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Nervous about travel in Africa? Here’s why you shouldn’t be

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Thanks to “gilesmeetsworld” for sharing…

When most people think about travel, Africa doesn’t usually come up as an option, and admittedly originally it wasn’t top of my list either… I think this is because not only are people unaware of all you can experience there, but sometimes the continent can seem an intimidating place to travel. I recently wrote a guest post on WanderingOutsideTheBox (linked here), about why Africa should be your next travel destination, and it made me realise that I should be writing more on my experiences in Africa so that I can show others how incredible it is to travel there.

I want to convey what the reality of travel in Africa is like, and try and go through common fears or things that might put people off. So in this post I’ll be doing exactly that, I’ll be listing common fears about travel in Africa, and then explaining based on my experience what the reality actually is.

A little side note here, I realise throughout this post I use the term ‘Africa’ a lot, which is of course a massive generalisation of a huge and diverse continent with over 50 countries, but when I use it I’m referring to sub-Saharan Africa.

Mosquitoes and Malaria

This is probably what most people worry about. Yes there is malaria and it’s a massive problem. However as a western person with a western immune system who will (and definitely should) likely have anti-malarial medication, the chances of you catching it are very minimal. When I travelled through different countries in sub-Saharan Africa, mosquitoes were actually not as bad a problem as I thought they would be. When you’re staying in a tent that you can seal off completely from anything outside, it means you can be pretty effective in keeping them out.

I was expecting the biggest and baddest mosquitoes I had ever seen, but they never showed up. Just use some mosquito spray (of which you’ll be able to get great brands out in Africa that are much cheaper), take your anti-malarial meds and you should be absolutely fine. My best advice when it comes to travelling anywhere where there might be diseases etc you could catch, is speak to your doctor, get your jabs, and make sure you have health insurance.

Safety

Often people will be worried about visiting Africa because of political troubles in some nations or safety, and if you don’t know what you’re doing or the areas you’re going, then I would strongly advise travelling there first with a guide or in a group. However when you do go with experienced guides who are constantly on the ball with where you’re going and know exactly the areas you’re travelling through, you don’t feel unsafe or in danger at all.

In fact it’s like most places in the world, in that it’s a tiny population of people who are giving places a bad reputation. Most locals were so friendly and passionate about their country and wildlife, and it was an absolute pleasure getting to meet so many great and inspiring local people. Not to mention it’s often in the places where tourism isn’t massive yet, that tourists are treated extremely well because of the financial benefits they bring to the country.

Bathroom & Campsite facilities

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I was expecting a camping trip in Africa to have non-existent bathroom facilities, and yes sometimes we were in national parks so it was just a hole in the ground. But this was extremely rare, and completely a choice by us to want to experience camping in the wild. I actually experienced much worse bathrooms travelling through SE Asia than in Africa. Most of the time we had very decent showers and toilets at our campsites that were perfectly adequate.

Admittedly when you’re doing a lot of travel through remote areas, there aren’t going to be toilets everywhere, so we did stop by the road a fair few times for toilet stops behind some sort of vegetation, but just bring a toilet roll (that you throw in a bin you take with you) and hand sanitizer and it’s completely fine. A little bottle of anti-bac hand sanitiser is generally just a great thing to carry with you travelling anywhere. Not to mention if you’re travelling in Africa and not camping, it’s just like anywhere else with excellent quality accommodation and hotels, if that’s what you prefer.

Western food

If you’re worried about being able to find those delicious snacks when you travel, don’t. We stopped many times at many places and there are usually supermarkets or shops selling the standards snacks crisps chocolate nuts etc etc. We had to stop to get water often so to enough supermarkets to know, it’s not just local stalls selling local foods, there are plenty of western foods too. Also camping, we made all of our own food anyway, and this was often very similar to what you’d eat back home if not with a bit more meat cooked on the brai (South-African bbq) than normal. It’s really not the case at all that you won’t be able to find western food.

