I think one of the biggest worries for travellers is how to celebrate the holidays on the road (yes, I’m talking to YOU Christmas and New Years) without feeling like they are missing the traditions and routine that take place back home.
We are no different. Searching for a place where we would be for the last weeks of 2011 was a tough one, but I am happy to report that we successfully accomplished everything we set out to do: we surfed (a little), we “yoga-d” (a lot), we opened presents under the Christmas tree, and we (or more appropriately, I) ate so many banana pancakes that the waitress quit asking what we wanted, and just brought out another dish of our favourite “African breakfast”.It was indeed a hugely successful Christmas….break? Thank you Busua Beach!!
Busua is the most popular of several small fishing villages along the coast of Ghana. Now by no means does that make it a tourist haven. We met several other travellers and locals, but never once did it feel like things were even close to crowded. While walking along the beach, we might encounter a small troop of 4-year olds playing with a tin can and a machete, or the occasional creepy old white guy sunbathing naked. But that was usually as busy as it got, once you walked away from the small cluster of hotels, inns, and the few other structures which were barely standing but still available for rent. All in all it was the ideal mosaic of dancing, soccer-playing locals and Western volunteers and tourists who have surrendered to the easy pace and laid back vibe that Busua offered.
The surf camp that we had originally enrolled in turned out a little differently than we thought. Shawna and I were actually the only two enrolled! And so, we thought it made more sense to take a single introductory lesson, and then take out the surf boards if and when we saw fit after that. It proved to be a little easier on the wallet than the full surf camp, gave us a little more flexibility as to what we wanted to do every day, and gave my shoulder a little longer to heal proper.
Yoga, on the other hand was something both Shawna and I fully embraced. Shawna thrived on what it did to improve her upper body strength and her posture. I really enjoyed how it helped with my old-man inflexibility and balance. Mary, our instructor, was incredibly accommodating, insuring that she worked around our “busy schedule”. (I can’t even type that without giggling.)
Christmas morning was celebrated just like we were back home. Sure, our tree was made out of bamboo poles and fishing net, but Santa visited all the same. The New Years Eve party (which has not yet been attended at the time of this post being published) also promises to be unforgettable…. Yes indeed, we are attending our first ever NYE Jungle Party! The poster says it begins at 9PM, which is usually about the time we are getting to bed. However I think we will make a special effort to stay up late as the poster also promises that a bar AND toilets will be provided! Let me know if you want us to grab you tickets.
Looking back, 2011 was an incredible year. It was exhilarating and a little scary to leave our lives behind and take on the world back in June. The rewards have been undeniable though-we’ve seen and done more than we ever imagined. It was hard to choose, but after much debate here is our Top 5 Adventures of 2011 (in no particular order):
1) Riding camels into the pitch black Sahara desert with nothing but stars to light our way.-Morocco
2) The 800km spiritual, physical & mental journey that was the Camino de Santiago. –Spain
3) Spending the week in the tiny village of Tua, painting their new two-room school house, while teaching the kids “the wave” and “the worm”. -Ghana
4) Competing in our first International Half Marathon, running along the shores of the historical port city of Casablanca. -Morocco
5) Trekking through the villages built into the escarpments of Dogon Country. Meeting the warm & welcoming locals and falling asleep on our encampment roof tops. –Mali
With just over six months of travel under our belts we feel very fortunate that we have already been able to experience so much. We still have several months on the road (If I can stop buying ice cream, maybe longer), so it is fair to say 2012 should easily match if not exceed the awesomeness that was 2011.
And we wish this for you as well. May each of you enjoy your very own Jungle Party, and may toilets be included wherever you go.
Happy New Year!!