Zambia Travel Diary – Last Day

2015.09.22 02.02  There’s someone screaming on the plane. Not constantly, just every now and then, but imagine a man’s voice sounding like a baby that’s almost crying. Also the movie I just watched left me with a bit of a bad feeling. I know I shouldn’t be scared, and I don’t know if it’s offensive that I am, but I decided to take a short walk and must’ve walked past where he sat so he started screaming and clawing with his hands (he sat a few seats in by the windows though) and I jumped and almost ran a few steps. Now in my seat with my heart still hammering, but it doesn’t really matter because I don’t think I could have gone to sleep anyway and now at least I’m not stuck in some middle stage.

This made me think of what a good story idea it would be to have someone mentally ill try to take control over a plane, and then make it really disturbing (Not to judge this man in question, literally don’t know anything about him), but the story idea creeps me out even more.

09.09 We’re landing. I can’t decide how much I mind. But I do want to take a walk through the forest behind my house. Just a short one. Because that’s a part of me and my childhood, but not, never, part of the frustrating feeling I want to move away from home for. (Sidenote: The 2nd Law by Muse on low volume is a very suitable background for flying today)

16.32 It wasn’t as cold as I would’ve expected when we stepped off the plane. Sweater was quite enough even though I could feel the colder air on my face, clear and crisp. It’s definitely autumn, but the leaves are still green, the sun still brings warmth to your face and the sky was blue. It could almost be a spring day, one of those early ones when you make an attempt at walking barefoot but the stones are cold under your feet. Or an early morning at a summer scout camp, or taking a break from skiing and having your body warm and the sun reflecting on the snow to melt your icy face even though the air is cold. I love these things so very deeply.

I did take a walk when I got home, even though it had started to rain and drops slid down my face. I found some colourful leaves then, that showed me that maybe this is autumn, but I don’t mind, that’s what I had expected. I am, however, gonna take a warm, long bath now. (I realise right before getting into the bathtub that my hair still smells like Zambia)

21.52 I’ve never been very patriotic. I love and very strongly dislike my country in the way you do with things that are what you are, yet so very different and they don’t understand. I love the way the world looks now, with the possibility to be international and unbound by cultures and borders, belonging everywhere and belonging nowhere, and it was first recently that I realised that regardless of the rest of my life, I will always be Swedish. It’s too late, I’ve already spent too much time here. I still try to ignore it though, maybe because most of the time I don’t even feel it. It’s like what I wrote earlier, that I don’t feel like I’m coming home, I’m just going to a different country. Lies, lies, how could I believe that it wouldn’t affect me to see it from the sky, forests and small fields surrounded by tiny red houses, like toys my brother played with when he was younger. How could I believe I wouldn’t react to the smell of it, like I’m inhaling lakes and forests, or the way everything is green green when we drive from the airport under blue sky dotted with tiny clouds, the sun shining down on my from the side window and the air bright in my lungs.

I feel like this is the thing I will never remember, and always be taken back by. I can see it, the type of life I want, filled with travelling and differences, and the way I always forget until I’m welcomed home, like the way I was welcomed home today while walking through the forest, the rain drawing tears on my cheeks like a sacrifice, like a purification, like a reminder that you’re here and you’re tiny, these forests knew you before and will bloom for many afters.
It’s a weird thing to have, such a big home.

(And I’m happy now, curled up and warm under white sheets, with the misty and dark autumn night outside. It’s different, jumping into autumn like this, because I like time to long for things, like eating chocolate and savouring each tiny bit, but now I’ve mashed it into my mouth and life is big, grander, great and waiting for me outside the door.) Goodnight.


Zambia Travel Diary – Day 12

2015.19.21 11.16  I don’t feel a lot about leaving. I don’t know why. Maybe because I’m so inspired for the rest of my life to continue, inspiration usually comes after travel, but maybe because I’ve been here so long, it has already managed to sink in.

15.30 This is not sad, because this is not going home, it’s travelling to yet another place and then you go somewhere else from there.

16.04 I’ve never been interested in finding myself, I think while on the bathroom at Lusaka airport. If I was, I think airports would be a good place to look.


I read about bicycling in the magazine on the plane, and while sitting here it makes me want to be on a bike instead, inhaling fresh air, seeing bright colours and feeling my muscles work. I want to travel by my own strength. Maybe not far, but at least a walk through the woods when I get home.

