A Travelers Head in a Book

An overland tour in Africa means you’ll be on the road for many hours. I love road trips and the journey is as important as the destination. I just love looking out the window looking at the changes in the scenario. Watching people of different cultures in their daily life.

I also love listening to my music and letting my brain go wherever it wants. Sometimes it wants to daydream, other times it just wants to meditate. In these moments I feel away from everything, but so connected at the same time. Sometimes I think about my family and friends. There are moments I’m mentally writing a blog post. It doesn’t feel like I’m in a group.

This makes it hard to consistently read a book. One book can last an entire trip and sometimes I don’t even finish it. When I travel, reading is not a priority as I can do that back home.
Some of the travelers in my group were the absolute opposite: they would read as much as they could or just sleep it out. One of the girls couldn’t take her head out her Kindle. In around 45 days in Africa, she read more than 10 books!

On the same trip, the driver and cook were always listening to music while on the road. There was a day that I got enthusiastic about the wonderful African sounds I was hearing. I suggested they turn on the music for the passenger cabin so we could all enjoy it. One of the travelers complained out loud, preferring silence. So they turned off the music.

The group was having dinner at a campsite one night. As usual, the cook, the driver, and the group leader were listening to African music that I was enjoying. We all heard a comment by a fellow traveler that said something like “this music is crap!”. Unfortunately, my African friends also heard the comment.

Everybody has the right to dislike a certain type of music. You also have the right to want silence. It’s your trip so you have the right to do whatever you want. What I don’t like is rudeness, not respecting fellow travelers and the locals. When in a group, I try not to do anything to “castrate” the experience for others. If that means I have to slightly change my habits, behavior or preferences, so be it.

For me, traveling is not just about checklists of places to see. It’s also about the experience. Smells, sounds, scenery, food and culture are a big part of the experience.

I respect other people’s choices, but when I feel others are forcing their style, we have a problem. Even group travel can be a personal experience. When somebody forces a style, the nature of the trip can change, frustrating expectations.

I normally go along with the group and do what I feel like without forcing my style on others, but I did not go to Africa to sleep, read or do the things that I usually do at home. Group travel can be challenging when members have different styles.

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