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The Beauty of Botswana

If you would have asked me a few years ago if I expected to visit Botswana any time soon, I probably would have said no. It’s not that I didn’t want to go, it’s just that the country wasn’t even on my radar. I probably couldn’t have even picked it out on a map (African geography wasn’t my strong suit until I became obsessed with online quizzes a few years ago).

And then something changed.

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Flying Over the Okavango Delta

Nearly our entire group opted to take a scenic flight over the delta. We would be camping in the delta for two days, swimming in its shallow pools and navigating its twisting arteries by dug-out canoe, but as an introduction to the area, we could choose to fly over it first. At around £150 for an hour flight, it seemed like a good deal. In the little airport in Maun we handed over our credit cards and our passports, then were shuttled six at a time to tiny airplanes basking in the heat on the runway.

I could tell we were all a bit nervous; small planes have a tendency to do that to even the bravest souls. We took off, quickly leaving the the small city of Maun behind us. Within minutes, the delta appeared, verdant and alive, a contrast to the dusty ground we had spent the last few days learning. The water fanned out below, snaking its way through the lush landscapes. It seemed to go on forever, this vivid green against the blue of the sky.

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2014: A Year in Review

This time last year, I could have never predicted where I’d be at this exact moment: sitting on the patio of my family’s rented casa in Nicaragua, a spiced rum and coke beside me, the sun dipping low in the sky before it sinks past the ocean’s horizon and out of sight. I thought that 2013 wasn’t a very big year for me, but it was; it was one of transition, of finally moving to London. 2014 started off slow, with almost no plans – soon it grew into a year of travel, a year of accomplishments, and a year of maturing (both in numbers and in mindset). Here’s a little review of the past year.

Be warned: there are lots of photos!

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When You Hand Over Your Camera to Kids in Botswana

We arrived at the makoro station around 8am, and had to wait for the big motorboat to pick us up and take us back to Maun. A village tour was suggested, so off we went. While we were being shown some of the local fruit, I noticed a little girl in pink clothing standing behind us, watching. I turned and walked over to her. She didn’t speak much English, but, crouching down with her, we soon struck up a game of pat-a-cake. We would count to ten and start again. One of the other tourists snapped a few photos of us, but then we were alone again.

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Independent Travel vs. Tours

By very definition the words traveller and tourist mean the same thing; it’s only the labels we’ve put upon these words that have the deeper meaning. As I’ve said before, however, I strongly maintain that I’m both. I’ve done the long, slow travel, hung out with the locals, lived places for a little while. I’ve also done my fair share of tours.

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