Guns In America

image

One of the greatest things about traveling is speaking with the locals about their perceptions of the US.

In my taxi from the airport last night, I had a long conversation with Mwenbeko about guns in America. He was so astonished that the government allowed so many people to have guns. As an avid watcher of CNN, BBC and Al Jazeera, he’s always been fascinated as to why Americans have armed themselves to what seems to be a very high degree.

I explained the genesis of the Second Amendment and why the gun debate is so contentious right now.  In the end, his interesting observation: in Tanzania nobody has guns because they are all too poor to afford one and they have very little to protect anyway.

Previous Hike

image

In the summer of 2013, I hiked from Sarria, Spain to Santiago de Compostela, Spain – a distance of 100 kilometers, or about 60 miles. My upcoming trek to the top of Mt. Kilomanjaro wil cover approximately 45 – 50 miles. A shorter distance to be sure, but this time, there will be a little more elevation involved 😉 .

Inspiration

Wow. Just got out of a screening for Meru, a new, Sundance award winning documentary about three mens’ attempts to climb the eponymous mountain in the heart of the Himalayan mountains.

meru

This peak has been especially challenging because of the extreme technicality and verticality of the rock at its upper elevations of 21,000 feet, where altitude, winds and cold all combine to make it virtually impossible to ascend to the peak. While my trek to the top of Kili is nothing like the experiences of Conrad Anker, Jimmy Chin and Renan Ozturk, it is inspiring nonetheless. I highly recommend watching it, and it can streamed, downloaded or purchased on any movie service.

For Those Concerned About My Backpacking Solo

Here is a fantastic blog written by an inspiring woman who has traveled Africa solo quite a bit.

http://www.heleninwonderlust.co.uk/2014/08/tips-for-women-travelling-alone-in-africa/

image

While she focuses on a woman traveling alone, much of her advice applies to men as well. Some words of wisdom:

“…you know that old saying “If you want to know where your heart is, look where your mind goes when it wanders”? Well, my mind goes to Africa.”

“When I tell people I go backpacking in Africa, some think it’s pretty cool but then quite often people just ask “Isn’t it dangerous?” Well, have you ever looked at an Africa map? Africa is huge. There are dangerous places, just as there are dangerous parts of Europe, Asia, South America, North America etc! But there are 54 countries in Africa, yet the entire continent gets lumped into this ‘Africa is bad’ bracket and I wanted to see for myself. It’s now over six years since I first stepped foot on African soil and I’ve never regretted travelling there solo, in fact it turned out to be the best decision of my life.”

Helen, you are an inspiration!