Shops

So this sounds like a strange one, but I learnt the hard way… When I was in New Zealand just before I flew to Cape Town, I stocked up on loads of meds and various things for my Africa trip as I was determined not to get ill, and my thoughts were going to be that I was travelling in remote and less developed areas so wouldn’t be able to pick the things up I needed. I get to South Africa and on the first day we stop in a massive shopping centre just outside of Cape Town which sells all the exact same stuff for a quarter of the price… You will stop in places where you can get clothes, food, meds etc, so don’t be like me, wait until you get there to get the basics. We even had a couple of people in our group who didn’t bring sleeping bags and they managed to find them very easily.

Wifi

Don’t panic folks, there will be internet. Admittedly depending on where you are it may be limited, but you’ll be very surprised how frequent and in how many campsites there will be wifi and internet connections. It’s sometimes nice to have a break from the internet for a while, but if you’re concerned you’ll be weeks without being able to contact home etc, there’s no need. The internet often will be limited or not that strong, but it’s even the case that some companies who run these overland group tours have wifi on the buses themselves!

I’m going to get eaten by a lion!

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Ok, so obviously this sub heading is an exaggeration, but you see my point. Camping in national parks with no fences between you and lions… are you serious?! Yes, I am actually. So firstly and most importantly, the wildlife in Africa is to be taken seriously. You’ll need to watch out for scorpions and snakes etc in the desert, and also bigger game and wildlife camping in national parks. However, if you’re sensible and listen to advice (of which there will be plenty), you will be fine. Wildlife often won’t want to have anything to do with people and will keep away from them. So as long as you are sensible and listen to advice, you will be absolutely fine.

I’ve even camped where elephants and hippos stroll next to people’s tents, but they view them as obstacles rather than anything of interest. People will be there to make sure you are camping in a safe environment, and will be on hand for emergencies, so you shouldn’t let any of these fears put you off.

So I hope I’ve gone through a few concerns people have about travelling in Africa and explained why they shouldn’t put you off. Like anywhere, as long as you’re sensible and listen to locals advice you’ll be completely fine. Anything I’ve forgotten to mention or any fears that are putting you off travel in Africa, pop them in the comments below.

When most people think about travel, Africa doesn’t usually come up as an option, and admittedly originally it wasn’t top of my list either… I think this is because not only are people unaware of all you can experience there, but sometimes the continent can seem an intimidating place to travel. I recently wrote a […]

via Nervous about travel in Africa? Here’s why you shouldn’t be… — gilesmeetsworld

Daily Stoic

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Daily Stoic

Thanks to Daily Stoic for sharing…

In America [and Europe], it’s Halloween, which is a fun holiday for children. In Mexico, however, it is the beginning of Día de los Muertos, a much more adult and philosophical holiday. All throughout Mexico, people will gather not to eat candy but to celebrate and remember their friends and family who have died. It is, in a sense, a three day commemoration of the idea of memento moria kind of collective bereavement mixed with the fun of a jazz funeral.

The great Montaigne would tell of a story that had trickled back to him from the New World, of an ancient drinking game where the members took turns holding up a painting of a corpse inside a coffin and cheered “Drink and be merry for when you’re dead you will look like this.” This cheeky but also profound observation captures the spirit of Día de los Muertos quite well with imagery of skulls and skeletons, the makeup and the music and the dancing, the praying and the altars set up to honor those who have left.

It might seem strange to celebrate death in this way, and stranger still to involve children in it. But is it really that stranger than banishing any thought of death from our lives and letting it return to us only as a dreaded nightmare? There is real value in taking time to process and grieve and dance with the morbidity of our mortality, of creating a ritual that allows us to come to terms with this essential part of our existence. Better to be on good terms with death and to schedule an annual check up than to be surprised and shocked by this enemy we pretend doesn’t exist.

So drink and be merry today and celebrate the day of the dead. Say goodbye to the people you have lost and enjoy the people you are lucky enough to still have with you. That’s all we can do.

***

P.S. For more ways to keep Stoic principles in mind as you navigate your day, check out our Daily Stoic Store. It features our popular amor fati and memento mori medallions, Marcus Aurelius print, and more. Also, The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living is available everywhere books are sold.

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Daily Stoic

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Daily Stoic

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Daily Stoic

We asked Mike Duncan, whose podcasts History of Rome and Revolutions have done more than 100 million downloads and whose new book The Storm Before The Storm, was just released, why Stoicism seems to re-emerge when the world is in crisis.

