It was with a heavy heart that I spent my last week in Africa. What could be more typical of this journey than feeling sad to leave a place I hadn’t planned on visiting in the first place?
Originally I planned on going to southeast Europe before returning to North America. I wanted to visit the countries in the region I had never been to – Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Kosovo, Albania, and Macedonia. But as winter approached and my friends in Lebanon couldn’t stop talking about Ethiopia, I went to Ethiopia on a whim. I even arrived in Ethiopia without any plan whatsoever for how to spend the following two months. I navigated the visa waters, took a flight and had a crazy Christmas in Burundi, and even got to experience an amazing safari.
But alas, all good things must come to an end. I arrived in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania and stayed with my Canadian couchsurfing host. She was amazing. She’s also been a nomadic volunteer, alternating long periods of volunteering and working over the course of a very international adult life. She had the most adorable six-year-old daughter and spending time with these two Canadians before heading to Canada was perfect.
It’s hard to put into words what Africa feels like and what it felt like to leave. It’s believed that humanity started in East Africa and I felt that connection. I felt grounded and connected to the people there and to humanity as a whole. As African economies rise, optimism fills the air and dreams are pursued. And outside the cities, where exotic animals roam freely and beautifully, one can’t help but get caught up in the beauty of the place and the planet as a whole.