20.50 At the airport in Addis Ababa. It’s a good one. If I were to travel the world I think I’d like it here. It’s not too big, but not small enough to not feel international. People of different cultures everywhere, the most beautiful Ethiopian scarves in the gift shops and a prayer room at the end of the corridor. The cafés are crowded as well, and they remind me of how the streets outside might be (not as if I know that) with traditional coffee making and people laughing.

Also they have these chairs everywhere that you can lean back in so they become almost like beds. When we finally found an unoccupied one (and now we found two more) I left my bags there and went to look around. I must have looked a bit strange. With no luggage, taking really slow steps and just walking around looking with a blank expression and soul far away in some way, while still being very present, maybe the deepest form of present, because I’m aware that I am. And maybe the least deep form. Then again, no one was probably looking at me.

I’ve been living in that good place in my head ever since I saw The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and it changed me in the way good art does. It was beautiful, and inspiring, and maybe actually the sort of thing you should watch before you travel, and I knew of it because of a song from the soundtrack that my dance group danced to once. In the movie they played it during the credits and I just leaned back and listened to it while the lights of Addis Ababa closed in underneath our wings. White lights from buildings and yellow from the vein-like streets. Yes.

DSC_0384 DSC_0388 DSC_0396 DSC_0398

Zambia Travel Diary – Day 11

2015.09.16 16.19  Lord, give me patience. I’m getting bad again. My head. My patience. My ability to deal with myself when it comes to control of creativity and the irritation of people that irritate me, I’m torn between believing the fault is not in them and not caring because I’m still annoyed.

16.53 I’ve written about this on this blog before, but a few years ago I realised that moving away from home probably wouldn’t make me sad. It escalated to the point where I thought not moving away from home would make me sad. Now it’s easier, travelling is better because obviously I’m not as focused on my family. But then comes the normality of it. Or not really normality I suppose, but when the amazing strangeness of travelling becomes everyday life. My mind falls back into my body, and I’m conflicted again. I spend more time being annoyed, or doubting myself. But I don’t think I’m the type of person that by force of restlessness never will be able to settle down. Maybe it’s just that I need the passionate friendships of youth, and to be more with people who grow with me, are the same size, look at me and see me.

21.30 I finished ‘I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings’ by Maya Angelou. It was amazing. It’s the first part of her autobiography, and I find it difficult to believe that a woman can have experienced all that in her early years, while I also understand that obviously that woman can become nothing less than extraordinary.

21.45 Sometimes I wonder what things humans would be if we didn’t die every night. I helped my brother with his english homework a few hours ago and while explaining the Swedish translation of ‘subconsciously’ the word suddenly lost all it’s meaning to me. You know the way words do sometimes, but I realised it only happens in night time. In the morning language is fresh. New. It grows old, like we do, both over spans of decades and periods of hours. It’s such an amazing thing, such a well thought out plan, to give us this rest so that during the day we can actually be awake and ride our roller coasters of up and down, because we forget anyway so why does it matter. (But some nights I walk above my mind, thread the thread binding awareness and hours, and sometimes I know, sometimes I almost know, before it slips away from me, forever, again and again.) (We’re not kids anymore and we don’t have the hope of a million more nights.)

22.14 Lusaka is such a quiet city. You hear the dogs bark. Birds sing in the morning and cicadas after sunset, but the sound of cars only passes by every few minutes and voices are rare, music and laughter not often close by. It sings a quiet song. (goodnight)

22.27 You have a nice garden, right Father? Take me anywhere on this earth, but I know you have a nice garden. (The music I listen to sounds like water drops falling off leaves).

Zambia Travel Diary – Day 10

Do you know who Casey Neistat is? Shame on you if you don’t, he’s awesome. And many years ago he made this video:

The Devil’s pool is this natural swimming pool just at the edge of the Victoria falls. When I found out we were going to to Zambia, I never even thought of actually going there. But we did.

I don’t even know what to say about it. Adrenaline rush turned into laughter, I smiled until the wind turned my open mouth dry. We got to lean over the edge as well. The guide held my feet and I lay on my stomach, arms stretched out and face pointing down. I saw the fall, but also just so much water. The rainbows. Like I got thrown into a happy hurricane, I wish I could be there always.