His answer:

Anytime the world starts to feel like it’s being engulfed by entropy, chaos and noisy disunity, the mind naturally seeks out something that offers cohesion, order, and quiet unity. We can get carried away by events and certainly feel our passions leading us into behavior that we might upon reflection regret. Stoicism offers a solid place to plant your feet and say the winds may howl but I will not be swept away.

That’s a fantastic definition of the attitude the Stoic seeks to cultivate. The winds may howl but I will not be swept away.

(P.S. For more ways to keep Stoic principles in mind as you navigate your day, check out our Daily Stoic Store. jurisdictions features our popular amor fati and memento mori medallions, Marcus Aurelius print, and more. Also, The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living is available everywhere books are sold.

Like this email? Forward it to a friend. And if it was forwarded to you, sign up for our free 7-day course on Stoicism, packed with exclusive resources.

You can read the full interview here).

 

 

Daily Stoic

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Thanks to Daily Stoic for sharing 

There is a wonderful interview with David Letterman from earlier this year, where he talks about some of the transgressive policies aimed at transgendered people in America. He said,

Look, you’re a human, I’m a human. We’re breathing the same air. We have the same problems. We’re trying to get through our day. Who the fuck are you to throw a log in the road of somebody who has a different set of difficulties in life?

Which is a very Stoic way to look at just about every contentious issue in today’s culture regardless of whatever political, religious or scientific mindset you adhere to. Far left or far right, creationist or scientist, it doesn’t matter what your opinion of transgendered people, or immigrants, an opioid-addicted kid in Ohio happens to be or why you think they got where they are. The Stoic approach would be to say: We’re all humans. We all struggle and those people are almost certainly struggling harder than me. Why would we spend our time legislating or pontificating about their issues when we have our own, right here, that we haven’t dealt with? Why would I actively try to make their lives harder?

The Stoics held strongly to the idea of sympatheia, the interconnection between all species, people and universes. They believe we were all the same, all struggling under different versions of the same logos which assigned unique roles and trials for us all. Who are we to make other people’s fates harder? Who are we to punish other people for things they don’t control—for things that have nothing to do with their behavior?

Don’t throw a log in front of someone else. Leave them alone. Or better, do the Stoic thing—offer a hand.

P.S. For more ways to keep Stoic principles in mind as you navigate your day, check out ourDaily Stoic Store. It features our popular amor fati and memento mori medallions, Marcus Aurelius print, and more. Also, The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living is available everywhere books are sold.

Like this email? Forward it to a friend. And if it was forwarded to you, sign up for our free 7-day course on Stoicism, packed with exclusive resources.

 

Winning Stoically

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via Winning Stoically — youwineverythingwithkids – Many thanks for sharing

marcus-aurelius-quotes-3

In recent years I have developed a real interest in Stoicism. Although I wouldn’t yet consider myself a Stoic, I have enjoyed learning some of the underlying principles that make up this philosophy of life. There have been many Stoics over the years but probably the most well known are Seneca and Marcus Aurelius, the Roman Emperor. I would recommend ‘Letters from a Stoic’ by Seneca or ‘Meditations’ by Marcus Aurelius. If any of these whet your appetite then Ryan Holiday has written two great books called ‘The Obstacle Is the Way’ and Ego Is The Enemy’ Both of these will give a modern feel to Stoicism. I will guarantee you that Stoicism is not what you think it is and can be translated into a modern philosophy of life.

Many of us don’t have a real philosophy for life as we jump from one issue to the next. We deal with what is in front of us. Many people think a good life is having a good job. This allows us to buy ever more stuff to impress people in our belief that this creates a meaningful life. But ask yourself how long the happiness lasts, that we create when buying the latest gadget before we crave the next shiny thing? This is a process of hedonic adaptation which I may well pick up on future blogs.

You are probably now thinking that he’s gone mad and what has this to do with grassroots football?  Well. if we could learn a few Stoic principles and put them into practice then we might actually move away from chasing the next shiny thing and build on what we already have. The Stoics chose ‘to want what they already have’ in order to make them fully appreciate what they had.

