Linda Markovina is working as a freelance Photojournalist, Travel and Fiction Writer. She considers herself to be the better looking half of Moving Sushi and the only one who is ever online. She blogs on behalf of Moving Sushi for Getaway Magazine, The Africa Report, Kiss from the World and writes travel guides for Buggl.com. Her main loves are writing about travel, the natural world around us and how we as people interact with it, as long as it’s not anything to do with snakes. Snakes give her the willies. Catch up with her on Twitter @moving_sushi.
Travel with sight
There are few moments in this world that can make you feel like a world wanderer. That same instinct kicks in, that feeling that I honestly feel that all of us as human begins have programmed deep into our tissues. That need to go and see more and beyond. What is over that hill? Behind that bush? Further than that horizon?
For hundreds of year’s explorers have existed in every culture, it’s in everyone’s genes, just existing in different levels or in different motives. And the minute you unlock that small feeling, or even if you go wild with exploration in a big way you will be better for it. As a human species we have always in one fashion or another set out to explore. We want to see more, to connect further and to be a better and more experienced traveller than the next person. But sometimes we just need to sit back and enjoy the act of travel itself. Live in the moment by keeping an eye on the horizon with your feet in the present and an understanding of the past. Go first class, go cattle class, just set your eyes on something and go.
Travel with touch
Sometimes visiting a country that has a particularly turbulent past is not something that we would put onto our top ten highlights of our trip. From top to bottom this continent is filled with a turbulent past and history we can so easily wander over without realizing it. Of course we want those lovely holiday snap shots that make people go ‘Wow!’, but a country is more than animals munching foliage in the foreground. It’s made up of blood, love, sweat and tears, and to ignore that or gloss over it is to forget all the reasons why you are able to stand on the soil you are. It’s not a bad thing to confront the past. All the guides address the topic, “Welcome to the palace, here’s fields and cows, schools and plantations around the palace and houses … oh now to the torture chambers. “ You do a mental double take. “Um … you just said torture chambers right?” “Yes, ha ha, just around the corner” “Oh, ok no fine. Let’s go there then.” It is our job to touch the other side of history when we travel- to do more than tick off some random list of must-sees and unmissables. A country is more than that, and when we get sneak peeks, like in the case of Amin’s human tombs, we can apply that knowledge and understanding for the better.
Travel with sound
It’s organized chaos in the most extreme sense of the word. As a stranger setting eyes on the old city bus station in Kampala for the first time your head spins. Moving with coordinated speed, honking, hand gestures and gesticulation somehow the mini busses arrive day and night. They pickup and deposit the daily city commuters and pack in human sardines to the North and the South of Uganda. Here you can find routes, times and distances by wondering between the wheels of hundreds of Mutatu’s with their world-renowned two speed settings – flat out and stationary. There’s an African proverb that says ‘Time can be meaningless; it’s the relationships that are the most important.” With long distances and bumpy roads what better way to learn to let go of time and start creating these relationships, just follow the yells and hoots from maniacal Mutatu’s , they will be the soundtrack to your travel adventure.
Travel with smell
I love the smell of a city when I get out of a plane. In fact I find it really disappointing when you go straight from the aircraft into a tunnel to collect your luggage. You don’t get that first lovely, tantalizing smack in the face of the weather on the ground. It’s intoxicating and a promise of things to come and I feel kind of cheated that I just spent half my day sitting in a tin can in the sky to not get my first whiff of the country I just landed in. It’s like when you are out on the town somewhere and someone passes you by wearing cologne that instantly flips your memory switch. The first crush that kissed you, your mother hugging so tight you thought you would burst. It’s stirring, you don’t forget the memory of smells – so I really do feel denied my first olfactory affair with a country by being herded into a tunnel from the get go. After all, it’s what gets me through long customs queues.
Travel with taste
Apologies to anyone who has ever watched me eat a plate of goat on the bone in a restaurant. Really, super sorry. It’s an incredibly unattractive sight. But what I am not sorry about is getting stuck in to local cuisine and I always do with gusto. What better way to get an understanding of the life of people of a particular country than by knowing and tasting what they eat and how it is grown? In Uganda the tea plantations are some of the most disputed lands in the country – each cup you drink contains a rich history of British plantations, famous tea taxes, strikes, subsistence farming and liberation. A climate that reputedly grows some of best quality tea in the world, also produces food that has different tastes, textures and purposes. Next time ask for the Matoke or the Posho with g-nut sauce. Get stuck into a Rolex on the run or a nice plate of tender, falling-off –the-bone curried goat. Don’t be a ‘Bwana knows best from the west’ and stick to the kinds of food you are familiar with. Travelling with your stomach can be both fulfilling and give you a great sense of place and memories to last a lifetime.