Having traveled through much of Europe, Asia and several African countries such as Tanzania, Mozambique, Ghana, Senegal and South Africa, I know that some travel experiences are not all fun and sightseeing. And, I do not object to the little discomforts that go hand in hand with the exploration of unknown regions; in fact, I cherish the unease and risks that come with it because they promote my growth and flexibility. Based on my personal experience, Africa is a go to for personal development.
Depending on where you choose to go, you get to step away from modern commodities and quick fixes to every problem. The wild land will take you on an exciting journey and teach you valuable lessons about life. Here are some of the things I learned on the continent – hope you enjoy them!
Less is more
I learnt this lesson well the first time I visited Tanzania: less is definitely more when exploring the world. Having packed half of my belongings for a month-long tour of the continent’s eastern regions, I soon realized just how deeply materialism is ingrained in my mind as a safeguard against uncertainty. The fact that I used only a handful of items I brought helped me conquer my personal insecurities and embrace a healthier attitude to material things. Freedom and happiness do not take all that much – all we truly need is just a fresh change of clothes, a dry place to sleep and a little food to keep us going.
A positive attitude makes everything easier
If you want to truly live your life to the fullest, be prepared to look for silver linings in every cloud. Misfortunes and unpleasantries will happen, but if you focus on positive aspects instead of life’s ugly faces, you stand a better chance of attaining inner peace, which is essential to a happy life. In Africa, I met people whose lives were marked by constant hardships and austerity, but all their struggles did not manage to break their spirits. Those who have little deeply appreciate the miracle of simply living, and they enjoy the good times more than people used to comfort and ease.
Patience is a virtue
There are no shortcuts in life, especially if you are in Africa. What matters most is perseverance in the face of failure, and patience in all circumstances fate throws your way even if you do not find them pleasurable in the least. For instance, I planned to take a bus from South Africa to Mozambique which fit my tight traveling schedule. I saw the bus line was running when I was browsing the internet while I was preparing for my trip, but upon arriving at the station, I was told that the ride for that particular time slot was cancelled a week ago due to a lack of tourist interest.
I had to muster all the patience in me and come up with alternative transportation — a train ride was a massive detour from my Mozambique destination, so I decided to join a minibus tour with one of the private lines instead. In the end, it all worked out and I am now grateful for the experience. When the path gets tough, you have to put on a smile and keep rolling, otherwise you will get nowhere. Nothing is in your control, except your reaction – so make it a positive and pro-active one.
Risks bring more opportunities than failure
During my explorations, I suddenly realized that Mozambique is a perfect place for business expansion despite the bad rep that has been haunting the continent for decades. I managed to convince my business partners that investing in the region would pay off every cent – and it did, many times over. Real estate portals such as Property Maputo are best examples of just how generously Africa repays courage, trust and hard work. The continent is now a booming economic region thanks to investors who dared to take the risk and tap into Africa’s business opportunities.
Things you dread the most are the ones that make you grow the most
In Africa, I learnt that fear is a faithful companion of safety, and that my comfort zone is the biggest enemy to my freedom. Once you face your worst nightmares, they disintegrate into dust. Keep challenging yourself and everything you believe in: that is the only way to grow, and it is worth it every minute.
Africa is an ideal place to hunt for new experiences and become the best version of yourself. Hope you like my take on this captivating land – the lessons I learned there are a true prize for me, and I will certainly be coming back for fresh pieces of wisdom soon!
Oliver Hyde is an experienced business consultant from the UK. His job allows him to travel, which also happens to be one of his greatest passions. Find out more about his travels on Twitter.