The Stoics broke everything into 3 areas:

1.Where you have total control

2 Where you have some but not total control

3.Where you have no control

There is no point bothering about areas where you have no control ie the weather; the pitch; the referee; your height; the position you are asked to play or what the opposition will do and how they choose to play.

The second point we should consider, as that forms the largest group so we should try and influence this group while understanding that there are many factors at play that will affect the outcome. Examples are how you prepare physically and tactically but the biggest example is the final score of the game. Consequently, the first point is the most important. Concentrate on things in which you have total control. Examples of this are attitude, commitment, effort, enjoyment, opinions. These are all factors which the player has direct and full control over. Whereas the result, other people’s opinion and our reputation are not up to us.

There is much less energy required to do things in which we have total control over so we should be doing these as much as possible. We have it in our power to stop moaning at the coach; to be well mannered; to work hard; to take time to help our team-mates. The choice is within ourselves.

Consequently, a player who is looking to develop needs to set internal rather than external goals. Therefore, the goal is not to ‘win’ the match or the league or the cup (This is external and you don’t have full control over this) but to play to your best of your ability in the game.

The Stoics knew that our internal goals affect our external performance, but they also knew that the goals we set for ourselves have a direct impact on our emotional state. So if we set the goal to win the match, this does not increase our chances of winning that particular match. On the other hand, if we set playing our best game as our goal then we don’t reduce our chances of winning the match but we do lessen our chances of being upset by the outcome. We must then change the story we are telling ourselves and remove the thought of winning and replace it with playing to the best of our ability. This will significantly reduce your emotional anguish in the future.

Therefore I want players to ‘win stoically’ by setting internal goals for themselves. I can honestly say that I have never asked a team to go out and win. I have asked them to go out and enjoy themselves; express themselves and give their all. The result is of little significance but can they come off the pitch thinking they have given their all and reflect against the internal goal they set for themselves before the match? That for me is ‘winning’

If you want to read more on the Stoics then as well as Ryan Holliday’s books then you should have a look at the good stuff from Tim Ferriss. Also John Wooden and his famous quote “Success comes from knowing that you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.” probably tells me that as well as being my coaching hero, he was also a Stoic at heart.

Finally, to quote Robin Sharma “The world belongs to learners” so let’s teach the kids to ‘win stoically’.

via Winning Stoically — youwineverythingwithkids

The power of solitude

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The power of solitude

This post was inspired by the article The Power of Solitude.

As much as I enjoy the company of others I also enjoy time alone. For me, solitude is an opportunity to be myself for a while – to read without interruptions, to sing without being heard and to dance without being seen. I can meditate wherever I wish, or do yoga in the middle of the living-room without bothering anyone. I can eat what I like and have a good cry as I watch a good old romance.

Some people fear solitude, they fear the turning inwards, afraid of what they might find. Mindfulness has taught me to spend more time looking inwards. Mindfulness helps us to approach what is inside us rather than to run away from it. We can approach our fears slowly, with compassion, edging towards whatever it is in a kind manner as we would towards a frightened child or animal.We can explore our emotions in a safe, gentle way and slowly begin to understand who we are.

This post was inspired by the article The Power of Solitude. As much as I enjoy the company of others I also enjoy time alone. For me, solitude is an opportunity to be myself for a while – to read without interruptions, to sing without being heard and to dance without being seen. I can meditate […]

via The power of solitude — My GO-TO MINDFULNESS

In a World

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In a world of doubt ………..trust
In a world of fear…………mindfulness
In a world of hate ………….love
In a world of ignorance….educate
In a world of  choices……select
In a world of taking ……….give
In a world of sorrow………forgive
In a world of curiosity….seek
In a world of hunger ………..feed
In a world of intolerance…..open-mindedness

source: Eddie’s Journal 2010
image: Eddie’s Images, Buddha
revised original post published 2010

In a world of doubt ………..trust In a world of fear…………mindfulness In a world of hate ………….love In a world of ignorance….educate In a world of choices……select In a world of taking ……….give In a world of sorrow………forgive In a world of curiosity….seek In a world of hunger ………..feed In a world of intolerance…..open-mindedness source: Eddie’s Journal […]

via In a World — Eddie Two Hawks

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