Edit: Alright everyone, thanks so much for the questions, comments and kind words, the responce to this has been truly overwhelming and amazing. I've been answering questions for about 6 hours almost non-stop now, but it's 1:30am and I need to get some sleep. I'll return and continue answering questions tomorrow because there are still a lot of good ones I have not gotten to yet. Thanks again, goodnight!

Hi everyone!

First, here is a short photo album of my journey: Across Africa in a Year and a Half (2012-2013)

On December 28th of 2011, I set out on a one-way flight to Cape Town, South Africa, not knowing what I was doing or when I'd return home. I ended up spent the next year and a half traveling the entire length of the continent, all the way to Alexandria, Egypt and finally returning home to Seattle on July 3rd, of 2013.

Here is a very rough outline of the journey: I started in South Africa, planning to drive to Cairo with two South African guys. We made it through Mozambique, Malawi and into Tanzania, staying at backpackers and doing a bit of scuba diving before that trip fell apart due to not getting along. I flew back to Cape Town alone, went to AfrikaBurn, spent a month+ on a farm, then on the coast. From there I crossed into Botswana, where I spent a month with a British guy I met through Couchsurfing, then rode a single speed bike 1,500km across the country. In the Okavango delta I met a German guy who drove down Africa in a 74 VW, and we spent the next two months together, a month of that at an orphanage in Southern Zambia. We split up, I rode my bike another 900km through Zambia then tried to paddle the worlds longest lake alone in a traditional wooden boat. It did not go well, but was an amazing experience. I took a 100 year old ex-German warship the rest of the way up the lake, then rode buses and Couchsurfed my way through Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda and into Kenya. Unable to get a visa for overland entrance into Ethiopia, I flew from Nairobi, and spent an interesting but somewhat difficult month in Ethiopia. I was also unable to get a visa into Sudan and had to fly over it, one of the biggest disappointments of the trip. I arrived in Egypt, traveled the country by train and bus from one end to the other, leaving just two weeks before they threw out their president.

Some highlights: Simply saying 'yes' to the journey in the first place, scuba diving in Zanzibar, doing a safari in the Serengeti, going to AfrikaBurn, cycling across Botswana, paddling Lake Tanganyika, hiking in the Simian Mountains of Ethiopia and finally reaching Egypt, accomplishing my goal of crossing Africa and most importantly the people I met on the way.

Some lowlights: The initial 4x4 across Africa trip failing, having most of my possessions stolen in Zambia, laying semi-conscious and shitting blood for 3 days in Tanzania, and saying goodbye to a place I love.

Death: I've been in villages when there have been children killed by lions and crocs, where thieves were stoned to death by a group of students, where a man was stabbed to death in a goat raid, heard stories of cerebral malaria killing in only three days, a shooting rampage in Ethiopia and saw the aftermath of a minibus crash that killed all 13 on board. Life is cheap.

I never thought I would: Travel up Africa in the first place, sit on a crocodile, go three weeks without seeing another white person, eat elephant meat, do the dressing on a fresh male circumcision, cycle the Trans-Kalahari, and be an honored guest of local headmen.

Internationalism: I would find myself at parties with as many as 10 different nationalities. Mostly through Couchsurfing, I stayed with people from South Africa, England, America, France, Spain, Russia, Sudan, India, Ethiopia, Egypt, Uganda, Tanzania, Italy, Slovakia, Germany, Botswana, Kenya and more.

Transportation: I used just about every method possible. Driving in a 4x4, taking buses, hitch hiking, riding trains, bicycles, canoes, motor boats, donkey carts, airplanes, sailboats, motorcycles, walking and more.

Accomidations: Everything from mud and grass huts to 4-star condos. I found myself sleeping in logging camps, I've slept on bags of fish while on a boat, countless random couches, laying in the sand of the Kalahari, the homes of cattle ranchers and the homes of many, many Peace Corps volunteers.

Overall: Africa is amazingly safe, expect for when it's not! Most people love America (although don't understand it at all). My experience with Africans was overwhelmingly positive, the hospitality was simply incredible. Africa is undergoing some extremely rapid change, and those growing pains will have major consequences and last well into the future.

Here is my blog, some of the best posts are as follows:

Paddling Lake Tanganyika in a Leaky Wooden Boat. - This is where I tried to paddle the worlds longest lake in a traditional wooden boat, alone.

Cycling Across Botswana: The Single Speed Adventure, Part I - Cycling across Botswana on a single speed bike because the book said not to cycle across Botswana.

An excursion to Port St Johns, Amapondo Backpackers and reflections on six months in Africa - My favorite backpackers in Africa and one of the most beautiful places.

Ethiopia Part II: Lalibela, Gondar & The Semien Mountains - Ethiopia, probably the most fascinating country I visited in Africa.

An Old Volkswagen, A New Country and a House Full of Kids - Traveling in a 74 VW camper, crossing into Zambia and staying at an orphanage.

I'm looking forward to answering as many questions as I can, with plenty of stories, useful advice and photos, so Reddit, AMA!

Edit: Wow! The response for this is pretty overwhelming! I'm doing my best to answer questions, and will get to as many as I can tonight and into tomorrow as well. Thank you everyone for the interest and for the questions!

(Uh, anyone want to sponsor my next adventure? Haha... I'm only joking.... sort of....)

Another edit: thanks for the kind words everyone, you all are inspiring ME! Thank you, thank you all

Edit: Alright everyone, thanks so much for the questions, comments and kind words, the responce to this has been truly overwhelming and amazing. I've been answering questions for about 6 hours almost non-stop now, but it's 1:30am and I need to get some sleep. I'll return and continue answering questions tomorrow because there are still a lot of good ones I have not gotten to yet. Thanks again, goodnight!

