Today is my last day in Addis. I’m actually here one day longer than I hoped since I never got my bus ticket out yesterday. You generally need to do it a day in advance and finding bus stations can be quite the grueling experience. Myself and a Canadian guy I met at the guest house are both heading to Harar so we agreed to group up and search for the bus station today. It has been a long day of walking but we finally managed to get that piece of business taken care of. The rest of the day I’ll be relaxing and tomorrow we head out at 5:30am for a 10 hour bus ride.
The guy I’m traveling with right now had just come from Somaliland and in fact had passed through both southern Somalia and Puntland, two places certainly off-limits to tourists. This guy is a wealth of knowledge about travel around the world. He uses a term I haven’t heard yet called “freestyle” travel. It is independent travel but with less reservations about what is going to happen next and flexibility to deal with just about any situation that may come up. He has been country hopping for 18 years and has seen about 160 countries. He is in Addis visiting embassies and trying to obtain visas for some countries he’ll be heading to next. I find myself in awe listening to him talk. He was interviewed when he arrived in Mogadishu and there have been some reports about him. One of which can be seen here: I also find myself realizing that as adventurous as I feel, what I’m doing is in no way dangerous. I’m still on a beaten path of other backpackers.
I still don’t have an exit strategy for the Horn yet. From the two people that I’ve met so far that just came from Somaliland it seems that only a couple of days is enough. The cost of travel between towns is too expensive to stay for awhile and in general the country doesn’t offer much in the way of tourism. I’m going to start looking up flights to different places and probably decide where I’m going next when I’m in Hargeisa.
If I’ve learned anything from my current travel partner, it is to keep my options open and I’m really happy I didn’t buy a ticket out of Africa before arriving. I literally can do anything I want right now and that feeling is liberating. I have absolutely NO idea where I will be in 3 weeks.