Looking for Sean McLachlan? He mostly hangs out on the Civil War Horror blog these days, but feel free to nose around this blog for some fun older posts!

You can also find him on his Twitter feed and Facebook page.

Friday, 2 April 2010

The travel bug that just won't die

Sorry for the long silence, but if you're a regular reader of this blog or any of my other social media outlets like Facebook or Twitter, you know I've been in Ethiopia and Somaliland for the past two months. Besides writing, my greatest love is travel. I previously posted about my travel year of 2009, which included a lot of shuttling back and forth between Spain, England, and Missouri, plus a hike across England along Hadrian's Wall and a short trip to Holland. Fun stuff, but nothing truly adventurous.

This year started well with some adventure travel. Thanks to two of my publishers, I had the money to go to the Horn of Africa, a place I've always dreamed of visiting. When I was ten I read a National Geographic article about the monastery at Debre Damo, a medieval Ethiopian monastery on top of a cliff. The only way to get there is to climb up a dodgy-looking leather rope. I thought that was the coolest thing ever and thirty years later I finally got to do it!

Almudena joined me for the first three weeks and we celebrated our tenth anniversary in Ethiopia. We did the popular historic northern loop, taking in ancient sites such as the monasteries on Lake Tana, Gondar, Axum, and Lalibela. Then she went home and I headed east to the medieval walled city of Harar and further on to Somaliland, an unrecognized state that comprises the northern third of what used to be Somalia. It was cool to visit "Somalia" and find it peaceful and friendly, but my favorite place by far was Harar. There's a special feel to walled cities that I've noticed in Damascus, Jerusalem, and Segovia. They comprise their own separate worlds, and their inhabitants are very aware of their history and culture.

So is my travel bug satiated? On the contrary, it's just woken up! I'm off to Italy in May, and hopefully The Gambia this autumn. Also, I'm going to try to convince my publishers to send me back to Ethiopia next year. I made lots of friends in Harar and I'd like to visit soon.

I'm writing a series of travel articles about Ethiopia for Gadling, and when that's done in about a month I'll do a series on Somaliland. Plus I intend to get back to blogging here on a regular basis. The Internet connection in Ethiopia was terrible. Most of the country was on dialup! Stay tuned.

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