Maybe by the time you read this, it will feel real. That I am traveling to Africa for the first time (Senegal, to be precise). But right now, writing this on the plane (instead of sleeping. Ugh), I still don’t really believe it. Don’t believe that the plan hatched on our porch over red wine more than a year an a half ago, the plan that required multiple modifications as funding sources were pursued, denied, and new ones pursued, the plan that seemed impossible actually worked and we are now just a few hours away from Dakar.
Partly I think it’s due to the way airports and plane travel see to exist outside of time and normal space. Waking up before 5 a.m. In the dark to drive to a place where one’s sole function is to sit and wait, time seems to both exqpnd and contract. Where is the plane? Is it here yet? Can we board? Yes, finally (due to a mixup with the airlines, we were at the airport hours before we needed to be), it’s here! Hurry up and wait again, this time in line. And then, on the plane, sitting again, flying east, towards tomorrow. Leaving this (or yesterday, I guess) morning, we saw a gorgeous prairie sunrise in Missouri, a sunset in DC from the airport bus, and night sky, moon, stars, and a sunrise from the plane as we flew across the Atlantic. All the phases of the day, all while sitting and waiting impatiently to arrive in a new place and day. Waiting to experience new sights, sounds, and culture. It’s the promise of travel and the reason we are willing to force our bodies to stay awake for 20+ hours and endure the brutality of shifting our internal clocks by so many hours.
So, no, it still doesn’t feel real, but I can’t wait to see what the next 10 days bring.