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Rohit Chandra


The Other Side: A CEO backpacks through Africa


After my last few updates, many of you have expressed a desire to go ‘Backpacking in Africa’ Well before you fall too much in love with that idea, here’s a reality check for the bold! 🙂

Keep in mind as you leave your Bruno Magli shoes at home, Versace ties in the closet and latest model 7-series in the garage and go backpacking in Africa all ALONE with just ONE bag on your back you step into a whole different world…

In this one bag I have all my camera equipment (SLR camera, zoom lens, 40 rolls of Kodak gold, etc.), video equipment, toiletries, sleeping bag, sleeping mat, mosquito net, rain coat, warm fleece jacket (an absolute MUST for some high altitude trekking/camping!), travel guidebooks, and walking shoes (another essential – remember the Congo Jungle trek!) Of course, you also need your sandals for the warm African city life… it doesn’t leave much room for… er, clothes…

So you learn to optimize as your adventure shapes out. For instance my trekking pants with all the pockets are also “zip-offs” so they double up as shorts, and since they have the appropriate lining they actually triple up as swimming trunks too. With just one more pair of shorts and trousers it doesn’t leave me with many options on what to wear on any given day.

Now is when you are reminded of the simple pleasures in life –

  • Like being able to listen to music when you want, and what YOU WANT – hah try carrying your Walkman/Discman!
  • There is a sense of relief knowing that you are going to be staying at the same place for more than one night: that means one might be able to get lucky and actually have some clothes washed 🙂
  • It a feeling of delight when you know that you can have a fresh set of clothes to wear (not even different set but just a fresh, clean set.;) This is something you learn to save for a special day.
  • A shower is always welcome and a hot one is something to cherish.
  • Talking of bathrooms, toilets with a long drop are nice, and ones that have a seat, or those that flush a rarity. Toilet paper? Ya, make sure to ALWAYS carry your own 😉
  • One of the biggest rushes of adrenaline I had was when I put my card into an ATM and money actually came out!!! Yipeee – THAT WAS SHEER JOY!!!!

And I leave you to ponder & reconsider backpacking thru Africa… until then… God Bless America,


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