Zambia Travel Diary – Day 9

2015.09.14 22.12 “You want to stay here forever?” Our safari guide said while we took a break to stretch our legs by the Zambezi river. He was really sweet, polite in a way you could be to friends and not “rich white people” and he knew everything about the animals and different uses of plants. Strong cheekbones and kind eyes, the type of person who seems quiet, regardless of how much they speak. I answered “What?” and he repeated the question.
“Yes. Yes I do.” I said but followed him and my family back to the car.



There was something about the temperature. I’ve been spending so much time getting too hot and cooling down, sweating and freezing, that the perfect weather soothes my skin and mind in waves of wind. We sat by the Zambezi river, where it’s still calm and not rushing down the Victoria falls, and I, someone who sleeps with three covers in the middle of summer, wasn’t freezing. My body totally relaxed. The definition of warm wind was blowing past and the late afternoon sun managed to keep the temperature from getting too high while still not making a single chill rung through me.



We continued on our safari after that, took pictures of elephants and impalas. And here I’d been thinking I would need to borrow my mom’s camera, since my 50 mm lens has no zoom whatsoever, but it turns out zoom wasn’t needed.

IMG_3273IMG_3274 IMG_3552 IMG_3307 IMG_3290 IMG_3294 IMG_3449 IMG_3475 IMG_3390 IMG_3368


We had to leave the car and walk to the part of the park where the rhinos where.



Also I stole a part of a roof and put it in my notebook



A lot of trees are very short since the elephants break them down with their trunks.

IMG_3167 IMG_3178 IMG_3185

Earlier in the day we went to the Victoria falls as well, but we’re going back tomorrow so I’ll have even more to show you! Goodnight.


Zambia Travel Diary – Day 7-8

2015.09.12 20.04 We haven’t had electricity all day so we went out for lunch. I had some fruit salad thing with yoghurt and honey, because when your parents pay you might as well.IMG_2941

I’ve thought about sensitivity today. In the way you use the word when describing personalities. I pick up others’ feelings so easily, as if I constantly go around just waiting for something to exchange my own ones with. Or like I have no guard, just let it change me. I thought about it because I can get so annoyed with people who complain a lot and really radiate that they’re unhappy or irritated. And usually it’s not their fault, fault is such a flawed concept, it’s just that they don’t work like that and might just need to say what they think even though they might not feel it very strongly. And maybe it’s something I haven’t thought about because I take for granted that everyone is like me, and so it turns into the height of egoism, to constantly go around putting people down. And maybe part of why I dislike conflict so much, I can’t inflict pain without hurting.

Completely unrelated, but because the power’s off we’ve been introduced to our housemates; the cockroaches. It presents the perfect test of relationships, killing cockroaches. Something I would like to do with a possible future husband. When everyone’s a bit irritated with each other and someone feels something in their hair and you scream and don’t know who’s gonna koll it or who’s gonna have the few flashlights you own. I’m not even kidding. I’m curious. Would you kill the person with the spray that’s made for the insects? Then they probably weren’t made for you anyway. In all seriousness though, I’m gonna stop writing now, it feels like the light attracts the bugs.

2015.09.13 21.53 I really want to go to sleep, so I’m just gonna do a quick recap of the day in list form, since that feels faster.

  • This morning I actually remembered my glasses, and the outfit combined made me look like a pretentious hipster. My dad confirmed that by saying I looked like someone who could sit and read at a café in New York.
  • We spent 7 hours in the car, heading from Lusaka to Livingstone and the Victoria Falls. We bought sugar canes as a snack along the way. Also, when we stopped to eat sandwiches, someone jumped off their bike and just stood a few metres from us, watching us eat. We’re like exotic animals.
  • The hotel we stay at is amazing, I like it here. But when pulling my shirt up to see what was itching I realised that I have red rashes all over my upper body. I’ve been feeling weird the whole day, so I think it’s just heat rashes because my body hates me and is always either too warm or too cold, but I’ll have to look it up when I get home and see if there’s something I can do about it. (Edit: I haven’t)

Driving through Zambia

IMG_2985 IMG_3011


Buying sugar canes

IMG_2980 IMG_3015 IMG_2991

IMG_3027 IMG_3026 IMG_3046 IMG_3043


Zambia Travel Diary – Day 6 – The Wedding

(2015.09.10 23.16 Night before the wedding. I’m slightly nervous, or maybe more worried, just hoping everything will be okay, that nothing will ruin their day and that I won’t make a fool out of myself. I’m sort of tense, waiting, anticipating, so I don’t even know what to write about that. But I just put the alarm, and glanced at the clock in different time zones. It’s different when travelling, when the earth itself has shown differences beneath my feet. It’s morning in Tokyo. 6.23. In my head I can see the sun rise, sweeping the map from one side to the other. I’m not at home, I’m in the world now, a dot on the map, so I suppose I should sleep before it gets me.

