Borders Burkina Faso Ghana Ivory Coast Sierra Leone

Day 37: A Big Decision

As you will have guessed from my posts over the last few days, I have been wrestling with a choice between continuing East then South to Cape Town and fly home, or to go West then South to Sierra Leone and then North back through Europe. It was not an easy choice to make but I am now 100% confident I have made the right one. I am going to Sierra Leone.

Nothing has really changed apart from my route. My final destination has always been to get home safely. Cape Town in South Africa was just part of the route. The journey and meeting people’s was always the real goal. The number of kilometers travelled will be similar because I am at the halfway point.

Changing the route has the following advantages:

I miss the trouble spots of Nigeria and Boko Haram. The border between Nigeria and Cameroon is still officially closed, although some people are getting through.

I miss the physically difficult stages of the Congos where there is little tarmac and lots of deep rutted roads. I am 51 years old. 😆

I get to go visit the Street Child projects in Sierra Leone.

I save myself about £2,500 in air fares and shipping to get me and the bike back to the UK.

The downsides of changing the route were:

Missing the wildlife reserves in Southern Africa – but I have walked with lions; plus they have some reserves here in Ghana that i plan to visit next week.

Letting other people down. This was especially brought home to me by the look on Hussains face when I told him my decision yesterday. He looked crushed and he explained that he wanted me to achieve my goal of getting to South Africa. We have had long discussions about it since then and I hope he now accepts that reaching South Africa was never my goal. My goal was to travel by motorbike to see the world and meet people. I will continue to do that, just by a different route.

With the new route in mind, I needed o get a few more visas.

Burkino Faso was first on my list this morning so dropped off my passport there and completed the forms. I was asked to return at 3pm to collect it so next went to Cote D’Ivoire, Guinea and Sierra Leone embassies to find out what was needed for them.

Meeting the lady at the Cote D’Ivoire embassy was a strange experience. I still don’t know if she was taking the piss out of me, or we misunderstood each other, or what it was. Anyway it would take 3 days and they were unclear as to whether I could get Laisee Passee for the bike. I decided to go around that country not through it.

Guinea was a totally different experience. It turned out the guy that opened the main gate and let me in was not your usual security guard. He was the deputy consol. He explain what I needed, he even wrote it down for me and said it usually took 5 days. He gave me his personal number before i left and said to call him any time. I definitely want to visit Guinea.

Next was Sierra Leone, again a friendly reception, explained what I needed to do and told me the process takes 3 days. I also need a letter of introduction from Street Child Sierra Leone. I will be emailing them later to ask for this.

At just after 3pm i had my passport back and was on my way to the Guinea embassy again. I expected to drop off my application and go back next week to collect it. No! Our friendly deputy consol greeted us (Hussain was with me this time) and he did it all there and then. I walked out with my passport complete with a multiple entry visa (it was expensive though $200).

Time for the beach Ôÿ║ we spent the rest of the day swimming and lounging around on a private beach managed by those great guys at CPS Security. Tomorrow i have been invited to a music record launch party at the same beach.
A great day was completed by Hussains wife cooking me another great meal.

Accra, Greater Accra Region, Ghana

5 replies on “Day 37: A Big Decision”

Do not think in any way that you have let any one down John. The simple fact is that you have achieved a great deal you know that and so do we. Enjoy the next part of your adventure and take care.
John and Christine

Hi John,

Mate I’ve been enjoying following your journey and am so chuffed you battled through the horrors of Rosso and made it to where you are. Personally I think you’ve made the right decision, and you’re right, it’s all about the journey you take, not the route or miles. It’s in the faces you see, the people you meet and the friends you make.

Keep it going bud, it’s stirring all the memories I hold dear from time on the road.

Stay safe my friend.


We are all so happy here in Australia that you are coming home. I think you are too. Today’s text reads so much more calm in context the last few echoed your angst We are all so proud of your achievement and you have helped so many children through street child.Will you please have a normal midlife crisis when you come home no more crazy plans! Love Mum x

If by going to visit the street child project you raise awareness in the local media there and here then you have more than achieved your goal x

Tough decision however if you have as much pleasure and experience the welcome my husband Bob and I did when we visited Sierra Leonne before the troubles it will more than compensate. I know things will have changed but the people are generous and kind. Stay safe and enjoy the new challenges. X

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