Life in Yaoundé

I have been living in Cameroon Yaoundé since August 2015 – about 8 months now.

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Discovered a passion for clouds lately 🙂

I wrote several posts about our life and experiences here but decided not to publish them…

WHY, well, my goal is to portray the GOOD about life in Central Africa; A lot is already said about, poverty, corruption, lack of infrastructures, Medical services, the WEIGHT of the African family etc… In my opinion, not enough is written about the positive side…

Until now, the only people I directly interacted with were my family in law and my employees; I have not been able yet to really meet enough new people and make friends; so, I feel like my opinion might be bias and would not fully reflect how it is to live here as all I do at moment is work/home.

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View of my plantation

I am having a hard time adjusting to life here, and this has nothing to do with the country itself, I “like” the city of Yaoundé; I am talking about the people, the mentality. You might think but you are originally  from Central Africa; yes but I left as a child and lived over 30 years abroad, the transition back to my roots is really hard. I have lived in different places and even continents like the Middle East where the culture is completely different; but living here is a whole new dimension that takes time and a LOT OF PATIENCE to adapt to.

I would like to say I like living here; it is not true yet, but I am working at it. I found a Zumba Class I love already; so that’s a + (plus); I met a group of ladies I had the pleasure to spend some time with and hope this will grow into some friendship… I also joined a gym I quite enjoy; so slowly, life is taking place…. and I am sure it will just get easier and better once I start having a social life.

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I love watching a “fire”, so beautiful…

The things I don’t miss about the western world are: receiving all kinds of letters through the mail box, life at 100 miles/h…

What I miss here in Cameroon are the infinite options you have when you leave your home… Malls, parks, cinemas, libraries, real supermarket (Tesco/Carrefour), ordering Domino’s Pizza :), etc…

You have to be very creative to have fun in Yaoundé, as I am not at all into night life; my options are very limited.

I am discovering the city little by little. I am sure there is a lot more I still don’t know about the place.

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Food: organic fruits and vegetables are available at all seasons and the variety is just amazing.

What else, the weather! I guess, 20+ degrees all year around can’t be bad :).

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First impression of Bangkok…

Before I start talking about my impression of Bangkok; lets rewind a little and lets talk about the packing list.

Since I shared my packing list on the previous post, I changed a lot of things. To start with, I travelled with the small luggage rather than the backpack… The main reason was that it was more convenient and I could pack more things in this (i.e some Food). The 2nd and certainly true reason was that travelling with a backpack was more an old dream I could not part with… the dream of when I was 18 and wanted to travel the world with a backpack like a true traveler 🙂 – that dream never left me, now in my VERY early 40 (notice the stress on early, part of me still wanted  to be a backpacker for some strange reasons; not that you cannot be a backpacker at any age… now that I wrote the previous post, packed all my items in the backpack, I feel accomplished, I feel like I can now let go of the backpacker dream. It does not mean that I will never travel with a backpack but at least, it won’t be for the wrong reasons…

1432989603307(1)Back to the beautiful city of Bangkok. First impression was WOW… never been to that part of the world, I had no expectations about this city, I always heard how it is a poor country…

I was pleasantly surprised by how this city is beautifully made, the airport alone is a monument.

The people are so respectful, friendly and so nice.

Their taxi system from the airport is excellent, there is a queue, everyone gets a ticket with the driver’s name and the lane number. Never seen anything so organised elsewhere.

The other cute thing is the number of bright coloured taxis, we got a pink one, I was so excited until…. the taxi driver came out, very rude, called me names, drove like a mad man almost getting into an accident… did not want to see the name of the hotel I was showing him… did a hand gesture… like I know… we were not sure we will arrive… I had to threaten him to call the police on him if he did not calm down… he was angrily talking and moving all over the place until we reached our hotel, I think he was a bit coucou in the head… we gave him whatever money he asked for… we were all shocked, took our belongings and headed into the hotel.

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We were nicely greeted by the staff, given the key of our room…

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Once in, everything was just right and soothing; in no time, we had forgotten the bad experience with the driver.

It was already 10 pm by the time we arrived; so jumped into the nice shower, PJs and bed.

Overall, a positive first impression… there are bad apples everywhere.

