Tag Archives: Botswana
In Just over two weeks I’m headed back to South Africa and Botswana. I’m going to be in Johannesburg for just over a week and I’m spending six days in Gaborone, Botswana for a conference. I’m excited to go, but wanted to go as a single-bag traveler this time, just a backpack and my a purse. Traveling light will make transitioning between four different accommodations in 2.5 weeks much easier.
A couple of years ago, when I traveled to this same conference and then took time to explore Namibia and visit friends in Johannesburg, I went through several backpacks before I settled on a backpack from Tortuga. I really liked that pack and was able to carry enough in it to look professional at my conference and comfortable through the Namib desert. However, there were several drawbacks of that bag. First, it was a little too tall. If I was six feet tall the bag would have been perfectly proportioned, but as it was it was awkward for me to carry. Second, it didn’t have any weather proofing on it. So, I needed to scout out a new bag. I went back to Tortuga and went all in on a bundle they had, which I promptly returned.
Next, I went down the YouTube rabbit hole of professional bag reviewers. (Who knew that was a thing). Then I went to a meeting where someone had a new Eagle Creek bag. And I thought, I should check out the products on their web site. So, I watched videos, looked up reviews on Amazon, and watched videos on how they designed their various bags. After much research and obsessing, I decided on the Gear Hauler. As soon as I unboxed the bag, I was excited to use it. Thankfully, I had a week-long trip just a couple of days away to give the bag a test run.
Here is an inventory of all that I was able to pack in my bag:
- Five pairs of workout leggings
- Five workout tops
- Two pairs of somewhat bulky shoes
- Five dresses
- Collapsible water bottle
- Socks, underwear, and hose for five days
- Sports bra
- Daily wear bra
- Toiletries: conditioner, hair oil, deodorant, etc.
The bag was not overly heavy and I could have fit more! I cannot wait to use this bag for international travel. It will easily fit my laptop, adapters, and small notebooks. I’m planning on doing single-bag travel when I lead my next study abroad program too and this bag is perfect.
I have not been to a big cat park in South Africa where I can pet or take close-ups with the cubs or adult cats. Its REALLY tempting! I mean, lion cubs! They are too cute and I would LOVE to hear those cats purr up close. But these venues are problematic. Each time I see one of those pictures pop up in my various newsfeeds I just see “dead cats walking”. These big cat farms are breeding grounds for the canned “hunting” (calling what happens hunting is problematic) farms, where wealthy foreigners pay to shoot and import the trophy.
But I just can’t bring myself to go. I know in a case like this my active non-anticipation in this tourist activity will not change the industry. However, I can keep talking and writing about the ethical issues of these parks and tourist ventures. Hopefully, as the truth spreads, as it did with Blackfish, tourist money can go towards efforts that do provide actual conservation efforts to protect these amazing big cats and their habitat.
Yes, the purpose of my trip isn’t 100% vacation! Although I am looking forward to everything I get to do.
This afternoon I received an email from the conference organizers worth the schedule. I’m excited to hear the presentations and meet the other presenters. And surprise, I’m chairing one of the sessions!
Here are some of the topics:
“Keeping it real: teaching technical
communication as an authentic
“Attitudes and Motivation
in SLA: Does Attitude/Motivation Outweigh Aptitude?”
“Professional work as
identity work: analysis of
professional association websites”
And there’s even a writing center presentation! “Using a Writing Centre to enhance students’ writing skills in a Technical
University: A case study”
I am really looking forward to meeting and learning from these academics.
Third time is a charm.
What’s one of the best perks of being a graduate student? Conferences! I know, I know. Conferences get a bad wrap sometimes, but I try to double down on my conference time. Fall semester I got to see Philadelphia for the first time and was blown away.
So, in this same vien-I’m presenting at a conference in Botswana and taking time to visit South Africa while I’m already on that side. The first time I went to South Africa was in 2013 and only for a week. The trip was nine days but a good chunk was traveling. We crammed a lot in during those nine days. Last year, I did an internship at NMMU in Port Elizabeth. I felt lucky each day I was there. Now, I’m going back! I’ll be there for almost a month. I’ll fly into Johannesburg and explore the city until the middle of the month when I go to Gaborone for the conference. After the conference I’ll go to Port Elizabeth for a week. When I leave PE I’ll fly to Johannesburg and back to the US.