An African Bummel

Cape Town Travel Blog

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I suppose the last post would be the best way to end. But among the various things I've read recently, one stuck in my mind as a fitting closing paragraph. It's from a book by Jerome K Jerome called "Three Meen on a Bummel", not to be confused with the somewhat more famous predecessor "Three Men on a Boat". Three friends go on a cycling tripp in Germany, never once explaining to the reader what the "Bummel" is, until the end:

"A 'Bummel'," I explained, "I should describe as a journey, long or
short, without an end; the only thing regulating it being the necessity
of getting back within a given time to the point from which one started.
Sometimes it is through busy streets, and sometimes through the fields
and lanes; sometimes we can be spared for a few hours, and sometimes for
a few days.  But long or short, but here or there, our thoughts are ever
on the running of the sand.  We nod and smile to many as we pass; with
some we stop and talk awhile; and with a few we walk a little way.  We
have been much interested, and often a little tired.  But on the whole we
have had a pleasant time, and are sorry when 'tis over."
So, there you have it. From Cape Town to Cape Town in three months. This has been my African Bummel. And, on the whole I have had a pleasant time and I am sorry 'tis over.
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I'm almost done. I leave Africa tomorrow. So wanted to finish with some closing words.

Africa is astounding. Actually, many places are astounding. The world is, in general, an astounding place. But for me, so far, it's Afria above all else that fits. It's not that the place is beautiful (though, of oure, it is). It's not the diversity. And it's not the people. Its not even the fun. It's just this is where I want to be.

It's funny, I've dreamed of this trip for a long time. And it's execution was in many ways a disappointment - there was so much more that I wanted to see. So much more I wanted experience. (And so much less money that I wanted to spend!) Anyway, the thing about dreams is that they lead to unreasonable expectations. Which lead to dissatisfaction. But somehow, for all the failures of planning, Africa was an experience that has me craving for more. Moreover, it fills me with a sense of belonging. When I moved to San Francisco (well, actually before I moved, rather when I first set foot in the city) I felt the same way. I fitted in. It was my town. My home. And as with Africa, SF was a dream held for many years, a dream laden with unreasonable expectations. And a reality that exceeded them.

You always want to come back to places when you travel. There's always more to see. More to do. But, in reality, after a little time and distance, that fades. You discover new playgrounds. New possibilities for excitement. With Africa, though, the desire to omee back is something more. It won't fade. I think of he rest of the world, and top of my list of places to visit is Africa. Now, maybe I'm wrong. Maybe after the flush of excitment fades I'll decide that Mongolia should move up the list of exotic locations. But I don't think so. I think Africa is mine now. Or rather more accurately, I am Africa's.
raisongal says:
You're still such a bleeding heart romantic...
Posted on: Aug 05, 2008
pxk161 says:
See you at the wedding in a few weeks. btw, I'm living in Potrero Hill for my last year of grad school. I'll be defending mid-October.
Posted on: Aug 04, 2008
mattschumpert says:
Congrats, and well said. Give me a buzz from jolly old London:

+49 1743443799
Posted on: Aug 03, 2008
Cape Town
photo by: v10