(I bought a new book today at a shopping centre, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou which I’ve wanted to read forever. It also changes the way I write, maybe to much, when I’ve just read something in a specific style. And maybe specifically when I write in english since it’s not my mother tongue. I really should sleep.))

2015.09.11 (technically 2015.09.12) 00.18 I wanted to think something as I sat on the stage at a (sort of) traditional african wedding reception in Zambia. It would be a lie to say I came up with something eloquent. Quick words to capture the motions and lights. Colour and clothes comprised. But I knew I wanted to shape something out of the word ‘different’, this weird adjective that has captured this journey in general and is meaningless and everything. Different just means different. Everything is. It’s a comparison.

I was a bridesmaid. They picked me up at 7.30 to go do our hair. I wrote a note on my phone while there:

10.58. The wedding is in one hour. We’re in some random saloon where they seem really surprised by styling a white girls hair. But they’re good. It’s not the same ‘every corner needs to be clean’ feel as in Sweden, which is quite nice actually. I wonder if we’ll make it in time though. Not as much for my own sake as for the others.

This was back when I was still tense, when nothing had happened yet and everything was to come. A to do list of nerve-wracking (that I blame my bad writing on) that made it difficult to wait.

Everything ran smoothly. We were late to the church, obviously, and for everything else, but everyone always is and that way the time-culture here that doesn’t work still kind of does.
Then came the party. We were the intro, walking in dancing and then quick out to change for the main dance. After which we were going to improvise. Together with one of the guys you had to stand in the spotlights on the dance floor and shake your body. I just did my best and hoped it lived up to the small expectations of a white girl. It was quite fun, not gonna lie. And then the guy leading the whole thing spoke some more.

As a bridesmaid I sat on s small stage at a table next to the wedded couple. When they introduced all of us though, the guy leading it had to say that I obviously couldn’t return from Zambia without a man. He proposed. I said no. He told me he would ask me something in another language and I should say yes. I said no. Hopefully in a way that made it fun.

It was really good though. I would consider the other bridesmaids my friends now, and so many people were very kind and perfectly polite. A lot of them aimed their eyes at my face and not my words. But some looked at my face and stayed at that and maybe we all just hate being looked at. As if people don’t even try to look for a soul.

But at the end of the day, the bride and groom were beautiful. I love living outside my comfort zone (even it it makes me irritated at the people in it when I come back) and I think that I learnt. And I should write more but I’m in bed and the power’s out so I need to turn off the flashlight, because my eyes are (repeatedly) falling shut while trying to come up with something good to end this with.

(On my wedding I want flowers wrapped around my tiara and a lot of sun and blankets and friends playing me songs and reading me poems)

Zambia Travel Diary – Day 5

2015.09.07 11.36 It’s easier for me to feel alone here because I don’t understand. It’s foolish, maybe, of me to look at people and think I know them through my first judgemental presumptions. But I do. And usually they’re close to me. Most people I see, I see a lot, and I like to imagine I solve them like puzzles even though maybe I don’t. Here I can’t even pretend. I look at people and my mind doesn’t trick me into believing I know what’s inside their heads when they look at me. I know that we’re similar all over the world, humans with sparkling nerve-endings and weird theories, but cultures still manage to change us until we don’t recognise each other. Myself as much as anyone else. I wish I could be here long enough to learn how they think, and that we could look the same and erase any visible distance.

12.00 My book is so good. The Ocean at The End of The Lane by Neil Gaiman. Like daang, it might be one of the best ones I’ve ever read.


22.16 The streets are different here. If you were to drive to the sister of the woman my uncle’s marrying, it’s a right left right left, and you pass by kids walking around in school uniforms, people selling fruits and marble columns. And I found a nice book store today, in one of the slightly fancy shopping malls. Self help book after self help book and tons about business and career, but they had some fiction too (That’s what you need, learn to see from that, learn to see from that).

