My heart is racing as the first of three planes that I’ll be travelling on over the next 24-hours careers down the runway to take off. My hopes for this trip are hurtling through my head at breakneck speed and I’m grinning like an ecstatic simpleton. I’ve been excited for months but it’s been a tough couple of days. I left my job, packed up and cleaned my rented flat and I’ve started to feel a bit anxious about the whole thing. My friends and family’s dire warnings (robbery/rape/murder) have been playing on repeat in my head. “You’re going on your own?! Are you not scared? Have you thought about taking a taser?” I really hope I don’t spend the next seven weeks hiding from people. I have a vision of me huddling in a hostel room, miserably hanging on to my rucksack for fear of getting mugged and too nervous to go out and explore! Obviously, I hope it doesn’t work out like that! I want to be brave, positive and adventurous.
My transfer at Dublin was a test of my positivity… which I instantly failed! The Edinburgh flight was a little late so cue me running through Dublin airport security and two (two!) terminals like a maniac, elbowing people out of the way, tears brimming, with a trail of hasty apologies/curses in my wake. Made it to the Etihad flight with about 18 seconds to spare – apologies to the settled, unsuspecting lady that I threw myself down beside. My sweaty, teary, shaky self was unlikely to be her first choice of neighbours.
Several several hours later, and on another plane, I wake up drooling on my pillow with the sun melting my face through my neighbour’s open blind. Apparently, we’re only an hour away from Nairobi – that’s Kenya we’re flying over!! Little puffy white clouds cast high shadows over a red and orange land. And it’s vast!! There’s only a couple of obvious roads, their lighter yellow snaking through the dust but very little else. Miles upon miles of scorched red land, only interrupted by the shadows of little cotton wool clouds. I can’t stop smiling! THIS IS AFRICA!!