Many years ago when I was visiting Africa, I met a man named Gerald.
He told me of his journey from France down the coast of West Africa through Congo, eventually reaching South Africa.
Which is where we met, in a lovely little shit hole town called Port st Johns.
We met by “chance“.
His trip was ending, while mine had just begun.
After calibrating to my new African habitat, I became mysteriously determined, obsessed even, to take a boat to Madagascar from the mainland.
so that’s where I focused all my energy.
It took me months of visiting pier after pier, from Durban through Mozambique, eventually finding a Captain willing to take me across the Mozambique straight into the Comoros from Dar es Salaam.
(That red blanket. I stole from South African Airlines. It was my bed atop cargo, aboard the Zufaka, the ship I took half way to Madagascar.)
I never forgot Gerald and his grand adventure.
It made such an obvious impression on me, that here I am, practically in his shadow.
In 2012, nearing the end of my last African odyssey, I desperately wanted to visit Congo, briefly even.
I called the airline and, not at all being dramatic, pleaded with them to let me change my departure city from Johannesburg to Nairobi.
That way I could fly into the Congo, touch this beautiful land with my bare feet.
Then Bus to Nairobi where my airline would take care of the rest.
Johannesburg or Nairobi, what’s the difference really, to a major airline?
Alas, the airline was a greedy swine bag.
Instead of charging me a penalty to change my flight, which I offered to pay, they threatened to cancel my ticket(s) all together.
(Including my flights to South America.)
So I had to honour my original plan.
And Congo, however close, became a thorn in my to do list.
All because of a chance encounter with a French guy who regaled me with tales of a month long boat ride through the impenetrable Congo jungle, mysterious Pygmy tribes and natural treasures so guarded the cost for a glance, could be the ultimate price.
He inspired me.
After seven years of watching Adventure Time, exploring other parts of the world and encountering a darkness I can only describe as a depression -I’m here.
My bare feet touching the Congo.
I did it.
I didn’t just pop in and pop out either, I f u c k i n g did congo.
My sprit is so proud.
The feeling of achieving a dream is a sublime experience.
Now that I’m about to leave DRC, laying in the sun, after eating the best vegetarian food in Kinshasa (possibly all of Africa) courtesy of the Loving Hut, I’m overwhelmed with all the feelings one gets when realizing their blessed.
Thank you Gerald.
Good bye DRC.
P.s, Don’t put me in jail next time, dick head.