I had discussed South Africa with a good friend years and years ago. She’d heard about how dangerous it is (not entirely wrong). This was back in the day before Wikitravel and before travelling with a internet-ready mobile plan was a thing.
By some crazy chance, I got acquainted online with a SA unicyclist. We’d converse and giggle giddily at our shared interest because that’s what happens when unicyclists meet. A good friend suggested a group trip to Victoria Falls via Johannesburg short months later and I was sold.
We had known each other through unicycling. I had made it a point to connect to unicycling communities – or at least unicyclists – when travelling so it was obvious we had to get a ride in. My newfound SA friend connected me with some of his pals up in Joburg and it became a plan!
I still have no idea where we went to except it was a nature reserve full of grass and dirt. Usually on rides like these, the most fun was in getting to know new people and as cliched as it sounds, being able to understand the country /town /state /location /culture through them.
The landscape really makes tough competition. I’ve never been on a ride where we’d see wild zebras minding their own business mere meters away. I didn’t even prepare for photos.
Us tourists would, later in the trip, sign up for a proper safari experience but I wonder what locals must think. Surely, to grow up with all of this in your backyard, it must be amusing to witness us dumb foreigners. I’ve always also found it hard to find the right words to ask about this.
With this, I got to unicycle in all the continents on Earth (except Antarctica but I DID get to Ushuaia!). It started with Nova Scotia, in Canada, in North America back in 2008 and took 8 years to get to Africa. It then took a whole 4 years for me to get to writing about it.
I find that it’s hard to collect my thoughts when there’s really so much to say and I don’t know if words can do any of that justice. I do think I’ve been amazingly fortunate to be able to tap onto the really small but very supportive unicyclists network around the world to have some incredibly memorable experiences.