I'm realising now, twenty years later, that I have gaps in my memory of cycling through Africa. That's not surprising. It was so vivid at the time and it remained so for a long while. Yet, life gets in the way when you are earning a crust, bringing up a family and trying to get some time to do what you love.
That's why keeping a diary is so important when you travel. What you experience seems to be so memorable at the time that you question how you could ever forget it. But, I have forgotten the details of certain parts of the journey. Luckily, I wrote many letters back to Penny who, fortunately kept them. They are helping to piece together the gaps.
And yet, there are often gaps for good reason in my diary. In the first six months of the journey we were regularly ill and the last thing I wanted to do was to write up my diary. I am writing up my diary from when we entered Ghana in early 1991 when I was ill and I neglected it for a few weeks which I regret. I can remember parts very clearly but not names or people.
I wish we had had the luxury of the internet at the time. We could have written our blogs up regularly and kept all that was going on then alive so much more easily. I'm reading Peter Gostelow's blog as he cycles through Africa now. He writes so vividly and his photographs are excellent too. It's a delight to read his experiences and it shows that things have not changed that much since Dan and I went through similar regions.
The lesson is to always write your diaries no matter how good or bad you feel. You will be glad that you did.
Will Hawkins lives in Lincolnshire with his family and is now a magazine editor and occasional adventure cyclist.
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