It was 15 years ago this summer that I packed my rucksack and headed off for a once-in-a-lifetime, round the world trip! I was 26, with a steady job and mortgage but very, very bored with my life.
After growing up and living in the same small town all my life I wanted to see more of the world and a two week holiday each year wasn't cutting it. So I sold my house, quit my job and went on an adventure! My family were less than impressed thinking I was having some sort of mid-life crisis (at 26) but I knew if I didn't do it then I probably never would.
The trip was made up of four main chunks and would last approx 1 year
1) European summer island-hopping around the Greek islands and around Italy
2) An organised overland trip through East and Southern Africa
3) South East Asia inc. Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia
There were great experiences in every place I visited but the part that stood out for me and that I reflect upon most was the African leg of the journey. We did a 3 month overland trip from Uganda to Cape Town via Exodus travels and it was one of the best experiences of my life!
I am still in contact with the friends I made on that trip and a few of us met up for lunch in London just a couple of months ago.
This trip was before the advent of digital photography (at least for me) and so I used a compact film camera and got rolls processed on our way around the world, mainly to avoid heat damage. Most of my pictures are pretty crappy by today's standards but I still treasure them as memories of the trip (the images included here are scans of the original 6x4" prints).
It was a great way to see so many fantastic places in one go and visit some of the places you wouldn't normally venture to on a 'holiday' -like Malawi, Uganda and Zambia- at least not back then. And as a way of sampling the different National Parks Africa has to offer, wow!
Serengeti, Ngorogoro, South Luanga, Chobe, Okavango Delta and Etosha to name a few.
The only problem was not being able to stay very long in each. Still it was great as a taster and I intend to return to most of these places in the future - time and money allowing.
One of the countries that I really enjoyed was Namibia. Spectacular scenery combined with wildlife and good infrastructure. I'm planning to return in 2017 and spend more time exploring Damaraland and Etosha National Park.
I've changed a lot in the last 15 years (things are less firm and more hairy now compared to my twenty-something self) but there have been much bigger leaps in photography technology and equipment during this time.
I can't wait to get back to the dramatic landscapes of Namibia and start capturing images with the camera gear I now have available! (This trip will be a little more luxurious than on the truck though!)