Leaving the truly great Tanzania - at last! Maybe;)
Tanzania is truly great! But it's more than time to leave.
I hardly dare to count how much time I've spent in Tanzania? In first round my sister came to visit, while I was trying to locate a ship to Comoros. We had a great time together in Zanzibar and in total that period must amount to around 18 days. That also includes waiting for the train in Mbeya and being on the train as well.
Since I returned from the Indian Ocean, I have basically just been waiting for my Burundi visa. I've done a lot of stuff while waiting, but it was the waiting which grounded me here in Tanzania. So round 2 has now reached 27 days and counting. This is important, because if you were to spend 45 days in every country in the world then you would be traveling for more than 24 years!! And I do on some level want to go home already now.
I've been privileged though! Since the last blog and this one I have divided my time between staying at the Lighthouse Beach Lodge and with a great family of 4. Let's start with the Lighthouse.
As you may remember I met Helene and Eivind Tungland from Norway. They have been living in Tanzania for many years and both their children were born here. They literally built the Lighthouse Beach Lodge on an empty plot near the ocean 2 hours from Dar Es Salaam. It was once their home, but now it's solely a lodge: http://www.lighthousebeachlodge.com/
I had to ask for half sized portions like this one ;)
Helene had been telling me to go there from the first time we started writing together. And with additional delays towards my Burundi visa, I suddenly had the opportunity. That's were I left you last week. I had just waisted more than an hour trying to get an Airtel simcard, and then I boarded the harbor ferry, and was on my way. The Lighthouse Beach Lodge is pure magic. It's such a pocket of tranquility, where you fall asleep listening to the soothing sounds of crickets and ocean waves. Every meal served was delicious and plentiful and the staff was like caring family. I loved the architecture, which invited for exploration of all the little details. It's not hard to imagine Helene and Eivind being happy there in their own personal tranquility. And now they shared it with me. I thoroughly needed it, but didn't realize it. At least not until I was there. The beach offers all you could ever need, and there is generally just something pleasing about being at the ocean without having to hear traffic.
I even found the energy to start running again. Back home (before the Saga) I was a keen runner. But recently in Zambia I found that I was struggling to run even 6km (3.7mi). Quite embarrassing for someone like me. I mean...I completed a full marathon in 3h 40min 2 weeks before the Saga! So I put on my trainers and did 5km (3.1mi) on the beach in the sand for 3 consecutive days. It felt really good!
Helene and Eivind treated me to 4 nights at the lodge and that was just perfect! Can you believe I never met either of them until 4 weeks ago? It just goes to say that a stranger is a friend you've never met before.
For whatever reason I feel sad now. I cannot even describe why, because there is so much which is good. And it's certainly not my surroundings, because I was immediately invited back to stay with Charlotte and Morten. They are both from Denmark and have two daughters: Savannah and Summer. My relation to them began shortly after I reached Tanzania for round 2. Morten is the country manager at Maersk Line in Tanzania. And I have recently been on a number of Maersk ships within the Indian Ocean. So in short that lead to a lunch and later on Morten invited me out for dinner with his family. That lead to me house sitting for them, while they went for a weekend trip to Zanzibar. And after that I kind of just merged into the family routine until I went to the Lighthouse.
This entire family!!! I feel like I have known them forever :)
This family is so amazing and they have taken really good care of me. While Morten has been at work, I have had lots of time with Charlotte and their 2 little rascals. If I wanted to be on my own, then I had the liberty to do that too. I have basically been living under the most optimal conditions lately and for a long while. But still I feel a sadness inside me? I wonder if it relates to my stolen bag? Or that I feel I'm spending too much time with not enough progress? Or the uncertainty of a few upcoming countries? Or something else completely?
Now: draw lines between the stars.
There's is something I haven't told any of you. The Saga lost its financial sponsorship from Ross Offshore back in March 2016. Since than the Saga has been self funded and that is no long term solution. Ross Offshore is in a business which keeps them highly sensitive towards the oil prices, and in January 2016 I received an email stating: "Dear Thor, we regret to inform you..." In January I was already in trouble way over my head. That was right around when I gave up on the Saga and wanted to quit it all. Yes, that was when we were stuck in Central Africa with all its nasty bureaucracy which had a choke hold on the Saga. The email from Ross regretted their board room decision, but it had to be like that. It stated that the Saga would be funded by them until the end of March 2016. With my head preoccupied by more serious matters than finances I quickly asked one of the Sagas other 4 sponsors to step up to the task of financial sponsorship. They were happy and exited to get deeper involved, but first had to have an approval from their head office. That approval never came...but it took several months before I learned that to be a fact. So in a sense I wasted a lot of time with that. I eventually fought my way out of Central Africa and entered the pleasant logistics of Southern Africa. Now I had more time for solving the financial question. And several things have been laid out on the table. Nothing, however, has borne any fruit. Then 3-4 months a very promising idea appeared and I have been working hard on bringing that idea to life ever since. That idea was the entire reason for why I desperately needed to reach Cape Town in South Africa. Unfortunately, the idea was shot down (twice) recently. But you know me: We keep on keeping on! So I'm not done with that idea and I'll keep it under the lid until it's time to reveal it. It's not just an idea...it's a MASTERPIECE! For them and for the Saga. I have had much support so far to reach amazing results, but as of yet it has not borne any fruit. Let's give it more time ;)
Yup, this is how far we've come now ;)
So, yes...I'm a little sad. It's a sadness which I'm stuck with for now. But I have a remedy which might take some of it away. Because after 4 weeks of waiting I finally have the Burundi visa in my passport. Today I'm boarding a 48 hour train ride to Kigoma near Burundi. And from there we'll see if the way forward will be by boat or by bus. But country number 117: Here we come!
Tinga Tinga. Look it up online :)
You know, don't worry about the finances of this project. It's not the lack of money that gets to me. It's the the lost opportunity which stings. I see great things which still have to come. But I see them as clear as my hand in front of me. Too many people just see their feet and it's overwhelmingly frustrating! I've been to a few countries, where it felt like missing opportunities was something endemic. The Saga counts over 20,000 online followers now and is steadily growing as more people discover it. If everyone paid $2 then the Saga would be set for its remaining duration of approximately 2 years and 3 months. So I'm not worried as I'm sure the money will come from somewhere. But it has always been my intention that those who wanted to take part in the Saga could do so for free. So I'm not really keen on crowdfunding the remaining adventure. But we'll see.
I have been thinking something lately. And you're not going to like it. I've been thinking: "Maybe we've reached the end of the line. Maybe I should go home". But I won't go home...and I will not quit. The Saga is over when I reach the last country in the world! Because around here we: KEEP ON KEEPING ON!
Thanks for playing folks. Let's play another round ;)
Mr. Torbjørn C. Pedersen (Thor) - round 2
"A stranger is a friend you've never met before"
ONCE UPON A SAGA