“Traveling for months with one bag of clothes was proof that I can be content with very less without of course taking away from the convenience of luxury”, expresses Boipelo Tladinyane Hlubi.
Boipelo has traveled 54 African countries out of 55. It’s not everyday one gets to travel throughout Africa and write a book in order for Africans to understand each other and to improve relations for beneficial outcomes such as respect, economic growth and building healthy communities. The name of the book is A Safari back to self (Back packing 54 countries in Africa).
While on the road Boipelo would keep a journal and when she started sharing it on social media she saw an increase of interest. That is when she thought it would be great to have her experience of Africa shared in a way that could be accessible to those not on social media as well. She hopes to shed some light, and for readers to fall in love with the beauty of the rest of Africa and feel compelled to experience it for themselves.
“I used a day by day journal format to write my story, so the reader gets to go on a journey with me, meeting the many people and places”, elaborates Boipelo. She wants to encourage South Africans to travel across Africa so that the sector can grow which will lead to it being affordable to accommodate various African pockets.
One can only dream and wish to travel through Africa and now you can through Boipelo’s book. Her curiosity about what lies beyond the borders of South Africa fueled by interesting stories, music and pictures of Africa such as Lalibela, Timbuktu, Kente and Jollof sparked an interest in her to embark on a once in a lifetime experience.
Hlubi was fortunate to have a strong supportive structure which enabled her to travel. Her family would pray and check up on her whenever she could get connectivity. “My husband compiled hand written letters from our family members so I could be reminded of their love whenever I updated my journal and he also helped fund my trip when the money I had saved was not enough as well as taking care of our household so I felt free”.
Tladinyane had to adapt to different cultures and says: “I arrived with an open mind, excitement of the unknown, no expectations except a blank canvas for anything to be put on and a willingness to learn”.
The Muslim religion really stood out for Hlubi during her backpacking journey and elaborates by saying: “I realized that I had a lot of misconceptions that I was not aware of about what the religion is about from my limited exposure”. Hlubi lived in many Muslim homes and fell in love with some practices. She even got to see how in some countries there is an understanding of each other’s religion and participation in celebrating instead of running parallel. In addition Boipelo says: “religion plays out differently according to the influence of various cultures from one country or area to the other.
Boipelo explains that when it comes to accommodation throughout Africa there is a budget for catering, luxury and mid range travelers. Transport and certain tourists’ attraction that only cater for 5 travelers are still where the challenges lie. Africa is still at the pioneering stages of Africans being recognized as players in tourism on the continent and that comes with some hurdles as expected.
“I look forward to the day an African passport gets presented at an African border for tourism without raising alarms” adds Hlubi.
Boipelo Tladinyane Hlubi concludes by encouraging Africans and says: “continue on your lane, no matter how hard it gets sometimes and be okay with celebrating your wins no matter the size of the accomplishment”.
The book can be found at retail stores or an email can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
By Sandra Lesenyeho