The route has yet to be decided and will follow much in vain my previous journeys; I will go in the general direction and seek advice from the locals. The natural way would follow the coast, which is what I intend to do, since being next to the sea feels much more comfortable. That is not to say that I wouldn't take diversions, and I already intend hanging around in Marocco for decent period of time to get a flavour of Africa and to give myself time to adjust to the climate and the risks.
There are probably 2 main risks. The first is disease and the second is the threat of being robbed especially in those areas that dwell on tourism. With the largely untreatable Ebola Viral Haemorrhagic Fever in recent years, the most affected areas are Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. Towards other areas like Nigeria and Senegal generally there is a high risk of other diseases, like Malaria, HIV, Rabies, Cholera, Lassa fever, Dengue fever and various other tropical diseases.
I cannot be stationary too long in any one area, and I must always have a means to get back in emergency. The main flights out include:
Lagos Airport - Several flights per day to London. Less frequent flights also to other main cities in Europe
Dakar Airport - Many flights to to Milan, Madrid, Brussels and Paris
Accra Airport - Many flights to UK (Manchester, London, Glasgow) as well as Frankfurt.
Abidjan Airport - Flights to Paris, Brussels and Dubai
In terms of entrant requirements many borders will ask for visas. The best option is a Visa Entente which you can get from any of these countries: Burkina, Togo, Benin, Niger, and the Ivory coast. That is if I make it that far. But the reality is I will probably stick to the coast and get a visa from Ghana. Other countries like Senegal, Morocco and Gambia should be fine on my passport, but Ghana will require one upfront. Likewise yellow fever vaccination is required if I have passed through countries of high risk, including Mauritania, The Gambia and Guinea-Bissau. But Mauritania poses another issue too, in that they require return flights as well as visas. It is not cheap.
For money requirements I will carry euros and the local currency of CFA. I won't be carrying much, as I intend to make this a free journey. I hope also that the guitar will pay part the way in terms of hospitality.
The mainstay of my activities now include publishing, traveling, marketing my own products, writing and music, fitness and health, and international project development. They all meld into an amorphous whole. It is my aspiration to create an alternative living outside of mainstream culture, and I continually air these views in my books and newsletters, as well as through the words of my music. Such is the beginning of this project, Algorrobi, in which I ask members to participate in generating a sustainable future and returning over time to cultivate one´s own spirituality. We are a group of friends who, being new to the production of olive oil are considering the formation of a cooperative or association in which mutual understanding and help form the axis of our desire to work with each other. Such cooperatives already exist and certainly I will cultivate my own brand of intentional living. In the meantime I must continue to help my parents before the farm passes on as an inheritance.
The idea for this journey to Africa came about naturally as an extension of my landscape here in Catalonia. I have already cycled around parts of Europe and in 2012 set off towards Palestine going across the Balkans, into Greece and Turkey, visiting family in Cyprus before embarking towards Lebanon and Syria. Along this journey I took much of what I intend to take to Africa, only now I will bring a video camera in order to record my interaction with native peoples. Having reached Syria I was turned around and consequently spent the last month exploring the beautiful regions of Lebanon before illness took its toll. I lived for much of 5 months in a hammock, but it was my guitar and my spirituality that attracted the friendly attentions of both Muslims and Christians who occasionally gave me bedding and food. The original blog was moved from the Posterous platform but can be found at www.destinationvirgin.wordpress.com albeit in an unformatted form. It has subsequently been made into a free book in journal format over 8 editions in the members page for those who join this organisation.
What I hope to get from this journey are new friends who I can work with in the future, maybe setting up exchange-links possibilities. Making Africa a very visitable place for other adventurers to follow in to is a deep motive. In my experiences of the Near East meeting native peoples in their own countries is a beautiful experience and somewhat opposes the views that denigrate these fantastic landscape. I am in no way expecting this journey to be easy, not least for the desert, disease, or crime that one finds in regional pockets. As I say, I am a pioneer who is making way with a beard and a guitar.
Something about Myself and What I Hope to Achieve on this Journey - a short Bio
A little history
Around the years 2003/4 I decided that an olive farm in Catalonia was worth getting into after my parents had purchased it and required help managing it. Traditionally full of dry-stone walls and mainly olives, carobs and almonds I endeavoured to learn something about growing food here since being half Greek and Spanish I had already successfully managed a number of environmental projects in London under the auspices of the Permaculture movement and wanted to extend them. Much of that work can be seen under the brother website www.southlondonpermaculture.com but does not include much of the other stuff I got involved with including my music, my studies in religion and spirituality, and my travel antics. I was though, running a sustainable business pulling a bicycle trailer up and down Forest Hill in South East London. I had a level of fitness which was unequalled and hence gave me the appearance of an athlete. Imagine a trailer loaded with spades, forks, strimmers, leaf blowers, hedge trimmers, spares, tool bags and much more including a lawn mower and a few sugary snacks thrown in. Day in, day out I continued to defy physical laws, on occasion fasting off all solids yet still putting in an 10 hour day. I soon became well-known and started running local events including apple days, craft fayres, and permaculture courses. I was head-hunted by the Permaculture Association in Britain and got involved with a larger national program including representation at local festivals. Likewise, I was attracted to the hard-core environmental movement which influenced me in my guerilla gardening antics and was eventually arrested for growing food on the railway line. I still mull over that project which has a life of its own.
I decided that my spirituality required further development and attempted to integrate my studies into the movement. The result of this can be seen in my publications available from both websites, and also with the success of my part-time MA in Ecotheology studied in the beautiful mythopoetic landscape of Wales. The bicycle stayed by my side as would a loyal dog and I decided then to take my psycho-spirituality on a journey from London to Catalonia. For 10 days I barely ate more than a baguette and drank ice tea; such was my physique. Eventually something had to give and a few years later I gave up much of the work in Britain to focus on Catalonia.