Comments: 1482 • Responses: 42  • Date: 

k_onda_guey561 karma

Did you hook up with any beautiful black women?

ninefivezero290 karma

I should have known this would be the top comment haha.... let me leave you with this from my blog:

As I walked back to find a place to sit and wait, a rather annoying woman came up to me and asked what I was doing. I told her I was looking for the bus and she grabbed my hand and said she would help me. I didn’t really want to be around her but she was very insistent, and I figured what the hell. The bus was supposed to pass in about half an hour, then I could get the cheaper ticket, so she proposed we sit down for a coffee. It was obvious she was just trying to get something from me but I figured I could pay for a 100 franc coffee (15 cents) and maybe she would prove useful. She then began ordering food which I told her I wouldn’t pay for, and kept trying to feed me out of her hand, which honestly was gross. We talked for a few minutes, and eventually I asked her what she did. She mumbled a bit, but said “I’m a prostitute”, which I didn’t catch the first time so she said it two more times, haha. I’m used to African women coming onto me just because I’m a white man, with dollars in their eyes, and I guess on that level it isn’t so different, but this one was just a straight up prostitute. Eventually a man from Jaguar, a different bus company, showed up and even though he was offering a ticket for 6,000 rather than the 5,000 I was hoping for, I took it just to get away from this woman. I paid for the two coffees but refused to pay for the food she had ordered (she walked away from the table without paying for the food she had ordered and eaten part of), then she kept asking me where I was staying. I refused to tell her. I hopped a moto hoping she didn’t have money to get one herself and I could get away, but she hopped on one as well and seemed to be trying to follow me. After a few blocks, her driver was just ahead of mine, so I quickly tapped mine on the shoulder and had him suddenly turn off onto a dirt road before she could see where I’d gone. I paid the driver and made my get away, glad to have escaped from this woman.

From the post: Rwanda Part II: Wonderful Lake Kivu and the journey to Uganda

Edit: a few girls wanted to marry me, one told me I didn't own enough cows though.

Headshot2theDome349 karma

This all sounds incredibly awesome! The only thing is that any time i hear of someone doing something like this I think "how the hell could they afford it?" Ill take great memories any day over money but I was wondering all in all how much a trip like that set you back?

ninefivezero420 karma

Honestly I'm still not sure what the total price was. I never set out to do a budget trip, but I also was careful about spending most of the time. Here is what I do know:

Before leaving, I sold my 07 Subaru Impreza for $13,500, and made another $4,000 or so from selling off things in my home. Plus existing savings (which I was surprised to have, because before this trip I spent six months backpacking in Asia) I left home with a good chunk of cash in the bank.

I set out with two South African guys in a 4x4, however before doing that we had to fix up and outfit the vehicle, which cost a fair amount of money though I'm not sure exactly sure how much now. Before leaving I bought a lot of toys, $800 in scuba gear and another $700 on GoPro camera gear and a new laptop. When we were driving, and that was from South Africa, through Mozambique, Malawi and into Tanzania, we stayed at backpackers places, which meant paying to camp every night (in a tent instead of a room to save money). We cooked a lot, but in that kind of atmosphere it's easy to buy dinner instead, and especially to buy drinks. Before that leg of the journey fell apart, me and one guy paid something like $750 for a five-day safari in Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater‎. Although worth it, it's a lot to spend at once. At one point, a broken laptop forced me to spend another $250 on a new one, so unexpected expenses can come up from time to time.

When that leg of the trip finally ended and I was on my own, things got VASTLY cheaper. I began using Couchsurfing, and in the next 15 months, probably only paid for a place to sleep just over a month. I may have spent less money in the next year than I did in the first three months! People frequently invited me into their homes, gave me places to stay, fed me and gave me whatever else I needed. I always did my best to return the favor.

I'm sorry I don't have an exact figure to give here, but if I had to guess I'd say I spent around $20,000. BUT DON'T LET THAT SCARE YOU AWAY. I did nice things from time to time, I never worried about going out to eat at a decent place on occasion, and I did a few high-ish end tourist activities that add up fast. There were months when I was only spending like $100, and I met people traveling on even less. Often you can get local food for $1-2 a meal, and a room for under $5 depending where you are.

Knowing what I know now, if I had wanted to, I probably could have done and seen 90% of what I did on this trip for a few grand. I met people hitching across Africa and paying nothing. I met people working and making money while traveling, and so on. Travel doesn't have to be expensive, it just depends on what you want to see and what your comfort levels are!

Musicprotocol221 karma

$20,000 ??? jesus christ man.. I've been saving up for a year to 18 months of travel I have $50,000 saved and I wasnt sure that was enough.... thank you.

ninefivezero199 karma

Travel is a skill and an ART, the more you do it the better you get at it.

Right now I could probably fly to Africa with $2,000 and spend the next 10 years there if I wanted, although I'd probably have to find a cush job at a resort or something part of the time ;)

For $50,000, you can see the whole world if you do it right!

masonvd24 karma

I know the AMA is meant to be about your trip to Africa but could you give a little detail on the 6 months in Asia? That's pretty much my dream trip at this point.

ninefivezero32 karma

No problem, dig into a few of my posts and let me know if you have some specific questions. My trip in Asia was originally a 3 week trip, and it is how I fell in love with traveling the world. It was a VERY different kind of trip than Africa, kind of travel 101 and I've grown and changed a lot since then, but I love the place and would recommend it to anyone.

Genocide, Rocket Lanunchers and Buddha: Just Another Day in Cambodia

Rock Climbing on Railay, Does it Get Any Better Than This?

An Indian Wedding!

Life on the Dali Lamas Doorstep

The Unforgettable Everest Base-camp and Gokyo Valley Hike

opheodrys42 karma

And how are you spending money while in Africa with all the different currencies? I imagine rural areas have a different system as well.

ninefivezero98 karma

ATMs are becoming amazingly common. Most towns on main roads have an ATM and an internet cafe, even in pretty undeveloped areas. You still have to plan ahead and make sure you have enough cash to get to the next spot, but I almost never had problems. I always kept a week or two of local currency from the ATM on me, and usually around $150 in USD.

The only times I had money problems was in Burundi. It's one of the poorest nations on earth, extremely undeveloped and the ONLY place you can get money off a card is at the central bank in the capital of Bujumbura. I found myself on the other end of the country and running out of local cash, but the solution was simple. Because I always carry USD on me (every traveler should, it's the standard across Africa, much more so than Euros) and went to a money changer. Problem solved.

ThatsTasty119 karma

I've wanted to do something similar for eons. For now I'm saving up (well, paying off debt from previous travels, then saving up) for the big day.

  1. Is something like this feasible for a woman travelling solo?
  2. How did cycling go? I'd love to bike on a trip like this. Were the parts of Africa you visited cycling friendly? Are there maps, or did you stick to roads? Can you even find bike parts in the middle of Malawi??

