from Cork to Cape Town without flying?! Every Generic John, Ais and Niamh From Across The Road seem to have had their own opinions on what route would be best, why I should not bother going to X and Y and some pretty outlandish suggestions about how I should do the trickiest part of the adventure – getting from Turkey to Egypt. I myself have settled for the Cargo Ship option…whether that is a success or not..we’ll see!
While I do have a rough itinerary, it has already changed quite a lot in the past few weeks and I have no doubt it will change again. It feels incredibly liberating to have no time limit for the trip, a factor that means I can choose to stay in certain countries for months at a time if it feels right.
Below is my rough 6 – 9 month itinerary for Cork to Cape Town.
Following a 16 hour ferry ride from Ireland, it will take me across these 14 European countries: France, Switzerland, Italy, Slovenia, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia, Bosnia, Macedonia, Albania, Greece and Turkey.
Then following a two day cargo ship journey to Port Said, it will take me through the following 14 African countries: Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa.
What are you MOST excited about?
I don’t want to give away too much, but I will be partnering with some amazing hotels, activity providers and tourism boards long the way. Right now I am most excited about a 6-day Grand Train Tour of Switzerland that we’re taking at the end of August. We’ll be touring one of the world’s most beautiful countries in Panoramic Trains with big glass windows and stunning views. We have partnered with some funky hotels and hostels around Switzerland too, which I can’t wait to share with you.
What do you pack for such along, crazy trip?
Good question, want to come help me pack?! I’m not going to lie guys….i’m struggling!! I am a big fan of packing light but when you work as a travel blogger you need to travel with an insane amount of photography equipment! My “gadgets” are currently taking up over half my backpack leaving just a teeny bit of room for slightly less important things like: clothes, shoes, towels, toiletries etc.
Here’s the (slightly ridiculous) amount of equipment I’m bringing with me in my backpack:
- GoPro Camera (plus accessories).
- DJI Phantom Drone and controller.
- Canon DSLR.
- 3 extra Canon Lenses.
- Macbook Air.
- My old Samsung (just in case!)
- Skyroam Hotspot device (to stay connected).
- A million chargers and adapters.
Previous African adventures
Here’s a quick glimpse at some of the crazy adventures I had while travelling in Africa about 10 years ago – funny stories that I (for the most part) never shared on this blog!
- Celebrated the Millennium TWICE due to the 7.5 year time difference in Ethiopia
- Bought a flight to Addis Ababa to meet a guy…booked flight 72 hours before leaving.
- Got stranded on a remote island in Uganda with nothing to eat but Pineapples.
- Attempted to hitchhike to South Sudan with Russian truckers.
- Waded through a crocodile infested river.
- Hitched a life home on top of a truck load of fish.
- Lived with Irish nuns in a missionary compound in Kenya.
- Taught Business and Economics in South Africa and 12 months.
- Taught English in very remote Kenyan village in Turkana.
- Wrote my Masters Thesis on Comprehensive Security problems in Kenya.
- Got both Malaria and Dengue Fever (5 years apart in different countries).
- Suffered terrible side effects from taking too much Anti-malarials.
- Hitchhiked to Mozambique at the age of 18.
- Saw a Lion Kill in Kruger National Park.
- Found a man murdered outside my hostel in Maputo.
I’m thinking I will update this list as I go, so leave your questions below and I can edit this post and answer them for one and all to read. For now all I ask is that you…. WISH ME LUCK!