It’s been said that you discover yourself when you travel. I agree. You are in a foreign place, discovering new food, people, and culture. It’s inevitable that you yourself will change, and your thinking will evolve.

We all face hardships, and I’ve certainly encountered many who have lost jobs, loved ones, and hope. Stress and depression beats us all down eventually. So many have sought refuge from the frustrations of life by discovering a new land, and you know what? The transformation is real.

 Traveling has cured their blues. Traveling has offered them a fresh perspective, and has strengthened them to return home rejuvenated. What’s the magic all about? You’re away from the familiar and aren’t subject to the same trappings which challenged you. The same worries don’t apply when you take a new step in a new land.

Wise words.

There are new adventures to be found every time you hit the road. I’ve met and hosted budget travelers who have journeyed from North Africa to the South through every means necessary—walking, riding, or hitchhiking. The road has been good to them. They’ve found genuine folks along the way who have kept their costs down. They experienced an adventure more than they’ve bargained for, and sampled the local culture in a way that could never have been possible through a five-star hotel. So, the idea that you need to be fabulously rich to go so far away doesn’t add up when I hear their stories.

I agree with this.

I’ve certainly gotten the “travel bug” myself through my clients, and my list continues to grow of places to see. I’ve exchanged smiles from many I never believed I would ever meet. It’s made me think, “if they can travel that far to see my country, why can’t I make such sacrifices for theirs?” 

A traveler is an international ambassador. They might not be waving a flag, but their demeanor translates so much more than what one may have seen or heard through media. Some of my friends abroad have expressed reservations about visiting my continent. They hear negative press, and it’s affected their travel plans.

Sure, precautions need to be made (like any trip outside familiar surroundings), but once you open yourself to the continent, Africa welcomes you with a genuine embrace. There is so much more to Africa than an acacia tree or a “Lion King” safari.You discover that Africa has a vibrancy that has to be felt. Its peoples are rich in spirit, and the culture is undeniably infectious.

Couple of tourists at the local market.

So I challenge you to live boldly. Challenge stereotypes, discover unabashedly, and look beyond the familiar. You’ll be so much more wiser, happier, and saner for doing so.

See you in Kampala!

Go out your comfort zone.