My family and I try to take trips at least once a year, whether it be to different cities and states in the U.S. or a totally different country. At the end of 2012, from December to January of 2013, my family and I took a trip to The Gambia in West Africa. It is without a doubt my most favorite trip that we’ve ever taken, and something I will always remember.
We got to see family that we had never met before, and had such a blast doing things we had never done and things we had never seen ourselves doing, like touching a crocodile and riding a motorcycle on the beach. It was amazing to experience a different lifestyle and encounter a new group of people who were so loving and accepting, even though they had never even met us before. Not to mention that the scenery was so beautiful, though very different from what I was used to in the United States.
One really big difference I noticed while in The Gambia was how there was no real containment for the animals. While there, we visited a crocodile park and there was a fence to an extent, then there was just open land for the crocodiles to roam, and if they really wanted to, to escape too. We also encountered lots of animals just sitting or walking around in the open, which took some getting used to. Another thing was the mutual trust of the people. When I first arrived, I saw a girl who had to have been no older than 6 years old enter a taxi by herself. That happened quite frequently while we were there and I found it strange at first because they never seemed nervous or anything. I realized that it was normal and they did what they had to do to get things done. I found their strength and hustle admirable.
My favorite part of our vacation was meeting that side of my family I never thought I would have the opportunity to meet. We talked as if we’d known each other forever and it was exciting to see them all together and so happy. I never felt that there was any ill feelings towards us and it was refreshing to be able to be myself knowing that I would be loved anyway.
Visiting The Gambia was the best thing that ever could’ve happened to me and I hope that I am able to go back soon. Do you have a favorite vacation? Where?
“You cannot fully understand your own life without knowing and thinking beyond your life, your own neighborhood, and even your own nation.”
Dr. Johnetta Cole