Getting the Idea of traveling for a year.

During the early 1970s, when my travel addiction was starting to take hold, I met some people on the Greek island of Mykonos who had closed their house in Canada, stored clothes with friends in Europe, and were on their way around the world for a year. As I  frolicked in the summer sun of the Greek islands and listened to their plans of following the summer from the northern hemisphere to the southern hemisphere, the idea of one day doing the same was beginning to formulate in my mind. I wanted this adventure, but I was unsure when the stars would align enough to have the time and the money to take on such an adventure. I started to explore the idea by taking longer trips to places I had never visited before - five weeks in Mexico, six weeks in Ukraine, and three months in France. I was getting more confident and comfortable on the road.

Traveling During A Pandemic

I spent four months of the pandemic in Clifton Park, New York, with my wife, even though my wife and I were legally separated, and my two sons. My daughter, Jojo, decided to stay on her own. These four months were a healing experience where our broken family had a chance to come back together and recreate our love for each other. But, after four months in a house, I could not wait to get on the road.  I decided to go to Kyiv, Ukraine, for a month because I had friends there, and it would be a reasonable time to travel.  I booked a flight on Delta Airlines to Amsterdam and then to Kyiv. The flight to Amsterdam was almost empty. Maybe twenty people on a Boeing 767 airplane typically seat over two hundred passengers. I stretched out and slept with no social distancing issues. I asked one of the flight attendants how they could afford to fly a plane with so few passengers, and she said that cargo was paying for the flight. When I landed in Amsterdam at a deserted airport, I could see the impact of the pandemic on the lives of all the people who would generally service the travelers who passed through the airport.

The Shamba La Shela School in Lamu, Kenya

Ever since I was a child growing up in Jamaica, I heard people mumble about going back to Africa. Jamaican history reminded me that Marcus Garvy promoted the idea during the 1940s. I listened to Rastafarians preach about going to Ethiopia, which they believed was the promised land during my formative years. However, I had no desire to go back; I had my heart set on going forward to New York.