Amazing story and pics, and thanks for your input!

ninefivezero182 karma

1) Absolutely a woman can do it in Africa, but you will face more challenges. Every part of Africa I visited was still VERY much male dominated, but as a white foreigner you will almost always be treated far better than they treat the local women. I met a few solo women in Africa, the three that stand out to me were an 18 year old Scottish girl who was maybe 4'11'', and a Japanese girl riding from Nairobi to Cape Town and a woman from Argentina who spent 3 years in Africa. You will have an easier time if you move slowly, such as working/volunteering in a place because then the people will get used to seeing you around, but in truly rural places people are usually just so curious to see a white person that they will help you no matter what. Most of the time they complained about cat calls, or people staring (get used to it, especially if you have blond/long hair) and occasionally men groping them on public buses. There are plenty of horror stories out there, such as the recent acid attack in Zanzibar, but honestly those are pretty rare and Africa is a hell of a lot safer and more friendly than people think it is.

2) Cycling was AMAZING. My sister did a year long, 15,000 solo around America and I've wanted to do a bike trip ever since. I never planned on it, but when I read the book saying not to cycle across Botswana, I decided to say screw that and go for it. I did it on a one speed bike I bought for $124, did the whole thing in flip flops, and had a wonderful time. I think it's one of the best ways to travel, because there is no barrier between you and the people, which makes a huge difference. I absolutely loved the freedom having a bike gave me.

Africa is not especially cycle friendly, but it's not really unfriendly either. In Botswana, NO ONE cycles, so everyone was amazed to see me, gave me TONS of space on the road, and word of me spread across the country actually. In Zambia on the other hand, locals cycle all the time and cars don't like them. The only rule on roads in most of Africa is the bigger thing has the right of way, so be prepared to MOVE.

I stuck to roads, paved most of the time, sometimes dirt. Again, I was on a single speed bike not made for touring. Then again, it would be hard to do anything other than ride paved/dirt roads. Maps were frequently hard to find and locals don't know how to read them, so bring your own from home. Parts are VERY hard to find, with the exception of a few capital cities, so plan on bringing all the important stuff you will need.

theground2184 karma

Haha I can just imagine a bunch of Botswanans talking about some crazy white man riding a damn bicycle across the country.

PhillyD8757 karma

in flip flops.

ninefivezero10 karma

I think I put on shoes less than 10 times in 18 months, and in the last year, only twice!

thombudsman118 karma

How often and under what circumstances did you get laid?

ninefivezero126 karma

Let me just show you the dance floor at a backpackers in Malawi:


myemailiscool48 karma

so uh what's goin' on in the top right-hand portion of this picture OP?

ninefivezero62 karma

Folks gettin jiggy wit it.

KamikazeRhombus104 karma

What was the scariest thing you yourself experienced? I'd love to go to Africa, but as with traveling other places abroad you need to be safe to avoid certain groups/areas, etc.

ninefivezero218 karma

Without doubt, the biggest danger in Africa is traffic. Here is photos of the crash I mentioned in the OP: http://imgur.com/a/VbZUI

What happened was a minibus was driving with a bald tire, it blew out, the driver lost control, turned in front of a dump truck and was t-boned. It killed all 13 people inside, and the road and car were covered in blood. People were screaming, crying and soldiers and police were everywhere.

I've almost crashed on motorcycles dozens of times, either riding myself or as the passenger of a moto taxi. Driving full speed, lane splitting, overloaded bikes, it all happens and every day, every hour, people are dying. The only way to avoid it is to stay off the roads, but to be safest, avoid night buses (I rode them all the time), don't take moto taxies even though sometimes they are only only way through a traffic jammed city, and travel on the biggest buses you can. usually there are good bus companies and bad bus companies, by just looking at the bus it's easy to tell.

Other than that, the most important thing to know about safety in Africa is that crime, like in most of the world, is concentrated in the cities. African cities tend to be pretty slummy places and I'm not a big fan. The most likely problems are pick pocketing, as poor people move into the cities and find no jobs, they need to do something to get by. White people are an obvious target and I had a few attempts but stopped all of them by noticing it start to happen.

One final thing I'll mention is alcohol. It is probably the factor in a majority of violent incidents. Bars, and coming home from a bar are areas/times where you must be on your guard. I was frequently in places where you don't walk alone, even as a man, but taxis are cheap and worth it in those situations. That said, I went out to the dirtiest, most local bars I could find, had wonderful times and never had any serious problems.

KamikazeRhombus45 karma

Honestly not the answer I was expecting. Very interesting, thank you

ConsiderTheKing15 karma

What did you expect to hear? Lions and mosquitoes?

ninefivezero28 karma

It's a bit of a racist comment, and always spoken by white Africans in my experience, but what I heard over and over again is "The most dangerous animal in Africa is the people." After that, it's mosquitoes, then hippos. Thos things are REALLY dangerous.

FountainsOfFluids29 karma

Apparently just checking the tire conditions would be a big indicator of whether a company is safety conscious.

ninefivezero54 karma

ABSOLUTELY. I saw fatality crashes in every country I went through, I'd bet a large number of them were from running on bald tires. If I get a chance while answering all the other questions, maybe I'll post an album of crashes.

mrrockabilly97 karma

Ok... I haven't seen it asked, so I'll ask. Why were you shitting blood?

ninefivezero124 karma

Haha, this happened when I was trying to paddle Lake Tanganyika, it was food poising.

From my blog:

That night it happened (this is going to be a bit nasty, but hey, I gotta tell the truth), the worst food poisoning of my life and actually the first time I’ve even gotten sick in Africa. I’d been struggling to get to sleep and feeling uncomfortable when I began to alternate between shaking and shivering, and sweating and feeling like I was on fire. Waves of pain were rolling through my body from head to toe and I knew I was in a bad state. Really bad. My head was pounding, my mouth was dry, it felt like I was being kicked in the stomach and that I had razor blades in my intestines. I knew my body was going to evacuate itself shortly; I just didn’t know which end it would be coming from and tried to mentally prepare myself to experience the fury from both. Eventually the knots and pain in my stomach told me it was time to force myself to crawl on hands and knees out of my tent and let it rip. I got about 30 feet away before unleashing the most horrid diarrhoea I have ever experienced. I waited, squatting in the sand under the stars, trying to keep myself from falling over due to the pain and let the demons flow out of me in their unholy river. A few hours ago I felt like I was on top of the world, now I was headed somewhere very, very low.

