Now on our blog: "What Southern Africa Meant to Me"

Never have I traveled to a place so unprepared.

I barely touched any guidebooks. Nor did I look up information online. Few of my friends had ever been to South Africa, and none that I knew of had been to Botswana. I'd been traveling long enough to not trust the media, or unverified word of mouth.

What little I knew came indirectly. Last summer, in Indonesia, at the sparse, overpriced bookstores, I found several cheap copies of Nelson Mandela's biography, Long Walk to Freedom. I read it just a few days, immersed in a story that, I realized, I knew far too little off, shocked that apartheid, and Mandela's imprisonment, lasted well into my own lifetime...

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