The journey that has been 3 years in the making is about to commence. Six months in country, academic classes, refereeing in northern Virginia to build up the funds, interning in the District of Columbia, and extensive trip planning has all been in preparation for this: the FIFA World Cup in South Africa.
The next two months will be spent fulfilling my Southern Africa bucket list and enjoying the most one of a kind event humanity has created in it’s few millennia of existence. For one month the attention of mankind is focused on one country and 90 minute competitions between 22 men with a ball.
Alisa and I are all packed after one final day of checks and errand running to complete our packing list: 2 more SD cards (could only find cheap 4 GB ones; that only adds 45 min of 720p 60 Fps to my PlaySport, but oh well), toiletries, two microfiber towels that we found at the MCX on Quantico, and a Snugpack ‘elite’ (which was an unexpected expense), and some first aid supplies, and torch. It’s a tight fit in my adidas bag, but Alisa is bringing two mammoth bags, so most of the supplies are in those. The electronics and valuables will be on our person on the flight over…
Both of us feel like this has been such an easy pack. Even though I’ve moved across the Atlantic six different times, and packed a bag for trips spanning the globe, there’s always been some level of trepidation about finishing it all in time. This time, it seemed to go so smooth, and with no last minute packing (or repacking by my mother). So Alisa and I are concerned by the lack the worry, though it might be a signal of us reaching that age where future planning and foresight have come together with a trip that requires minimum items. We both know the territory we’re going to cover (save Mozambique, which will be an adventure like none other), so we know the clothes and supplies we need, as well as the fact that we can obtain anything our heart desires in South Africa (save Jelly Bellys :). Perhaps when comparing this pack to the one we did before our 6 month stay in Durban is what is throwing us. There we had to bring a substantial number of ‘extras’ in terms of clothes, supplies, and academic accessories. This time, its just us, our clothes, our medicines, our cameras, my iPad, Alisa’s Macbook Pro, and some Trident gum. We will be more mobile over these two months, and it will be interesting if picking up to move on a moments notice will be what we expect.
We fly to JFK in the morning and then straight into Joburg, arriving the next day. We get two full days in the city before hopping on a bus and heading to Maputo in Mozambique. Hopefully it will not be during this time that it hits us that the critical thing we’re forgetting comes to the forefront of our brains. It’s weird to think that by the end of the week we’ll be sitting on a white sand beach in Mozambique sipping Mojitos or Amarula with our feet in dangling in the Indian Ocean. After the past 7 months of both of us giving the majority of our time to Apple/Human Rights Watch/Search for Common Ground/Soccer officiating, it’s strange to think that we’ll be able to….. relax?
Even to me, going to Mozambique in order to relax and recuperate before heading to the ‘mission’ of following around my nation in the World Cup seems just too good to be true.
It’s exciting to be getting out of the cage that has been Northern Virginia. I returned here just over two years ago with a degree from one of the best universities in the world and found that no one wanted to pay me for my services. A journey through multiple NGOs, hundreds of soccer games, and 7 incredible months working for the world’s most envied company has created a future that was not at all envision in August of 2008, and has caused me to follow paths I did not expect to take. However, my goal all along that time was to make it back to South Africa in the summer of 2010. Now, that has been achieved.
To all that have been apart of my journey up to this point, I owe you a great thanks for helping reach this point and hope that you’ll continue with me as I travel routes new and old!