Why this blog?

Traveling during the pandemic! Apparently so 😊

I am currently planning my trip to Kenya, which is due to happen in less than two months.

Wait wait wait: I am doing all this right, it is for essential reasons only! My essential reason to relocate for 6 months in the sunny African Horn is the ethnographic study I have to do as a part of my PhD.

May sound exciting, but I am scared stiff, genuinely panicking and mostly insomniac.

But I am also very very excited, and extremely grateful for this opportunity. As a dear friend told me after I was venting for 20 minutes, I am able to access more things and opportunities than 99% of the world.

I have been deflated for months; feeling down, demotivated, tired; going lost in my own room. As everyone, it goes without saying.

Now I can go, and I have the duty to set aside worries and react!

Why this blog? Well, I do not know. I don’t even have a real name for it – this one is temporary and open to better suggestions.

Ideally, I would like to write about travels, cultures, and anthropology – my main passions, only seconds to food and mountains!

The reality is that there is nothing like fun and easy travel anymore. Cultures are more and more confined, close in themselves. Anthropology may not exist for much longer, if ethnography cant be quickly resumed.

This is why going to Kenya is a unique, special opportunity these days.

I will try to talk about my ordinary life in Kenya, about the people I will meet, the things I will learn, the food I will taste. And I will try to take you with me!

But I will also try to entangle this new dimension, this strange experience of traveling during the pandemic. This new reality where social interactions are now coded by social distancing, where smiley faces are masked by face covering, where handshakes are substituted by hand-sanitisers.

I will therefore use this as a sacred space to talk open-hearted about daily worries, anxiety, and frustrations which may occur during this unconventional time to travel.

We all felt a bit like aliens this year, like strangers in our own reality. A reality so suddenly changed that we could not recognise it. Anthropologists have always been inspired and fascinated by the difference, by the alternative, by the exotic. I still am! But we were not more equipped than others to cope with the pandemic. To be honest, we have been absolutely shattered, while crawling on our knees for the impossibility to travel, interact, participant-observing Others.

I think what is waiting for me in Kenya is the exotic of the exotic. It is the exponentiated exotic of traveling during a pandemic.

That’s why you will accept that not only excitement and fun will be here, but also the genuine insecurity which is at the top of the cake of this Covid-19!

Drying seeds for the next crop. Kenya, January 2020


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