Going Home to Africa

Follow my dream to return to the African country of my birth from the continent of my heritage and the adventure that will take from from Europe down the bulge of Africa into South Central Africa.

Oh the heat!

Oh the heat!
After finishing BlueBelle and starting to take her out on some test drives I started to realise how hot it was becoming.  Not too much of a problem when you're parked up somewhere and can open doors and windows wide but it was getting too hot for comfort.  So what was next?  I wasn't planning to leave for Africa until the fall when the worst of the heat had passed ... not certain I wanted to face Morocco or Mauritania and the edge of the Sahara in the midst of Northern Hemisphere summer.  So finding a place to hide out from...
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Welcome Home

Welcome Home
At some stage once the structure of the internal build was done things started to move on at a better pace, or perhaps it was just that my muscles were better attuned and I was better skilled. There was the seating area, finishing the internal structure of the kitchen cabinet, installing the sink and water bottles, the secure storage areas and not to exclude the book shelves. Slowly I added some colour with plastic sticker tiles, my Africa map, the quotes and sayings that I like to have around, curtains were cut and sewn, cushion covers made and suddenly it started...
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Let the building begin!

Let the building begin!
September arrived and the days were slightly cooler and less crowded than they had been and I started to take early morning walks around to see some of the sites and visit markets (ever seeking bargains). It was also time to buy the panels for the sides and walls that we had been waiting for before getting on with building and then the panels of pine to build the structure framework.My nephew’s business had not ceased or let up during the summer months and he was soon to depart for South Africa so knowing it was pointless waiting for him, willing...
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Barcelona ... (cue Freddy Mercury)

Barcelona ... (cue Freddy Mercury)
I had come to Barcelona to stay with my nephew who is a multi-talented man in the construction business. He has a workshop in the city where he has lived for 15+ years. I had come to build out the inside of BlueBelle into a home, my home on wheels that would make me independent and take me home to Zimbabwe on my drive through Africa. My nephew’s workshop was the ideal place to do this.Note that, like many in Barcelona, my nephew has made a living space in his workshop and there wasn’t really room for one more, but he...
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Lock, Stock and BlueBelle

Lock, Stock and BlueBelle
Returning to Luxembourg was necessary to settle personal matters and put into play the registration for the non-profit I wanted to start for girl’s education as well as picking up the 35 boxes, chair, table and carpet I had left in storage in my friend’s garage. My intention to return to Africa is a one-way direction and without a location or destination at present in Zimbabwe it means that I have to either pay storage for my goods while I am away for an indeterminate period of time or reduce to a size where I can impose my things on my...
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Life is on the other side of fear.

Life is on the other side of fear.
Leaving the UK after living in a friend’s loft during a cold and wet winter (two of my favourite things ... not!) left me with dual feelings. Firstly I was glad to get out of the UK, one of the reasons I left 9 years previously is that there are so many people then there is the big brother controls which are everywhere (leaving you feeling safer but at the same time without any privacy), additionally now (with Brexit fever) ever more than before an unsettling feeling within the country of rising intolerance and strife and of course the weather. I...
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First things first!

First things first!
You've met BlueBelle, now it's the serious work of getting her ready to go.  I'm still a long way off setting out, especially because I still need to earn/raise a large sum of money to cover the costs of the journey.  But I've always believed that in order to get success you have to at least be on the path heading toward it.  Thus, I continue with 'the plan' despite not quite knowing if I can manifest it. First thing was to clean out the van and try to rid it of the disgusting smell of oil.  I think they had,...
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BlueBelle ... my new friend

BlueBelle ... my new friend
Finally, here is an introduction to BlueBelle my new friend with whom I intend to drive home to Zimbabwe ... InShaAllah (god willing) as they say in Arabic. As per my last blog here are the details of the van, whom I have affectionately called BlueBelle. MAKE:       Ford MODEL:     Transit 190 LWB YEAR:        1998 ENGINE:     2496cc - Diesel (Heavy Oil) She started out life working for a church as a disability and community vehicle and at some time she was a general runabout van for someone who didn't really look after her.  She came to me from a dealer East of...
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The Van ... unicorn or donkey

The Van ... unicorn or donkey
Finding the right vehicle has been a true challenge.  My earlier specifications were quite specific but getting all of those to fit into my within my budget meant that instead of a sparkling unicorn I probably settled for a very solid donkey, not too pretty but should do the job just as well. I've come to realise that not having paid any attention to vehicles, but for the basics, has been a disadvantage, however, I've done a lot of work to understand and learn more, hence I came up with the list that I published earlier.  I'm really grateful to the...
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Alternative Living

