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Mark Moxon's Travel Writing

Mali: Down on the Upside

Mark on top of a Saharan dune
I should have been ecstatic while camel trekking in the Sahara, but for some reason I just wasn't

You might like to skip this one. It's probably nothing more than self-indulgent pap, but I feel like I need to get it down on paper. After all, dumping one's brain means that sometimes you write rubbish; so be it.

A Soppy Interlude

First up, I might be six weeks into my trip, but I still can't stop thinking about Peta, my girlfriend, my best friend and my soul mate. I've never tried to conduct a long-distance relationship before – the last time I went travelling the only long distance was between me and the merest hint of anything remotely approaching a relationship – but this time it's different. I've whinged about this before and I'll probably whinge about it again, so forgive me, but I miss my girlfriend more than I thought possible.

Bring It On!

Second, I've been talking to lots of people about West Africa, and I have yet to find anyone who has anything really positive to say. I find plenty of people who think it's a reasonably interesting region, and plenty of people who don't like it at all, but I haven't met anyone who raves about it or who would recommend it as a must-see part of the world. On the other hand I keep bumping into people who rave about Asia, especially India, and I think back to the happy times I had there, waking up every day to something else that would completely blow my mind. After six weeks in West Africa I'm still waiting for something – anything – to make my jaw drop, and I'm not alone. It seems that most people find that travelling here is difficult, tiring, expensive and devoid of life-changing experiences.

Write Off

Perhaps because of the area, but perhaps not, I'm suffering from artistic apathy. I've set myself the target of writing a reasonable amount about my trip, and I'm meeting my target in terms of the number of words I'm writing. The only problem is that it's not flowing, and I'm not that enamoured with what I'm churning out. I'll keep on writing, because it's a good discipline to do so, but I have yet to put the finishing touches to anything that I'm really proud of. So far it's all been travel writing by numbers, and it's not that satisfying.

Loopy Pills

Finally, and here's the really paranoid one, I've been talking to people about the anti-malarial pill Lariam. I've been taking my weekly tablet for nine weeks now, and it doesn't affect me at all... I think.

End Game

Honestly, it's pathetic, really. The fact is that I'm only six weeks into my adventure of a lifetime, I'm on budget and on schedule, the best is definitely yet to come, and I've still got an entire continent to explore at my leisure. This whole trip exists because I wanted to do it, and because I decided to fly to Africa, and here I am whinging about feeling a little bit blue. What on earth do I have to be miserable about? Nothing, that's what.