Rob and Dee Overland in Africa 2014 – 10,000 miles – 4 months – 10 countries

old friends

When Dee and I sailed around the world we were part of a wandering band of cruising gypsies and it was normal to enter each new harbor and look for boats we knew.   It was quite common to find friends we had not seen in a year or two and 8,000 miles previously. Wonderful as these reunions were they were really not all that surprising as most sailors head the same way- downwind, and call at the same ports at the same times of year dictated by hurricane seasons.

Today as we pulled into a small border post to enter Swaziland from So. Africa we were the only tourists there. All the other vehicles were heavy commercial trucks or buses transporting local workers. Then we saw another truck almost identical to ours pull in. It was rigged with roof top tent and camper just like ours.   I  only glimpsed the back of the driver’s head as he went into the customs building, but I had an immediate thought that he looked like a friend from Boulder, Colorado. I realized that was a ridiculous idea but a second later Dee said, “that looked like Jethro’s ponytail.” I laughed and replied that “I had thought the same thing.”

But no sooner were we inside when I heard his familiar voice as he greeted the Swazi immigration officer. It was our friend Jethro who had joined us on our Grand Canyon trip the previous year. We had done the river together for 25 days but were not really close friends and had not stayed in touch.   Dee and I have a huge circle of friends from all our travels but nevertheless, what are the odds of seeing only one other tourist car in this rather remote border post into Swaziland at the exact same instant we were there and that car being a friend from Colorado, 10,000 miles away.