Alternative Living
In 2008 Monty (so called as he was a Ford Tioga Montego) was to be my new home for a while, at least on a journey around Europe to see some of the places never yet seen.  In hindsite he was too big but at the time it seemed a reasonable space to live in for 2 people and 2 dogs.  Monty, as I said was a Ford Tioga Montego RV.  He (he because he was a beast and not in the least bit she) had a V8 engine running on either Petrol or LPG and had long range tanks which...
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Unexpected Inspiration

Unexpected Inspiration
In planning this journey, it can be overwhelming and there are days when I wonder where or why I thought of it and then I sit quitely and it usually passes and my enthusiams is renewed by a message, kind word, post share, it can be anything at all.  The past few months have been challenging, there is no easy way to pass from one life into another without sadness and reflection.  Add to this the grey days (a whole new 50 shades of grey!) in UK, while I'm waiting for some things to resolve and looking for a vehicle (my...
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What I need is a Unicorn!

What I need is a Unicorn!
Any of you following me thus far will have noted my several and many promises to blog about vehicles and today I've decided to put all the confusing, conflicting and helpful information together into a blog.  It should be easy right, just get a camper and head out.  If ONLY!  It is one of the most difficult things thus far.  I guess it is only difficult because I'm doing this on a tight budget and if I had tens of thousands of € or £ the entire thing would be over and done with.  But as the saying goes "beggars can't...
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The cost of moving on ...

The cost of moving on ...
Two months since I last blogged ... what on earth have I been doing?? I have been doing a lot to move my life in a new direction but there is a cost that isn't just monetary when we make changes.  It is often said that moving house is one of the top stressors but I think that moving life from one stage to another may top that.  It is never easy to say goodbye to the people, places and even my lovely dog (who left at 17.5 years old). I've also realised that when you're moving on you need to...
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Things to do ...

Things to do ...
It has been great to meet so many people who are interested in my trip and have offered ideas and suggestions, given advise and sage wisdom, all of this has been appreciated.  However, the one question that I do get asked the most is "when are you going".  Some people believe that it's a bit like deciding to drive to Greece and all I need to do is get in my car and go. Regrettably the reality is that in order to do this trip well there are not only a lot of things that I need but many things that...
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Route map

Route map
In a previous post I discussed the route that I am planning but I've been getting more questions so here is a visual Google Earth image with an approximation of the route. This route is not the final route but it gives everyone a better idea of what I have in mind.  There is much about the route that may change as I need visas for almost every country so if I am denied any of these I will obviously have to adjust accordingly.
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Aren't people interesting?!

Aren't people interesting?!
What happens when you announce to the people you know, and the world at large (once it's on Facebook it's everywhere) that you're going to do something unusual? I'm very interested in psychology, non-verbal communication, face traits, psychometry, behaviours and in general people, so I'm a people watcher, even more interesting is what people tell you when they don't realise they're telling you. Back to my annoucement quickly, I expected most people to tell me I had obviously hit menopause and lost my brain cells, and yet there must be something about me, as most people I've told, have been excited,...
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Planning the Route

Planning the Route
Apart from the people suggesting that I should fly like everyone else, I've also had a number of recommendations on the route I should take, from taking Eastern or Western routes and cutting through the Sahara desert. In addition I've also read a number of books of people who have taken trips from North to South and the challenges and benefits of each. I've had to take several factors into account when making my decision; Firstly I'm a woman, travelling on my own, I hate sand (you'll seldom find me on a beach never mind in the middle of a desert),...
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The Response to the Idea

The Response to the Idea
When I started to speak to people about my idea to drive through Africa to reach home I have to confess I did so reluctantly as there are those people who are dream stealers and while I have thought through all (well probably not ALL, but many) of the pros and cons I still want to do it and I didn't want to be drowning in alarming stories or warnings.  However, I was surprised and delighted by the response and support I've received by most people.  Of course there have been many comments, like you're very brave, which somehow I've always...
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The idea

The idea
I'm regularly asked how I came up with the idea to drive home.  After all I've lived outside my country of birth for 35 years and have not returned for the past 25 years, why would I conceivably want to return now? Like the best ideas, it came about as a convergence of times, experience and circumstance.  So there isn't a clear one line answer to this, but I'll try to not only put my thoughts into writing but also to share them with you. Firstly, although I've been outside my country (for those who don't know, it is Zimbabwe) for...
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About Dot

Dot is Zimbabwean born and raised and having lived in Europe for almost 20 years she is on a quest to drive home through Africa.

As a woman, almost 60, many people think she is embarking on a fool's quest ... read more about Dot or subscribe to her Blog for more details.

 

Contribute to the Journey

Many people know that Dot doesn't often ask for help but she could do with yours!  If you believe in Dot's quest and would like to send her a contribution for a coffee or a bottle of something special, a fuel fill up or anything else she would be grateful!

 

Kusasa Scholarship Fund

Alongside my journey I've decided to raise funds for scholarships for girl's education in Zimbabwe, find out more about that here, to contribute to the Scholarship Fund please do so here.