Help/advice on west-africa

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Benin: Messages, Questions or Announcements for Benin RPCVs: Help/advice on west-africa

By jeppe b. nielsen ( - on Tuesday, February 07, 2006 - 2:00 pm: Edit Post

i am planning to go to africa (sierra leone, liberia, angola, drc) this summer as a result of living a contradiction for too long (ph.d. studies in literature in new york). a quest for my personal legend if you wish, a way to realize my full potential as someone who loves to write, someone who has a political and social drive.

i am going to africa to create a new beginning, whether or not it starts there or elsewhere.

as i see myself planning, or doing nothing but thinking about this, while attempting to gather my more rational thoughts in terms of the financial aspects of this voyage, this is both where i stop for advice and the way by which i motivate myself to face uncertainty and unpredictability.

i have both questions and worries, and i would greatly appreciate it if you could find the time to answer some of my more concrete questions.

i will not be able to gather much more than 5000$ for my trip. i have no specific destination other than those that will help me fulfll my social and political yearnings.

i will most likely start in west africa. i am very low maintenance, and need nothing but a bed and an occasional internet connection (a backpacker with an occasional comfort need). i will be working on a illustrated children's book (in english and danish) on human rights, and presentations on the aesthetic and cultural wealth of countries such as liberia, malawi and sierra leone. the longterm dream is to become a western voice on a continent that has suffered political indifference for decades.

in terms of material issues:

- do you think it is possible to fund at least 3-4 months of travelling (like you, i am going to stay at least a month in one place) with 5000$?
- what are the pitfalls when it comes to one's romantic preconceptions about africa and life in the fast lane (the travel lane): does one need to be extremely well-prepared before leaving? (finances, insurance, gear, etc...)
- what would a typical month of lodging cost?
- what does an addiction to technology cost? (access to internet, availability of such access - expenses that are not necessary, but highly appreciated)
- visas: do those things HAVE to be planned ahead?
- is it tangible to hitch-hike in western africa, or east-africa for that matter? is it tangible to travel by bus? (prices?) Is it expensive to rent a car? is it recommended to travel by car alone?
- what things should i consider "no-go's"?
- would you think that it would be possible of inding jobs here and there, while on the road? (i'm a faboulous teacher, and speak danish, english and french fluently).

as you can see, my worries are mostly financial, and are increased by the fact that i'm a leaving an active life behind. could i only afford the plane ticket there, and the first month, i would still go, and i know that i would be able to take care of thing once there. but you probably understand better than anyone else, that during times of change, and uncertainty, travelling comes with tremendous stress, and growth.

whatever time you can put aside to answer to worries would be greatly appreciated.

sincerely - jeppe

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