Airplane travel: the art of being sedentary, sleeping a lot, and still feeling tired. It does make me value my ability to sleep anywhere and everywhere. Those silly airplane-go-around-your-neck pillows? Amazing.

Here’s the zig-zag: Vancouver to Dallas (4 hours), Dallas to London (10 hours), London to Accra (7 hours), Accra to Cape Coast (2 hour drive). It really wasn’t that bad; if you’re in a position to complain about air travel I’d say that’s pretty lucky. Daniella says the drive was harrowing: driver with a lead foot, determined to do 120 the whole way regardless of the obstacles/cars/people in front of him, and considers lanes only as guidelines. I wasn’t fazed – I was asleep.

Ebenezer, our contact from home, picked us up from the airport. It’s always interesting to meet a voice in real life. He is younger than expected and very friendly. He promised to take care of our needs, so I requested cheesecake and a helicopter. Accommodate THAT.

The internet is slow. I accidently closed a window that I had just finished loading and Daniella and I both gasped.  She had come over to show me something, but then she just got up and left in frustration.

The last time I was in Ghana I came as a student. I took courses at the University of Ghana in the capital city (Accra) and lived in the International Students Hostel (ISH) with other international students and a Ghanaian roommate. For 4 months I fell in love, and Ghana was my home. It took a year before I stopped thinking about Ghana every day, and another 6 months before I stopped thinking about Ghana every other day. Just as I finally got over it, I’m back again.

Now I return to a different city, different campus, and different people. I’m coming home but everyone is gone. I’m messaging all my old Ghana friends saying “COME HERE!” And if I had a spare $2k for each one I would probably buy their tickets. Last night I lay in bed revisiting my favourite old Ghana moments; it doesn’t make for good sleep. This morning I set up my old Ghana phone, reading over old text messages and deleting contacts that no longer exist here; it doesn’t make for easy reading.

I’ve commented before that the more you travel (not just as a tourist, but actually LIVE) in different places the harder it is to be happy in one. You fall in love with something about each place that you can’t bring home with you; the more places you visit, the more pieces you leave behind, until traveling becomes one big heartbreak. This outlook is admittedly depressing (and very privileged) so please feel free to share your more positive ones, I would love to hear them.


We met a girl named Amaka. She only wanted to be friends with Daniella. I know this because she looked at me and asked if she could speak privately with Daniella (and we had just met her!!!). She took Daniella around a corner and asked for her phone number. When they returned I gave Amaka the most venomous look I could muster. Amaka said, “you are looking for trouble”. Without breaking my stare I reply: “I’ve already found it”.

We didn’t have a phone and we needed to contact Ebenezer. We went to one of the girls Ebenezer had said could help us. She opened the door and dialed him for us. “Hi Ebenezer”, she said on the phone, “the white people are here looking for you”.

Items lost or stolen:

None…well, the Department of Homeland Security broke open the lock on one of my bags, if that counts. Daniella calls it “travelling while brown”.

8 thoughts on “Re-travelling

  1. Arsalan, Instead of leaving little pieces everywhere one travels, i think you pick-up little pieces each place that you travel/live. Instead of heartbreaks, the constant reminders of times and places gone by are treasures that you get to re-live because you were lucky enough to get that experience. P.S. if you go to Kakum Nat. Park, there is a tree house in the rainforest you can stay in overnight, and then get up really early and watch the sun come up over the rain forest on the canopy walk!!! It is expensive (for Ghana), but worth the money in my mind. Have fun, can’t wait to hear more.

    • ah! I remember reading about that last time but we didn’t end up doing it. Will try to make it this time and post the sweet pictures that result.

  2. I’m looking forward to hearing more about your travels Arsalan! It’s great to see a westerner check their privilege and be more interested in what he or she can learn rather than “develop”.

  3. love love love reading this. when i read that you requested cheesecake and a helicopter, i immediately was reminded of our time in cote d’ivoire: “if i wanted to push, i would have gotten a STROLLER!” so. funny.
    when i was in ghana last summer i think i felt similarly to how you described – i was SO SO excited to go back, and then when i went back, everything was different. i found myself questioning what i fell in love with the first time – the other foreign students, ghana, the way i change when i travel, the particular experience of studying abroad, etc. i decided it was probably some combination of all of the above…
    can’t wait to read more about your adventures. i know the internet is slow but post as much as you possibly can so i can live vicariously through you!

  4. Hilarious that they referred to you as the ‘white people’. But I am not impressed by your lack of respect; why you be glaring at, and makin’ snarky remarks to Amaka? Check those assumptions boy, and represent Canada better. 😛

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