After 4 years abroad, and enough inter-continental travel to warrant a few opinions, I thought I’d put together a quick list of travel favorites for long-haul trips (8+ hours, in economy class). My first goal is to share, but my second is to hear suggestions; there are always more efficient, more pleasant, and less harried ways to reach your destination.
Truly, I’ve never been so moved by a place–the wind, the chill, the mist, the honesty. I hiked in the mud and rain for 5+ hours. Soaked feet notwithstanding, I could have hiked for 5 more.
As long ago as 9,000 BCE, some herders on the Horn of Africa got busy with their crayons, and made beautiful art in hard-to-reach places. It lasted, as genius does, and we checked it out. For more on the Laas Geel cave paintings of Somaliland, see here.
Did you know that you’re perfect ? In case you needed to hear it … Not perfect like that. Not in the ways you wish for when no one’s looking. Not in the ways that nibble at your edges and wear them down sometimes. You’re perfect in the sense of whole. Full. Complete. Enough. You’re perfect like a stretch of indigo cloth: nobody is looking at those few ragged threads, and faded fibers have character. But the long view, the full view, the ensemble: it’s miraculous, it’s delightful, it’s perfection. And so are you. . . . Images from a Malian indigo atelier, put on by Sékou Tours. Indigo is a lesser-known Malian miracle, the little sister of Bogolan. See this beautiful article on one of Mali’s indigo stars.
Last weekend we rose before the sun in Bamako, hopped on a bus in the darkness of the early hours, and arrived to the town of Ségou for Mali’s annual Festival sur le Niger. The Festival is comprised of four days of musicmusicmusic derived from the smorgasbord of cultures that thrive in Mali: from the Senegalese border to deep in the Sahara desert, from Kayes to Timbuktu. And to celebrate the magic, there was dancing to delight in. Around 6:00pm on a Friday, under a crafty pavilion, the musicians got the itch, and the dance troupe got to swinging. They swung, they swung! Until some couldn’t keep their feet on the ground, and others just could not get enough! The joy was palpable, the rhythms infections, and even the tiniest of onlookers showed great appreciation. The Festival Sur le Niger is greatly advertised throughout Mali, and event are easily found online. It’s truly an event not to be missed.
There’s something about the vantage point from above that makes the origin look altogether different, And maybe worth the climb back to earth. Siby Village, Cercle de Kati, south of Bamako, Mali.