When round-one finished, I dragged myself back to my tent, laying out tarps inside in case I couldn’t make it out in time during the next round and shit myself then and there. I was in such a bad state that even turning over in my tent from one side to the other was a ten minute mental struggle to force myself to move, followed by intense pain of actually moving, then trying to recover from that slight movement. All this to simply turnover, and I was still crawling out of the tent frequently relieve myself all night, a distance that got closer and closer as the night wore on and I was unable to get any rest. It was going to be a long night.

Day 5: After a sleepless night, probably what was the worst night of my life, the sun eventually made my tent too hot to stay in and I managed to drag myself into the shade of some bushes along with a piece of canvas to lay on. The pain in my stomach and in my gut was terrible radiating through my whole body. I was for large parts of the day, nearly unconscious, so weak I could hardly move and even so weak I literally couldn’t keep my eyes open. At one point I even fell over simply trying to stand up. Despite the pain and exhaustion, I was able to make it to the bush every time to relieve myself (though I never got far) and became a bit horrified when I began to see I was expelling blood along with the horrible bile that was inside me. I felt like I was dying.

Around 6pm a group of fisherman showed up, mostly just to have a look at the white man on the beach. I was feeling a bit better at this point, but still I wasn’t in much of a condition to be social. I couldn’t ignore their friendliness however, as they quickly pulled my boat up onto the beach and began doing some repairs (cotton stuffing) without my even asking. They then offered to take me out on the lake to go fishing in their boat but again due to my condition had to decline, though I wish I could have said yes. After they had left, the 10 minutes of sitting upright, walking a few meters here and there and forcing a smile left me so exhausted again I collapsed to the ground, happy to have my peace and solitude back.

Once again I spent the night unable to sleep for a single second, going between lying on the ground in pain and forcing myself to get up and shit my guts out in the sand as I stared at the stars, wishing this would all end.

Day 6: Two nights in a row without sleep, in addition to the pain and absolute inability to even think about eating. This has never happened to me before and it’s taking a heavy toll. Getting up to relieve myself is such an exhausting experience that the few meter walk leaves me sweating and out of breath for about 10 minutes. All food in my system was expelled long ago and at this point I’m not sure what’s coming out of me at this point, other than to say it’s green, yellow and filled with blood.

In the early afternoon a young boy and his brother, fishermen, come up to say hello. Again I force myself to be social, hell; I force myself to just stand up. The older of them speaks a little English and we talk for a few minutes. He then gives me a fish he caught as ‘a gift.’ I’m so grateful for the kindness the locals have shown me on my journey thus far I don’t have the heart to tell him I’m far too sick to even think about eating it, but I can’t refuse the fish and he and his brother paddle off.

That afternoon my spirits were very low, but I could feel myself getting better. I knew the worst was over. At this point I finally decided to take some antibiotics, something I generally try to avoid unless absolutely necessary but it was pretty clear it was necessary. That night I even got a few hours of sleep between getting up to empty my guts, but still probably only clocking about 5 hours. Still, better than 0 the last two nights.

mollycoddles98 karma

At this point I finally decided to take some antibiotics, something I generally try to avoid unless absolutely necessary


You had antibiotics the whole time?!?!

ninefivezero40 karma

It's not good to take them if you don't need them. I knew it was something that would pass in a day, or a few days, so i waited to see what would happen before taking heavy drugs.

Plus, when your body is emptying itself at that rate, you can't keep meds IN. I had to let it run a bit until I was more stable, otherwise I would have just shit them out as well and it would be a waste.

thesundaypost124 karma

This sounds like a nightmare (although the rest of the trip sounds incredible). I would be scared.... wait for it... shitless. Do you know what it was that gave you the poisoning?

ninefivezero25 karma

I think it was the fish I bought from this guy, but I can't be sure:


Could have been the 4-day old chapatti as well....

Kytescall5 karma

the worst food poisoning of my life and actually the first time I’ve even gotten sick in Africa.

But not the last?

ninefivezero18 karma

I got mild food poisoning two other times.

Amazingly low numbers, because I ate street food, tons of sketchy meat from sketchy places, often times drank local water, and had generally poor hand washing practices, haha. I guess I have a strong stomach, I got through two months in India without getting sick!

TreephantBOA85 karma

You said you ate elephant. I am curious. How do the people there feel about these and other endangered animals and how passionate can they be about protecting them? I'm not trying to give you a bad time about that. Just want to understand the perspective.

ninefivezero150 karma

That happened on a whim. I was in rural northern Botswana, in an area almost no foreigners go, traveling with my new German friend in his 74 VW. We met a local guy, he invited us to come see his property, we spent the day helping him clear brush and burning it that night and meeting his family. The next morning, he offered us some elephant meat from a recent kill.

It's a bad situation. The animals are being forced onto ever smaller pieces of land, as development and population increases come to Africa. This means people and animals are in each others territory, and guess what? The people have guns, the animals don't. I met a few locals concerned about species loss, but most don't even have the concept in their head. This guy we bought the elephant from, he was talking about some big lizzards that they used to eat, saying "there was plenty!" but that they were all gone. He went on to say it was happening to other species, but seemed to have no understanding of his own role in the situation. The fact is people need food, they eat anything and everything they find, and the results are very predictable.

The elephant we ate was one that was supposedly in someones farm. They are protected there, 'unless they are in someones farm', so we were told. The elephant was shot, the villagers came, took every last piece of it and that was that. It was so tough I wasn't even able to chew it, I had one bite, spit it out and we had to throw the rest away.

Here is a picture of getting the meat: http://i.imgur.com/ZvD4Jvp.jpg

And you can see the blog post about it here: An Old Volkswagen, A New Country and a House Full of Kids

ColaKoala78 karma

No one believes me when I tell them how safe Africa is compared to the US! I, as a lone white girl, traveled solo in South Africa, Malawi, Tanzania, and Namibia. I was also supposed to do research in Zimbabwe but could not get across the border even though I had received approval for my visa. The only time I ever felt unsafe in Africa was during a research trip in Lagos. It's a very big city and it's easy to feel small and lost there.

my questions:

  1. How much did you know about Africa before you went there, and what inspired you to go?

  2. did you speak any Swahili, MaShona, Xhosa, IsiZulu, or other local languages before you began your journey? If not, did you learn any African languages when you were there? I am not looking at the map right now but if I recall correctly you didn't go to any Lusophone or Francophone countries--did everyone speak English, or were you often unable to communicate?

  3. I want to go back to Africa, but my mother has told me she almost died of worry the last time, and if I go again she wants me to stay with a group or hire a bodyguard. Do you have any advice for me about this?