Namaste

RTW trip! WHERE TO START?

RTW stands for Round The World, many friends and family asked me the meaning. But if like me, you are planning or have done your RTW trip, you certainly already know that.

So planning a RTW trip! WHERE TO START?

All I knew when I started my journey into formalising into paper my dream of doing a RTW was just that: A dream.

I had no idea how to go about it or even where to start.

I had sleepless nights reading hundreds of blog posts on the subject; It became an obsession. Although I learned a lot; it also confused me as there were so many contradictory stories as everyone is different and has different means of going about it. But, one common thing that I could read on all these blogs is planning a trip of this magnitude is not an easy task. It takes time and commitment, some would have planned it their whole life, some less.

We were “fashion” victims consumerism family, new gadgets, new clothes, new everything every year whether we could afford it or not. Our house is filled with so much stuff; we could never use it all if we were to live until 100.

Planning this trip, helped me to look into my finances and spending habits very closely, I discovered that I had next to 90 pair of shoes and many that I never even wore…. Ridiculous; but that another blog post for later.

So in order to fund this trip, I first started planning where I wanted to go in the world; we already visited many countries on vacation such as India, Australia, South Africa, Many countries in Europe, USA (DC, Miami, Key west, Florida….), Africa (Gabon, Cameroon, Morocco, Ethiopia…), Middle East (Bahrain lived there for 3 years, Dubai, Oman…). Because we had already visited these countries, I did not include them in our itinerary.

As I am traveling with my daughters, I want my girls to finish this adventure with a skill for life: among everything else long time traveling can teach us, the Spanish language is the one skill I want us all to master.

 

Our itinerary:

South America for one whole year, we will slow travel and spend months in one single place to learn the language and the culture.  I am planning to stay 3 months in Bolivia, 3 months in Chile, 3 months in Mexico and 3 months in Peru. We will be visiting other neighbouring countries along the way.

Then 9 months in South East Asia in particular Thailand but also South Korea, China and Japan.

To finish we will return to Europe with Italy, Germany and East Europe (Poland, Slovakia…).

I am planning to travel for 2 years.

Funds to travel:

“Travel is never a matter of money but of courage” Paulo Coelho, Aleph

You don’t have to be a millionaire to travel the world.

There is no magical way for organising a trip of that scale, unless you win the lottery, most people had to make serious sacrifices in order to realise their dream; we are not different.

I don’t have a big pay job, I am actually self-employed, and I live on a budget. Like everyone else, the only way for me to be able to accomplish this dream is to SAVE SAVE and SAVE some more.

So how on earth I am going to fund this trip (I hear you ask). I started selling everything I own which is also part of our minimalism journey. I opened a “travel account” where I deposit every month some money. I cancelled every luxury items like cable TV, expensive mobile/Internet contracts etc.; we eat out less and everything we don’t spend goes on that account. I will be selling all my furniture and my car three months before we leave.

I started an online business six months ago which I can operate anywhere in the world; it is building gradually and this business will be my main source of income when we will be on the road.

I also work freelance as French/English Analyst/Translator. I will continue this job while on the road as it is all done online.

To Finish I have under my belt years of experience in teaching French as a second language abroad to adults and children. It is a job that does not require a work visa in many countries and I also give online French conversational session via Skype.

 Above anything else, as Paulo Coelho states: “Travel is never a matter of money but of courage”

I agree with this saying, it takes courage to do something out of the ordinary, when I told friends and family of my plans; I faced consternation and disbelieve. Most people are afraid to travel not because they can’t afford it but mainly because they are afraid of the unknown and also for safety reasons. But who can blame them, you just have to ON the television to see how wrong our world is going but is it enough to no travel? Not for me; although I am very anxious and at the same time very existed to the prospect before us; having already traveled in different countries, I know what this world has to offer and there is so much more I want to experience; and, to share these experiences with my girls make this trip extra special.

“Whenever we take a chance and enter unfamiliar territory or put ourselves into the world in a new way, we experience fear. Very often this fear keeps us from moving ahead with our lives. The trick is to FEEL THE FEAR AND DO IT ANYWAY.”

Susan Jeffers

Like everywhere in the world, we have to use common sense regarding safety.