Trails of Mauritania: The Train and I

The most disturbing thing about the train, is that it exists. That hundreds of Mauritanian workers and freelance merchants have to take it on a regular basis, like this, covered in dust and dirt. What for me was a one-off adventure, stuff to write stories about, for Mohamed and his family was just another commute to work.

Trails of Mauritania – chapter 2

I don’t know what bothers me more: the fact that more than half of these people, who navigate across the bay daily in decrepit wooden boats, cannot actually swim, or that I just saw a godzilla-sized rat lurking between the rocks by the water.

Trails of Mauritania – chapter 1

Assane and his two travel companions are driving an old pickup truck from Spain to Senegal. It is a lucrative business, for those who like extended road trips and do not mind a bit of bureaucratic hassle here and there. The pickup is loaded with all sorts of stuff, but they find space for my backpack on the top, and squeeze me in on the back seat.

How Travelling (Never Actually) Changes Us

No man ever steps in the same river twice. -Heraclitus Denial is not just a river in Egypt. -somebody totally said that 2014 was my year of returns. I revisited a lot of people I’d met back in 2009, during the jolly Dublin times. And back then we were completely not what we are now,…

How to Eradicate World Poverty and Homelessness

Everyone expects you to write about poverty if you travel to Africa. How do people live there, having no food and no shelter? How is it, washing your clothes by hand every day? How is it, having to fight a monkey over every precious banana? What does well water taste like? How to get rid…

Somaliland: guns, germs and happy meal

Everyone who is heading to Somaliland puts him/herself in great danger. The danger of sounding like an arrogant asshole in all subsequent travel talks: ‘Somaliland? Yeah, been there, rode a camel and ate Al-Shabaab for breakfast!’ Al-Shabaab is not a local variety of kebab. It’s a terrorist group in Somalia and a boogeyman of East…

Peace Through Dialogue – The Story of Awra Amba

Initially written for MasterPeace blog (here), I’d like to share with you another feature on Ethiopia. While I was researching my route, I realized that people who travel to/through Ethiopia are generally either 1) hate it, or 2) have enough money to go to all those famous places like Lalibela and Danakil and Aksum. I must say,…

There is no Place Like Home – All Roads Spring from Ethiopia

Ras Quintseb met me in Addis and treated me to a lunch of avocados and other greens in a local migib bet. ‘I am vegetarian. In the Bible it clearly says that Adam and Eve are vegetarians, too: God had given them animals to live with, not for slaughter,’ he started. I thought that he…