It was a beautiful Saturday here in the West Province of Cameroon. One friend of the French came to visit from Douala. Unlike the rest of us, he enjoys the luxury of an expat life and therefore rolling in town with an Isuzu SUV and a driver. Four French, one American and the Cameroonian driver comfortably piled into this luxurious vehicle and set off for a daytrip to Foumban.
Unlike in the US where SUVs are purely for decorative and gas-wasting purpose, a SUV in Cameroon is quite useful. With wind blowing through my hair, and smell of fresh countryside air rather than the usual smell of exhaust and body odor, I remembered how wonderful a car ride is. Oh, the things we take for granted.
The town of Foumban is vibrant, yet not chaotic like Bafoussam. We had lunch at Café Royal, which had a terrific view and then visited the local market and saw the famous mosque. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to visit the sultan, but it looked grand from the outside. This trip made me realize why people love exotic travel. Because when you have money, you can just stop in and enjoy the exotic culture, and then return to your sweet SUV and luxurious resort hotel for the evening. All without dealing with the grueling daily life.
Anyway, what blew my mind about this trip was the drive back. It was near dusk, and the gorgeous views became infinitely more beautiful with the changing colors of the sky and ever moving clouds. I did my best to capture the scenery, but the views are simply so beautiful that pictures do not do them justice. At that moment, only those around me and myself will ever be able to share that memory to its exact beauty.
I felt free. The kind of freedom I haven’t felt in months. Then I said a meditation, “Breathing in, I calm my mind. Breathing out, I smile. Dwelling in the present moment. This is a wonderful moment.” I repeat that in my mind as I see the views pass before me; I felt calm, in love with the nature, the world, and my life. There I was, in a nice comfortable car with great people whom I just meant not long ago, sharing a moment that we will be able to talk about for years to come. I don’t ever want to stop traveling, because I don’t ever want to stop meeting incredibly interesting and life-loving people.
So it was then I told myself this: always welcome the unexpected, smile away the sadness, and recognize that beauty is all around me.