Thank you for sharing your incredible journey. If you want to hear about the best bits of mine (biking solo across all of Tanzania and then throughout most of KwaZulu Natal) pm me. :)

ninefivezero33 karma

I said it another place but I'll say it again. I met numerous westerners who said they felt safer in the African villages they were living in than they ever did back home. (the cities are another story however)

To answer your questions:

1) I knew almost nothing about Africa before setting out, or at least no more than your average American college grad. Which well, isn't much... haha. I did my learning on the fly and that made it constantly exciting and interesting. By talking to locals, expats, foreign volunteers and especially by reading the local news, you can learn a tremendous amount in a short amount of time. Add to that the wiki page on each country and you can come up with a pretty good base that will allow you some pretty solid insights.

What inspired me to go was a friend I met traveling in Asia. The very first day of my 6-month trip through Asia (Philippines, Cambodia, Thailand, India, Nepal) I met Chris in a backpackers in Manila, we spent a week traveling together, had a great time and said "Lets do it again some day!"

Here is that blog post from traveling with Chris in the Philippines: The Ups And Downs Of Travel. But Mostly The Ups (god my old blog posts were bad...)

When I came home from 6 months traveling Asia (and this was some backpacker 101 stuff, I've learned and changed and grown SO much since then...) I wanted to travel the world but felt like I couldn't. Two weeks after coming home and feeling really weird about it, I told my sister "I want to sell my things and travel the world but I can't." My sister replied with "Why not?" That was it, with that question I realized she was right, I could do it and from that moment on I began selling off my things to see the world. I was originally going to start in Mexico and work my way south when...

10 months later that he sent me a message on Facebook, saying pretty much "Hey, I'm going to buy a 4x4 and drive up Africa, do you want to come??" I said yes, he met a third guy back in SA who wanted to join, and we set off together.

The rest is history!

2) I answerd the language question in another place, please forgive me quoting it here:

I only speak English. The spread of English in east Africa is AMAZING. This is primarily due to the influence of the British as colonizers, but most of the region realizes that English is the laguange of business and if they want to be part of the modern world they had better learn to speak it. English is the official language of many of the countries in East Africa, is taught (with varying degrees of success...) in most schools in most countries I visited.

Even when I was in the smallest, most remote villages, it seemed someone who spoke English would show up and act as a translator. Other times, I was staying with Peace Corps volunteers or other NGOs and those people were usually fluent in the local language and could help with whatever I needed. That said, it is absolutely worth it to learn some of the local languages as you go, even if it's just simple things like 'hello', 'good bye', 'thank you', 'excuse me' and so on. People really appreciate it and will respect you more for it.

Oh, and Burundi is a french speaking country, I had a tough time with that one...

3) Not sure how to help you with your moms worries. The fact is that millions of people go to Africa and come home safely. Take Peace Corps for example, in some countries it is something like 70% female volunteers, and although there are some issues from time to time, in general there are few if any problems, people come home safe, and new volunteers are happy to sign up and head out themselves. The American government is very safety conscious whit their volunteers, so if they allow it, so should your mom. Did that help? haha...

ColaKoala12 karma

Thank you for your reply! I am totally inspired by you. Something you said just resonated a lot with me. You said you felt weird when you returned from traveling in Asia. For 5 months after i returned from my longest stint in Africa, I could not freaking adjust to being home. I felt weird. Everything felt weird. Grocery stores felt strange. Driving felt wrong. Everything about the way i lived my life in the US felt weird and lonely and off. I still have no idea why this happened or why it took me so long to feel right again, but during that time, if someone had mentioned i could sell all my shit and take off again, I probably would have.

As for my mom...sigh. She wasn't all that jazzed about me going to the west coast for college, so I guess it's not surprising that she lost her mind about Africa. But I am totally serious when I say that a major reason i haven't been back to Africa for another long solo trip is that I know my mom worries constantly. :(

Thanks again for your posts here and your blog, which I am also gonna go check out right now! Sala kahle!

ninefivezero15 karma

Oh geeze, western style grocery stores are such a trip when this is what you are used to!


But you know what, you have to live your own life. Parents worry, that's their job. I know my parents did (probably not as much as yours!) but just show them that you are smart, capable and can take care of yourself. Keep a blog, show them what you are doing, and with time they will get more comfortable with the idea and more trusting of you as an adult.

kaysea11274 karma

Can you tell us the story about how your possessions were stolen?

Also Alex is hot!. Tell me more about her?

ninefivezero63 karma

To save some time and try and answer as many questions as possible, I'm going to quote from my blog:

That night, I was doing some writing and when I’d finished at 11:20pm, I walked about 100 feet away to brush my teeth and use the toilet. I returned to my room literally 2 minutes later and immediately noticed my big backpack was gone! Shit. So was my day backpack! Shit! So was my toiletries bag and gadget bag! SHIT! With those bags went literally every piece of clothing I owned, my dry bags, all my medications, paperwork, my external HDD, some cash and countless little tools and gadgets. THIS IS A BIG PROBLEM, MY TRIP MIGHT BE OVER WITHOUT THESE THINGS, THEY ARE NOT REPLACEABLE HERE IN ZAMBIA, MY VISA EXPIRES IN TWO DAYS AND THE BOAT COMES TOMORROW! I put fresh batteries in my light, found the night watchman and we walked outside the walls of Nkupi and down one of the nearby streets. We only looked for a few minutes before returning, but honestly I figured whoever took my things was long gone and I’d never see any of it again.

Amazingly, all the most important, valuable and resalable items were left in the room. They grabbed the biggest things that must have looked like they had all the good stuff. My computer, sitting on the floor and on, was left behind. My camera was sitting on the bed and not seen because it was in a small black bag. My ‘important’ bag with passport, Visa card, and about $250 was left behind. Ok, so I had the critical things, but what next? If I want to buy everything again I either have to return to South Africa, or go home to America.

I sat in bed pissed off, thinking of what to do next and making a list of everything that had been taken. It was a LONG list. At about 3:30am I finally got some sleep.


At 6am I woke up and cooked some breakfast, surprisingly calm but mostly just feeling beaten down. I might be going home. I went into town to use the internet café and cancel my credit card since it was take, but the internet wasn’t working. As I was walking home, Marino found me and said people had found some of my things!

