wduncan, January 27th, 2019
I remember studying the flight map around hour 6 of the second flight on our way to Johannesburg, South Africa. We had already completed one international flight from Houston to London, but for some reason I was just now beginning to understand how large the Earth really is. At this moment, I remembered what Dr. Flint discussed during one of our pre-departure meetings. Essentially, it’s mathematically impossible to turn a 3 dimensional Earth into a 2 dimensional map without distorting the size and shape of specific global features. Even the Mercator projection, which is most commonly accepted, grossly misleads common users into believing Africa is smaller than it really is. For the first time in my life, 6 hours in, only halfway to our destination, and staring at the interactive map of Africa, I realized the world is so much larger than I thought. I remember thinking, “Wow. The world is big and I am small, but I want to see as much as I can before I die.”
Throughout the trip, places and moments like Kruger National Park, the Big Swing, Shewula, and Bulembu reinforced my love for adventure and passion for travel. However, I’d argue some of the smaller moments had the biggest impact on my life moving forward.
A collection of these “smaller moments” is summarized by the WaWa Wagon. WaWa was one of our two drivers who spent the whole trip with us transporting 30 crazy Aggies around small villages and capital cities, through border crossings, past checkpoints, and everything in between. Before the trip, I had no idea we’d spend hours of our days, and sometimes full days, traveling with WaWa. But by the end of our trip, the people in this van were like family. The inside jokes and subtle roasts were glimpses of how well we grew to know one another.
I used to think adventure was the secret to living an incredible life in an ordinary world. Now, I know the secret is people. People like WaWa and JB. People like grandmas in Shewula. People like Aunties in Bulembu. People like Aggies.
Categories: 2019 Trip