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Monday, 22 March 2010

A Sierra Leone Adventure - Page 6

Written by David Utekin
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There is an instinct inside many of us, a raw natural urge that draws us to the Road. It is a longing for the excitement of the unknown, the freedom a traveler feels when waking up in a place unfamiliar to him, not knowing where he will find himself tomorrow. It is the sense of liberty that comes with putting yourself in the hands of fate and waiting to see what life throws your way. A land of coups and diamond smugglers, Sierra Leone had always caught my imagination, and now that peace and stability has returned once again it is accessible to visitors. It seemed like the perfect antidote to the tedium and monotony of university life. On one dreary summer afternoon I found myself in Heathrow airport boarding a plane to Freetown with my girlfriend, Tash, and two close friends, Fred and Anwen.

Freetown was a fascinating place to spend our last few days in the country. It exudes energy and we discovered there were few better ways to pass the time there than simply walking through the busy streets, taking in that intoxicating blend of colors, sounds and smells that characterize urban Africa. When this sensory onslaught became too much, we would head down to the bars and restaurants that line Lumley Beach for a Star Beer and a session on the shisha pipes – a legacy of several generations of Lebanese families that settled in this part of West Africa.

Our time in Sierra Leone had passed in a flash. I couldn’t help feeling that we had barely even scratched the surface of this magical country. There had been ups and downs A Sierra Leone Adventure, Adventures in Sierra Leone, travel Sierra Leone, travel Freetown, River No.2 Beach, travel west africa, Turtle Islands, Great Scarcies River, Guma River, Plantain Island, Sei Island, Sab’s Restaurant, Bo, West African Pygmy Hippo, Kono, Tommy Trenchardaplenty but it was with a distinct sadness that we boarded the ferry to the airport, watching Freetown fade into the haze behind us.

Christopher McCandless, immortalized in the film ‘Into the Wild,’ once wrote that, “The very core of a man's living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun”. This seems especially poignant in Sierra Leone, a land dominated by the bizarre and the unexpected, and for a group of restless students it provided a much needed escape from routine and security. Now that it is stable and the bands of AK toting teenagers are a thing of the past, this may just be the perfect time to visit this sparkling gem of a country.

©David Utekin

(Page 6 of 6)
Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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