We walked back to where they were, which was literally 30m outside the wall of Nkupi Lodge, and what I found was my gadget bag ripped open with my things strewn everywhere. They were probably digging through my things when we came out with lights, and ran off. They were looking for the good stuff. I gathered everything up, and local guy said he found another bag. It turned out to be nearly all my clothes, backpack and dry bags. Oh thank you! It seemed they had been stashed for someone to come back for. We searched through the tall grass for a while, looking for anything else and when I figured we had found what there was to find, we returned to the lodge to make an inventory. After finding that amazingly I had recovered most of my items, Ghram and I went back for a second look and found a few more things.

Here is the list of what I lost, in rough order of value: My retainer (why they took this I can’t say, it’s useless to them and expensive for me to replace), a 1TB external HDD (although they didn’t take the USB3 cable, which I’m sure you can’t find outside of Lusaka, so that is also useless to them), about $31 USD cash, my rain jacket, my beanie, MSR stove tools, swim goggles, headphones, SD memory cards, USB card reader, phone charger, a bar of soap, q-tips, tooth paste, deodorant, and a few other bits and pieces. All things considered, I’ve lost a few hundred dollars of things, but it could have been about a million times worse. The worse things to lose are the retainer because I care about my teeth, and the hard drive, because I lost the ability to back-up my photos, as well as losing the 400+ movies I had…

So, I still have a boat to catch in a few hours and have to move to another country. What to do…

From: Preparations for the Lake Tanganyika Paddle Adventure & a Robbery in Mpulungu

DebateTn40 karma

Nothing about Alex?

ninefivezero28 karma

Sorry, got distracted, she is a Peace Corps volunteer I connected with through CouchSurfing, she teaches at a school in rural Botswana:

You can see more about my time with her in this post, haha: Cycling Across Botswana: The Single Speed Adventure, Part I

Kalapuya70 karma

You mention about the violence and death you experienced while there - did you ever feel personally threatened? Were there any places where your presence was distinctly unwelcome? How did people who were potentially threats to your safety treat you in general?

ninefivezero88 karma

I never felt personally threatened.

I did hear a few stories of people being attacked by a group of guys, but I certainly never had any experiences like that. Usually when I'd show up in a new place, they were usually just too surprised to see a random white guy, one with long hair at that, and I was treated like an honored guest. I walked into local bars and had guys buy me drinks literally all across the continent.

Edit: Also, especially in small towns, everyone knows everything. If someone hurt or robbed me, the whole town would know, and well, they just might beat that person to death.... not kidding. I heard a number of stories of foreigners being robbed, then someone from the village returning their possessions once they were found.

Blackkitty123366 karma

How were you able to communicate with the locals in many of these countries? Did you speak any other languages other than English?

ninefivezero62 karma

I only speak English.

The spread of English in east Africa is AMAZING. This is primarily due to the influence of the British as colonizers, but most of the region realizes that English is the laguange of business and if they want to be part of the modern world they had better learn to speak it. English is the official language of many of the countries in East Africa, is taught (with varying degrees of success...) in most schools in most countries I visited.

Even when I was in the smallest, most remote villages, it seemed someone who spoke English would show up and act as a translator. Other times, I was staying with Peace Corps volunteers or other NGOs and those people were usually fluent in the local language and could help with whatever I needed.

That said, it is absolutely worth it to learn some of the local languages as you go, even if it's just simple things like 'hello', 'good bye', 'thank you', 'excuse me' and so on. People really appreciate it and will respect you more for it.

ifnkovhgroghprm54 karma

did you, or do you have a "career" and what is your plan to reintegrate back into your current life now?

ninefivezero121 karma

I'm not sure how you define a 'career', but before I started traveling I did arborist work, climbing and pruning or removing trees in Seattle, for example, this is me (with an epic beard!) a while back:


It was something I sort of fell into while I was taking a year off college (majored in sociology, not a lot of jobs, haha), did during school and after. It was never a job I planned on doing for too long, but I love working outdoors, doing something physical, climbing trees, running saws and driving big trucks! It's one of the most dangerous jobs in America, so I guess I have a high tolerance for excitement.

I don't plan on 'reintegrating' back into the world of living in the city, having a regular job, having a family or getting a house any time soon, there are just too many places I want to go and too many things I want to do. I'm hooked.

Now that I'm back in America, here is my plan: Some of my friends have property on a small island of 200 residents by the border with Canada and are starting an organic farm. Soon I will be moving up there to help get the project off the ground, and at the moment will be living in a tent. My plan is to eventually build a tree-house, maybe 120sq ft, and have that be my home when I'm not traveling the world. I will work odd jobs on the islands as well as help on the farm, and will probably have to do some seasonal work like fishing in Alaska, or whatever to save up money. When you have the right attitude, it is amazing what is possible.

I realize I'm giving up a lot of what people consider 'normal life' but I've done that and found something better. It's not for everyone, but right now it's what is best for me.

Then I head out for The Next Adventure.

gnarledout53 karma

This has been one of the most informative AMAs I have ever read since joining reddit. This guys insight and informative approach to answering these questions are so delightful. I'm reading these answers as if I am reading a book. I will give you gold once I get more money.

Edit: deleted

Edit 2: Old pic had to get deleted because it had my email

ninefivezero20 karma

No worries about not giving gold, haha. Honestly I'd rather have that great compliment you just gave me than.... whatever gold does :p

I'm doing my best, it's hard to keep up though!

Benno_vonArchimboldi37 karma

Can you upload a full-resolution version of this picture http://i.imgur.com/XLKdb9e.jpg?

ninefivezero28 karma

No problem! here you go: http://i.imgur.com/1d4z3qP.jpg

If you want to see more of that beautiful area, check this post: Ethiopia Part II: Lalibela, Gondar & The Semien Mountains and feel free to ask for any others in full res (but give me credit if you want to use them for anything please....)

gnarledout33 karma

I noticed you stayed away from the east west. Was that mostly because of conflict?

Edit: I am an idiot.

ninefivezero45 karma

I would LOVE to travel in West Africa. In fact, when I go back to Africa (some day...) I will go to that part without question.

There are a few reasons I stayed in East Africa. Number one, was that the people I started traveling with, the two South African guys, wanted to do that route. The Cape to Cairo route through East Africa is a pretty common tourist corridor in Africa and the infrastructure is MUCH more developed. You can pretty much drive on pavement the entire way if you want. I wanted more adventure than that so when that trip broke up I took my own way off the path route.

