Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Travel Mania

Its Saturday night and I'm snuggly under my hideous yet amazingly soft Middle Eastern synthetic blanket. These are the only warm blankets you can find in Senegal that don't cost an arm and a leg.

(Oops, I wrote this a few days ago, and I'm currently in Atlanta as I post :)

Tomorrow (well, technically early Monday morning), I leave for Atlanta. I have a business trip that will find me in Atlanta and Athens, Georgia for the next 8 days. Even though I've only been back in Senegal for a little over two weeks, I am still looking forward to spending some time on American soil... shopping, eating, and learning about poultry science (woo hoo). I'm hoping to make up for my lack of shopping around Christmas... I really, really need to update my wardrobe. I am ready to give everything away and start at 0! I also plan to stock up on things for MIA (My Imaginary Apartment), like a comforter for my new duvet cover, sheets, pillows, printed pictures..... what I don't find I'll order online and have my mom bring with her when she visits February 16 (soooo soon!).

Last year I travelled to Cape Verde, San Diego/LA, Cameroon (twice), Ivory Coast (twice), Burkina Faso, NYC, and North Dakota, not including my trips home to Boston and DC, and my trips home to Senegal, of course :) By the end of April I will have travelled to Atlanta, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Uganda, and Egypt.

I wish I could say I really enjoyed traveling for work... I enjoy it to a degree and yes, I do get sick pleasure from my collection of visas, passport stamps, and airline miles, but its not as glamorous or exciting as it might seem. I travel primarily alone, often in less than awesome conditions and to cities I don't feel comfortable exploring on my own. I spend most nights eating room service and surfing the internet. Its honestly pretty lonely (but thank god for Skype). Work-wise, traveling can be both extra-stressful with crucial meetings and also a welcome change of pace from the routine of working independently in Dakar. The one thing I have really loved about traveling in West Africa is being able to compare and contrast countries that I had previously studied in textbooks and now have the chance to visit. Before my experience in Africa had been limited to Senegal, and now I have the opportunity to observe and reflect on differences in fashion, language, religion, city conditions, weather, landscape, traditional art, fabrics, attitudes towards Westerners, etc. Its fascinating and inspiring!

Alright, present-day Kim is signing off to rally the troops for dinner. Adios!

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