Just the thought of not knowing where you will sleep tonight or any other night, may at first sound frightening. For sure sometimes it is. For us it´s one of the best thing about traveling they way we do. I would say that in general it always turns out better than we could ever expect. When looking back on all the fantastic places we´ve pitched our tent in and all the amazing people who invited us, I know for sure that our imagination is not broad enough to plan this journey better. We could have spent a lifetime trying to plan a perfect route and do our best to plan for accommodation without getting close to the past years experiences. To just go and see where we will end up, with an open mind and heart is the way to do it. The world is full of beautiful places and lovely generous people. The stories we carry with us is very far from those the global media offers. While the media tend to focus on the bad news and try to compete with each other to find the most horrible stories from Africa, we are slowly cruising in the african bush and are embracing the beauty of it all.
We would have to put some real energy into finding a place where we don´t feel welcome in this part of the world. So we keep doing what we do best, just go with the flow and enjoy life as much as possible. It seems like there is always a door open and behind every oped door there is a huge energy boost waiting. Like the last few days when we have cycled from the Banjul area in Gambia to the Guinea Bissau border. We feel like the smiling coast really have reached out to us in ways hard to imagine. To truly understand the full meaning of the word HOSPITALITY, you need to set out on an adventure like this and meet people like the ones we’ve met the past days. Like when it started to rain a few days ago and we found shelter under a huge mango tree, the other seeking shelter under the same tree invited us to their house when the rain intensified. We ended us spending the night and was served meals to die for before going to bed.
To get a bit emotional and at the same time give meaning to the word hospitality I will also tell you the story of one of our shortest days in the saddle. We planned to cycle about 70km that day and after 30km we stopped to buy some water. The small shop didn’t have any water but we decided to get some rest under a tree close to it. Under the tree we found some friendly men who offered us attaya (local strong tea). We started a conversation and soon realized we were not to keen on leaving this place for a while. We were greeted by the other family members and the tea just kept coming. To describe the atmosphere I would use words like friendly, welcoming, warm and easy going. They asked us to stay and have lunch with them. We would be stupid not to accept an invitation like that and with no hesitation we decided to stay the night. I offered to shop ingredients for lunch. An offer that was calmly and quickly rejected. Lamin, the oldest son reached for my hand and held it for a while and looked me straight in the eyes in the most kind and friendly way possible, before he said the beautiful words “you are welcome”. I have heard the worlds many times before but this time it was like I heard them for the first time. Later on he told me that his father, who past away not to long ago, a respected man who have traveled a lot used to tell his family to always welcome and help strangers, that he taught them that because they too will be strangers sometimes in their life. A very important thing to teach your kids if you ask me.
The day after we was sad to leave, but our visa expired that day. Like so many times before we set out on the road with new energy and more great memories.