(2015.09.08 00.04 I just finished my book, The Ocean at The End of The Lane by Neil Gaiman. I think it’s one of my favourites. It’s small in a way, not high and mighty, bigger on the inside. Not bound by logic in a way that’s inspiring, and magic seeping through every letter into my heart.)

Zambia travel diary – Day 4

(2015.09.05 I’ve got the world’s greatest grandma. She says she doesn’t care what colour her hair is so when I added some pink to mine she said I could add some to hers too. I put it at the back of her neck, because she suggested a pink fringe but I think it would’ve made mum a bit mad.

(Okay, so apparently that’s all I wrote that day))


My grandmother. This picture doesn’t look like her. Not like her personality, the way good photos sometimes do, but it looks like someone so I like it anyways.

2015.09.06 I’ve lost count of the days. Or the energy to count them. Maybe that says more. I’m in that moment of wanting to express everything, because what even is my life, at the same time as I’m living a lot, thank you very much, so I’m not sure as to when I should find time for that expression.

Today I went to a kitchen party. It was different. Try to imagine the most stereotypical traditional african party, but then mixed with I don’t even know. It’s one of the ceremonies leading up to the wedding and the woman getting married is brought in covered with a chitenge (piece of fabric in bright patterns that they make clothes of or just use as it is around the waist) and then there was something about the groom being led in to uncover her and give her gifts, but they did it in a bit of a strange order. No one knew exactly what was happening except for the older woman who led everything and walked ahead of us while dancing (shaking her booty). Everyone simply did what she said while everyone cheered and they played loud music on the drums and sang. We laughed a lot.


Where I sleep and/or hide from insects


Lizard next to the shower, they’re everywhere but since they don’t crawl into beds or suitcases they’re my homies anyway.


Ego pic before the kitchen party

IMG_2363 IMG_2522 IMG_2535

Warm nights (but wrapped in a chitenge anyways). Night!

IMG_2538 IMG_2541

Zambia Travel Diary – Day 3

2015.09.04  09.06 The winds are changing, apparently. The monsun season is coming in about a month.

16.05 For some reason I’m almost more stressed when I’m actually travelling than I am before. I love looking forward to things, live in the knowledge that I’m going soon. But now when I’m actually here, my inability to live in the present makes it difficult to forget that I’m going home. At the same time I am here very now. But I don’t know, it stresses me that there are so many things I’ll never belong to. So many cultures I’ll never know, and so many streets I’ll never remember.

Here, everything is different. The way they build houses, which makes me think that we don’t do it wrong, but maybe that we’re a bit boring. There are a lot of ways to do things. And the plants. My uncle pointed some of them out for me today. The ones we have inside of the stone walls where we stay. The hedge around the small house we’re renting is apparently passion fruit. Lemon trees grow close by. Mango. Close to the pool there’s a big avocado tree and on the grass lies drop-fruit that looks like eyes. We went on walks right outside as well, but you have to be a bit careful. It’s okay since it’s daytime at least. A bit boring though with walls around a lot of places. You have to walk away a bit, to where all the people are. They look at you a lot. There are not a lot of white people here, and apparently they’re fascinated by long hair since most people here have to wear extensions to get that. But everyone does have really beautiful hair, I think it’s important for a lot of people. They all really do carry things on their heads as well, It really does look stereotypical, almost everything here, like the heart of our image of Africa. But a bit dry. It is the very end of the dry season now and there’s a lot of wind, there’s changing before the monsun next month. And the ground is very red, red dust in your eyes from the wind. There are a lot of people by the road as well, and small stalls that look like they’re falling apart, pieces of plastic balanced on sticks, plastic bags hanging down with fruits and all sorts of things. Furniture that they make themselves stand along the road. A whole world of life and people milling around that you can see because it’s not hidden behind houses and walls, in most areas. It’s meaningless to try to find your way though, few places have correct addresses.

Maybe that’s why you need to travel. To see that the trees can look different (Some of them have branches that aren’t spread out, but instead collected in a ring so that they fan out in all directions and almost form different floors) Otherwise I get stuck with birches and familiar ways to say hello and inside jokes and forget (don’t longer know) and this I should remember.



22.24 I love to forget who I am. Look at my face in the mirror and not being able to recognise it. We’re souls, not volume, sometimes I think it’s bad that we can see.