Backpack Full of SunshineA travel blog of a boy following his dream and embarking on a four year backpacking sabbatical around the world

Tanzania

Paje, Zanzibar

3/22/14 A whole morning on open water in the sun sure took a lot out of me, so I spent most of the afternoon reading and napping on the hammock by the guesthouse. Not sure if it was the calming vibe on the beach, or the conversation with Lisa yesterday, the fabric of the hammock somehow reminded me of our bed sheets in that old apartment where I grew up in Shanghai...

Fishing Fun with Captain Sal, Zanzibar

3/22/14 This morning I woke up to a few hasty knocks on my door. I was still pretty groggy since for better part of the night, I was battling a couple of very stubborn mosquitoes that sneaked through the holes of my net. The guy at my door was tall, and thin. He was dressed in a ragged white tank top, and wore a blue baseball cap with thick salt streaks. He was...

Bwejuu, Zanzibar

3/21/14 I counted 6 rooms in my guesthouse, and I was one of 3 guests staying at the moment. It was exactly what I needed, to really kick it in some solitude for the first time during my journey, and have some time to write and reflect on the journey so far. I had a brief conversation with the American couple this morning over breakfast. They were a very polite pair...

Stonetown, Zanzibar

3/17/14 I spent most of my morning running from one place to another, trying to figure out where I could go after Tanzania. At the time, I was still traveling with a Chinese passport, and going anywhere besides Iran, North Korea, and Cuba was a pain in the ass. (you get the picture here) My initial options were 1) go through Zambia and Zimbabwe, visit the Victoria...

Dar Es Salaam

3/16/14 9:00 pm local time, as I am sitting in my room on the second floor of Safari Inn, I found it strange to be alone for the first time in weeks. Besides the occasional buzz I could make out from mosquitoes, it was eerily silent. It has been quite a ride in Africa thus far, and I could use some peace and quiet to digest all I have experienced. I said goodbye to...

Lake Mayana National Park

3/15/14 I woke up early next morning to the pleasantry of birds’ chirping. I got up before rest of the camp was up, and took a quiet stroll around the campsite. It was a bit chilly with the morning dew, but I was rewarded with a stunning view of rolling clouds slowly climbing over the cusp of the crater. It was beautiful. Our elephant friend returned for his...

Ngorongoro Crater

3/14/14 Next day the gang headed out for Ngorongoro Crater first thing in the morning. Like Kilimanjaro, it was one of those magical places I read about over and over again on National Geographic growing up. Besides the flock of baboons who tried to steal my apples at the gate, the park was anything short of pure magic. The world’s largest inactive volcanic caldera...

Tarangire National Park

3/13/14 Kilimanjaro was a success overall. A lot of backpackers have asked me since if it was worth it. And they were astonished when my first answer was a swift “No”. Yes, of course. It’s not every day you get to summit the highest point of a continent, let alone a mountain as iconic as Kili. And if you could squeeze in a safari and some beach...

Kilimanjaro

3/08/14 First day of Kilimanjaro is now in the books. Local time 7:30 pm. The sky is slowly dimming to a darker glow of orange, and lamps were being lit one after another inside the tents. Brent and I just finished a feast of a meal. The cook first brought out a tray of garlic butter squash soup, with freshly fried fish and potatoes, and then a huge plate of stir...

Arusha

3/07/14 Brent and I were told to wait out front by the hostel at 8 am to be picked up by our tour guides. After a good 45 minutes, there were still no signs of any van or taxi. On one hand, I wasn’t too worried since people operated on “African Time”, as Brent would call it. Being punctual isn’t really a thing around here. On the other hand, considering the fact that...