East Africa is mostly English speaking. The west is French based. I had almost no trouble traveling east Africa with only English and a few local greetings that went a long ways, but I did spend a few weeks in Burundi, which is French. I was lost. No one speaks English, and had I not had help from other westerners I met through CouchSurfing, I would have had a hell of a time with it.

Visas in the east area easy, most are on arrival. In the west it's a patchwork where you can get a visa on arrival, or where you have to do it before hand, or where you have to get a letter from someone in the country, or you are limited to 14 days, or you simply can't enter. It makes it a logistical nightmare that few are interested in dealing with.

I'm not deterred, and will do it some day, but Africa is huge, and if you don't pick a region, you will spend so much time bouncing around between countries and sides of the continent, that you miss out on the details when you go slower in a smaller area.

My friend Stefan in the 74 VW I traveled with drove it through West Africa, and he had a great adventure, though at times he was having to drive at night to hide from police, and was hearing machine gun fire from the violence in places. East Africa ain't easy, but again it's on my list.

gnarledout4 karma

Thanks for your answer. I have been doing a lot of work in Sierra Leone i.e. building schools, water filtration projects etc. My org made a trip there last summer and are headed there again in 2 weeks. I am still in grad school and do not have the money as of yet. I envy you. Thanks for doing this AMA!

ninefivezero3 karma

Dude, if you are working with NGOs in Sierra Leone for a while, you probably have a pretty good idea what Africa can be like. If you tap into Couchsurfing and NGO contacts, you can stay anywhere in Africa for free, taking you to some amazing and remote places. It's not about money!

masterhaldentwo24 karma

What an amazing adventure! It's so refreshing to see something positive about "Africa" on reddit for once. Most of the time it is just plagued by stories of war, poverty, crime and starvation, which are obviously very real and serious issues, but Africa has so much more to offer!
I think if people just took the opportunity to go visit and see for themselves, they would realise Africa is a very diverse an wonderful continent with so much to see and experience!
Having partially grown up in Ethiopia and Kenya, I just cannot wait to get back!

ninefivezero10 karma

Absolutely, thanks for backing me up on that, haha!

LaskaBear22 karma

Marry me? haha jk. I have always wanted to do stuff like that. Ever since I was a little girl, I wanted to travel the world and go wherever the winds blew me.

ninefivezero24 karma

Where do you live? ;)

LaskaBear26 karma

Good ole Alabama, USA. :(

ninefivezero28 karma

Well, if you come to the Seattle area let me know, we can go for a hike or something!

il50NY20 karma

Where or how did you meet the two South African guys? Was it just random?

ninefivezero34 karma

I actually met one of them traveling in Asia. The very first day of my 6-month trip through Asia (Philippines, Cambodia, Thailand, India, Nepal) I met Chris in a backpackers in Manila, we spent a week traveling together, had a great time and said "Lets do it again some day!"

Here is that blog post from traveling with Chris in the Philippines: The Ups And Downs Of Travel. But Mostly The Ups (god my old blog posts were bad...)

It was 10 months later that he sent me a message on Facebook, saying pretty much "Hey, I'm going to buy a 4x4 and drive up Africa, do you want to come??" I said yes, he met a third guy back in SA who wanted to join, and we set off together.

The rest is history!

Ohmm16 karma

How have you changed physically? (Weight, skin color, etc.)

ninefivezero38 karma

It's a fun questions, so I'll answer it with a photo :p


That was me before I started traveling. I was in amazing shape, had a tremendously physical job and worked out on top of that. But travel changed that. Most days involved sitting around at someones house, riding buses, walking through strange places, eating, drinking and partying a lot. When you stay with other westerners in rural villages in Africa, they love to have someone to hang out with, treat you well, and this leads to lots of parties. So does cheap food and cheep booze. Sure I cycled about 2,400km, and canoed for two weeks, and hiked a lot, but it was not the same as my intense activities back at home. As a result, I lost a huge portion of my muscle tone, my strength, my cardio and my overall feeling of fitness. Now that I'm home, I'm trying to regain it.

The sun was often intense, and I'd get dark easily, but it would also fade pretty fast. Here was my tan line while paddling Lake Tanganyika:


Foxyfox-16 karma

In your little archive, you've got a picture of some US soldiers at one point. How'd they feel finding a random civilian American in a place where they probably weren't expecting any?

ninefivezero6 karma

I was walking down the street in Jinja, Uganda, when I saw a guy in a US soldiers uniform. It surprised the hell out of me. I stopped to chat, and it turned out he was part of an 8 person humanitarian mission in rural northeast Uganda. We exchanged contact info, and two weeks later I joined up with them to see what they were up to, visiting a school where they brought some supplies, went on hikes (the picture of me jumping into the water is with the Master Sargent), played Risk on their PS3 and went out to eat, really cool guys.

Here is some more info on that time, it's a pretty good post, check out here: Uganda Part II: Into the East, a Kenyan Layover and Entering Ethiopia

fuzzymafacka14 karma

Do you ever miss the rains?

ninefivezero6 karma

Damn it, a few people have made that joke.... off to listen to the song again... (love it)

azginger14 karma

1.What was your backpack like? For some of those days where you weren't staying in "4 start condos" what did you carry with you? You mentioned laptops, scuba gear, GoPro equipment. That and water and everything else sounds like it would add up extremely quickly.

2.Also on the note of electronics, was the laptop practical? I feel it would be dying to often and not being able to charge it to the point where I wouldn't even take it.

3.One last thing, how did the robbery in Zambia affect you? What was all stolen and how did you make up for it?

edit: one LAST question: how did you prepare for this excursion? I know you sold anything, but how detailed did you map out your quest (if at all) and your activties, or did you just wing it?

ninefivezero10 karma

Damn it, totally wrote a long response and lost it... well I can start over.

1) I had a lot more things for the first three months when I was traveling in the 4x4. Once that fell apart, I sold or shipped a lot of things home to reduce my weight/gear to what I could carry in backpacks. I always kept full camping gear (tent, stove, pots, sleeping pad/bag, etc) so I could literally go and camp anywhere, unsupported for days at a time. It's easy to carry a few days food, water is much harder. My bags were heavy, and I'm not trying to sound tough when I say most people would have a hard time with what I was carrying, but it gave me ultimate flexibility.

I had two backpacks, a big one and a smaller day bag. When I packed really well I could even put the day bag inside the big one. I could keep all my fragile and expensive things in my day bag, then when I was riding a bus and it needed to be tied on top or whatever, I could pull the smaller bag out and keep it safe with me. Also, since I stayed in places for long periods of time, having a day bag was great for getting groceries, taking my netbook to the internet cafe, or just keeping a jacket and water bottle with me at all times.

