The tarmac quickly turned to the common dirt, red roads of africa. Everything was stained this colour as this fine sand worked its way into every crack and cranny. Overloaded cars, buses, motorcycles and bicycles used the roads, everything else was carried on the heads of the passing women. Everyone threw happy smiles and thumbs up my way and the kids all yelled "Mzungu" with great spirit as I passed. Stopping anywhere always led to an instant crowd forming around me.
The finest moment of this journey was cycling in Mikumi national park. No gates to stop a wanderer just warning signs of "wild animals" I was soon cycling with Elephants, Buffalo, Zebras and Giraffes. It truly felt like this was stepping back in time when the animals roamed all the lands and I was nothing more than just another one passing by.
Using the same hand pumps where the villagers queued up at and eating a few road side cooked meals soon caught up with me, leading to some of the most violent stomach pains and vomiting I've ever experienced. At night I'd only make a few steps outside the tent before squatting down and during the day jumping behind bushes in the nick of time as the unstoppable flowed out. Day after day, after day this went on, never being able to stop as I didnt have sufficient water (not that any of it stayed in for long) and it felt like it would be certain death.
The rotten luck of more punctures than I eventually had glue and patches for, plus the fatigue and feeling of starvation, I decided I could take no more. I'd become grumpy, snapping at everything and not even bothering to smile back at the happy faces passing by, I pushed and cried my way forward to Iringa, the next big place about 400 kilometers away and after some thought and rest, I decided this was enough for me. It had turned into a life I could no longer handle any further and it was time to chuck in the towel.
It took a while to accept that this was it and even trying a few bus rides from place to place I soon realised I'd actually had enough of being on the road...words I'd never thought possible just a few months back.
Thank you to everyone for their wonderful messages of support that often encouraged me on and created the feeling that I wasn't alone in this. Now, I head home... bringing this journey to its end.