This is the story of a journalist who backpacks solo through Africa. Yes, it’s my take on exploring a continent that’s so different from my home. But it’s also about what it’s like to travel alone as a woman, why it’s worth dropping everything to follow a dream and how I grew along the way.
* * *
Tentative title: Please Send Pants
When Lexi Grant quits her job to travel in Africa, she doesn’t think twice about going solo. At twenty-seven, she craves the freedom and the challenge – and she knows it’s unlikely that her career-minded or family-focused friends would want to gallivant around a continent full of squat toilets and bush taxis, anyhow.
But she quickly realizes that traveling alone isn’t as easy as she expected. Independent to a fault, she ventures to a deserted zoo in Burkina Faso, to the sandstorm-plagued desert of the infamous Timbuktu, and to the mountains of Cameroon, where she grieves with a polygamous family, all the while trying to avoid eating their phallic cassava sticks. But when Lexi finds herself alone in a dangerous Malagasy bus station after midnight, she’s finally forced to admit she’s vulnerable. Can she really complete this trip on her own? And how might learning to lean on others change her life back home?
Full of both adventure and introspection, this story is satisfyingly real, freeing readers from the fairy-tale love that drives most modern-day travel memoirs; one popular blogger called it the anti-Eat, Pray, Love. If you’ve ever dreamed about taking a leap in life, Please Send Pants will inspire you to make it happen.