Getting ready for the trip or Transforming into a traveler

Yes, we are going to leave Gambia and we will be travellers again. That is a bit weird to imagine after having lived here for quite some time and been away from the travelling and tourism society. Sure, we live in a tourist area and see tourists everyday but we clearly don’t consider ourselves as part of them. We have our home and daily routine, go to the beach in the evening and are quite pale compared to the lobster-red and leather-skinned people that walk around here topless and in short shorts (underwear??).

But we will be travelers soon, go and visit places (we might even do some sightseeing!), meet other travelers and have the typical conversations: “Where are you from? How long are you traveling for? Where have you been so far? Where are you going next?”
Well, I guess that’s part of the traveling too and it’s just a matter of getting back into that mode.

So I have started my preparations, more mental preparations, and got rid of a lot of things and clothes and got a few new things - including a travel-friendly hairstyle!
I thought after so many years in Africa I finally had to get the African braids and so I went last Saturday and got the full treatment: 3 packets of artificial hair, 16 hands and 5 hours. What an experience! Just the preparations for the artificial hair – that was more than I had ever done for my own/normal hair! Hair dryer and brushes and gel and Vaseline and more brushing and drying and straightening and cutting. And then the major part began: my hair was separated into tiny parts and artificial hair attached to them. 4 girls did the plaiting (at the same time!), 2 had scissors in their hands, cutting off small hairs here and there after the braids were done and 2 preparing and handing over the extra hair.

My head was pushed and pulled into all directions, the girls chatting along non stop and the radio was on with a local show that you don’t really understand unless you are Gambian (and I don’t necessarily mean unless you understand the language). It was quite an experience but I was glad when it was finally done. I can’t see myself doing this every week like so many girls here do just for the fun of it or just to have something to do. But I can see the advantages of having this kind of hairstyle when you are traveling: you don’t really have to wash it (you can, of course) or worry about brushing/styling it. This is so much easier and faster. I am glad I did it.

Ja, that was my Saturday.

I also made us some leather thingies with shells and little flowers that are now around our ankles – now we both look like travelers a little bit more and that surely helps to get into that mood.

We are getting there and will soon be real travelers on the road!