“1 Bedroom Flat to Rent in Hammersmith, West London”
And with that, posted on the internet for the world to see, it suddenly feels very official. To most people, Georgie and I have only recently made the choice to uproot our lives and to go and live in West Africa, in a small town called Makeni in the North of Sierra Leone, but in truth the foundations were laid long ago, perhaps even as far back as the night we first met – in the early hours of 2010 – in a dark corner of a bar in Exeter. It was then that Georgie first shared with me her dream of living and working in Africa and if I had known then what the future had in store for us both I probably would have paid a lot more attention. I like to think I asked some intelligent and relevant questions at the time – though neither of us can recall any – but I certainly never considered how that might affect me. In any case, I was still in blissful ignorance some two years later when a friend asked, deadpan, “So, Georgie going to Sierra Leone. You think this is a bad idea? Or a very bad idea…?”
At that point, of course, I was still swearing that I would never move to London – let alone Africa – and it would be much much later, sat in our London flat, that I myself first raised the possibility of joining her on this journey without maps, but by then I had watched Inception, so I understood what was going on.
Sat here in the wintery months of early 2014 the plan still seems more like a dream than anything else – the idea that in a few short weeks we will be roasting in the African heat, finding our way in a new culture – Georgie with a new job and all the challenges that will entail – and me looking to carve out my own niche in a world so far removed from my own experience that I can barely imagine it.
We look ahead with excitement more than trepidation – Georgie is doing the practical things like booking flights and vaccinations, researching visas and organising storage for our belongings whilst I fret about how many memory cards I will need for my camera and whether I will be able to find a reliable internet connection. In this way, all bases are covered and we make a good team. I did take pictures of the flat to advertise it online, but it was Georgie who wrote and posted the advert.
Georgie has organised a gas safety certificate for our prospective tenants, I have started this blog.
I hope that we will be able to keep this updated with our experiences and our adventure as it unfolds. I have almost no idea of what lies ahead of us or how things will work out, but one thing’s for sure: it’s going to be an interesting experience.