Here are my bags, sorry for the crap picture: http://i.imgur.com/nKln7mS.jpg

2) As for the computer, I can't imagine traveling without my laptop. I originally had a full-size i5 15.6", but downsized to a 10" netbook when the 4x4 trip ended. It allowed me to save, orginize and edit the 55,000 photos I took, I could sit and write my blog for hours upon hours without having to sit at a netcafe computer and pay by the minute, I could watch movies when I needed some downtime, I could surf the net when I found wifi and I could safely do internet banking instead of logging into virus/spyware filled public computers. Because it was a cheap netbook, if it broke or was stolen, oh well, I could get another. Sure there were plenty of places where I was not able to charge it, but with some planning ahead it was no problem. Samsung actually makes a netbook now with a solar panel on the back, which I'd love to have....

3) Getting robbed in Zambia was a bummer, I sort of answered this question above, let me link to it: http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/1kb7e4/iama_guy_who_quit_his_job_sold_his_car_moved_out/cbn9p4z

I found most everything, and was able to replace the rest other than my damn retainer...

4) How did I prepare... I didn't. I just went for it. I was in the travel mindset from my 6 months in Asia, and the next 6 months in America before going to Africa was spent bouncing around the West, from Alaska, to Hawaii, California to Montana. I set off to Africa with no route or schedule in mind and I can't imagine doing it any other way. Nothing wrong with a rough outline, but let things flow naturally and you will have the best experience.

hero0fwar14 karma

Did you get all the shots? If no did you contract any diseases that your body was not ready for?

ninefivezero9 karma

I'm trying to remember what was required, all I'm coming up with is yellow fever. I carried my yellow fever card (and backup photo copies!) with me next to my passport, and did have to show it a few times when entering countries.

Making sure you are up to date on tetanus is very important, because with poor infrastructure and buses, you will probably cut yourself on rusty metal on numerous occasions.

God food poising three times, one really bad that I mentioned above.

Other than that, I never contracted anything other than a nasty ear infection in Lake Malawi (amazing how I could walk into a clinic for free in Africa but not in America...) that hurt quite a bit and lasted a while, and an infection in my foot from an open blister. That one kept me from walking for almost three days and was extremely painful, and my foot was so swollen I could hardly put my sandals on, but with some antibiotics it got better, still have a scar though.

Here it is! http://i.imgur.com/9Ivs5FS.jpg

jackvs778 karma

I've heard Sudan can be quite violent and dangerous. How was your time traveling through it?

ninefivezero19 karma

I mentioned this in the text somewhere, but I was unable to get a visa for Sudan and had to fly over it. The embassy was a bureaucratic nightmare, and I didn't have the time or money to deal with it. It can be an extremely difficult country to enter. Missing Sudan was the biggest disappointment of my trip, but it was out of my control.

That said, the people who have gone through it that I have met have had nothing but GOOD things to say. It's pretty common for travelers to say that Sudanese people are the friendliest people in Africa. I'm told by people that you can literally leave your bags sitting in the market all day, and NO ONE will touch them. On the other hand, people occasionally get kidnapped and killed. So for most people who make it in, it's amazing, for a VERY small fraction, it's the worst place in the world.

ro9g91236 karma

Was that the first time you saw a goat slaughtered?The look on your face is priceless.

ninefivezero10 karma

That's not me, it's the brother of one of the Peace Corps volunteers I was staying with, he was a bit of a softie ;)

ewok_bukkake5 karma

Did you carry any sort of protection with you? Knife, etc

ninefivezero13 karma

No, not really. there were a few times when walking alone at night that I'd carry a rock in my hand I could use as a weapon, and a few times I kept my knife in my hand inside of my jacket pocket, but I could count those times on my hands, most of the time I felt extremely safe.

AckbarsAttache2 karma

I'd really like to know what you read on your journey. Anything inspirational or particularly resonant?

ninefivezero7 karma

I read whatever I could find! I'd love to have a Kinde and a solar charger on my next adventure, but this time I was just reading paperbacks I'd find at book exchanges in backpackers, books I saw laying around, or that I was given by people I stayed with.

Here is my book list, if you really want to see:

1 - Rogue warrior, Seal Force Alpha - Richard Marcinko 2 - Around Magagascar on my Kayak - Riaan Manser 3 - The only girl in the car - Kathy Dobie 4 - Farm, a year in the life of an American farmer - Richard Rodes 5 - Chickenhawk - Robert Mason 6 - Dune - Frank Herbert 7 - Dune Messiah - Frank Herbert 8 - Children of Dune - Frank Herbert 9 - Ravens - George Dawes Green 10 - A quite belief in angels - RJ Ellroy 11 - No Highway - Nevil Shute 12 - Human Traces - Sebastian Faulks 13 - Middlesex - Jeffrey Eugenides 14 - Incendiary - Chris Cleave 15 - Flatland - Edwin A Abbot 16 - Rip Tide - Sam Llewellyn 17 - Dark Star Safari - Paul Theroux 18 - Dead End Gene Pool - Wendy Burden 19 - JRR Tolkien - The Hobbit 20 - The Good Doctor - Damon Galgut 21 - The Magic of Reality - Richard Dawkins 22 - Snow Crash - -Neal Stephenson 23 - The Watchman - Chris Ryan 24 - The King of Torts - John Grisham 25 - Heroine of the Desert - Donya Al-Nahi 26 - A matter of Honour - Jeffrey Archer 27 - The One That Got Away - Chris Ryan 28 - Everything is Illuminated - Jonathan Safran Foer 29 - A Fatal End - Ann Quinton 30 - A Million Little Pieces - James Frey 31 - Nine Hills to Nambonkaha - Sarah Erdman 32 - Regeneration - Pat Baker 33 - The Eye In The Door - Pat Baker 34 - The Ghost Road - Pat Baker 35 - The Africa House - Christina Lamb 36 - The Fear - Peter Godwin 37 - Dreams from my Father - Barack Obama 38 - Mortal Pray - John Sandford 39 - Iacocca, An Autobiography - Lee Iacocca 40 - The Mammoth Hunters - Jean Auel 41 - ?that long? 42 - White Ice - Celia Barayfield 43 - A Rose for her Grave - Ann Rule