My final blog, finally, about this voyage into Tunisia’s Sahara Desert is a wee recap on all participants.
16 people plus myself, 8 teams in 9 cars traversed wave after wave of dunes for 10 days.
From my point of view, it was the team spirit that made this trip extraordinary.
I have been observing, with and without my camera.
Not being able to communicate with everyone the way I wanted to was a little discouraging, but that’s just how the pineapple crumbled.
It was an incredible adventure that won’t be forgotten.
No matter what circumstantial predicament we were in, the group enthusiasm was never suspended.
And that really says it all about this journey.
Each team may have had slightly different motives to take part in this caravan, but spending precious time with close friends and family are memories to look back to. Forever.
Five out of these nine cars were father and son/daughter combinations.
Hard working parents wanting to spend time with grown kids before they flown the nest, as time flies by.
Two generations meeting new and old friends.
This I believe was the foundation for this stronghold within the group.
May I introduce to you, in no carticular order.
Davide Senior drove alone in his silver Landcruiser, which was a tremendous effort.
Not having an extra pair of eyes and hands-on has its disadvantages whilst navigating through sand.
But he sure enjoyed himself.
If I am able to go off-road with 73, I would be just as happy.
Davide Junior and Mateo were keen to drive their makeshift Landrover over sand or any terrain.
It is an impressive four-by-four, no doubt. But expensive modifications meant two things. A car like this can’t be registered in Europe and is out of price and comfort range for most people.
However, because of Landy’s versatility and Davide’s autonomic knowledge, I was happy that they were part of the team.
Being picked up at last man walking and hitching a ride on the back of the ute was the most adventurous seat in the house.
Siciliano duo Nicolai and father Giovanni joined this equip in Tunis.
It was their first adventure with Claudio’s Safari Service, of which they heard of through social media. A win win situation for both parties.
Nicolai’s automotive enthusiasms wasn’t hard to miss, he lives and breathes for cars.
His dad Giovanni enjoyed the ride in a subtle way, which I found very relaxing. What will be, will be.
Both accepted and respected each other and enjoyed unforgettable time together.
The same can be said about team Georgio and Martina.
The bond and fun shared between them was captured on many photos and videos.
A little cheeky at times, both enjoyed quality time together.
It could have been double trouble for Georgio, but the younger daughter wasn’t able to take part on this voyage. I could imagine all three having the bestest of times here, strong family ties are evident.
Georgio knows Claudio for a very long time and appeared as his wing-man.
Cool as you like, there was no situation that could face him.
With a smile. Outstanding.
Team Ernesto and Loredana have tracked together a few times, as far as I know. Due to my non Italian lingo knowledge, I couldn’t talk much to either of them.
Ernesto, it seems, had plenty to talk about.
Loredana appeared as the quite achiever with in this senior group.
Whenever she could, she stepped in without asking or hesitation.
It was great to see her again after our last meeting in Zambia, four years ago.
Team Agostino was the biggest group on this adventure.
Father Ago, daughter Gaia and son Andrea with his partner Anna made up two Landrovers.
I was happy to see Agostino’s joy to spend time away from home with his family.
A holiday away from mundane day to day life is just what he needed, and more often.
‘Time is going by so quickly, Ben! I just want to spend some time with my children.’ he told me. Isn’t that a fact.
Father and son duo Tiziano and Giacomo were of two different characters.
Renting a four-wheeler for very difficult driving conditions is better than nothing, though harder to navigate as one doesn’t know the spicks and specks of the vehicle.
A very animated father was eager to show his driving skills, which was taking in calmly.
It was a great surprise to celebrate Giacomo’s birthday on this trip. What a place to do so. Unforgettable.
I always wondered what a sandman would look like, but found out soon enough on this trip.
Dreams do come true, Claudio said. I have no doubt.
He lives and breathes the sand, this is his domain.
‘In my previous life, I must have been a Beduin. This is were I feel home.’
Thank you for inviting me into your sandcastle, Claudio. It was an amazing trip.
And then there is me, Tutto Ben. Me, me, me.
Everyone knew of me, which was great.
Even that I make croissants wasn’t a secret here.
Ben in Arabic means ‘son of’ like the ‘O’ Reilly’ in Irish and ‘MacDoogal’ in Scottish. In Latin languages, it means ‘good’. So far, so good.
I don’t know what the group thought of me exactly, an outsider from a different country.
If Claudio was to be a beduin in his previous life, I ought to be a bushman from my native country Namibia.
Whenever there was an opportunity, I jumped out of Claudio’s Landrover.
Often with camera in hand, I guided following cars through a tricky patch of sand.
And then walked to the next tricky section to repeat the procedure.
‘How many kilometers did you walk today, Ben?’ Was a common question asked at the dinner table. ‘More than you have driven today’ was my common reply.
It felt like the South African bushmen-comedy ‘The gods must be crazy’, which is a hilarious movie. And crazy suits me well.
A fantabulous journey with ‘Happy Ending’ Italian style.
A big thank you goes out to Claudio to take me on this journey and another big thank you goes out to this highly spirited team.
Maybe we will meet up again somewhere, some time.
This post marks my 300th blog on this website, which I started in early 2018. I can’t even imagine how much time I have spent working on these stories.
It’s been fun and thank you all for following my travels with ben.
This isn’t the end of it but I want to focus a bit more on my next adventure.
I have a license after all.
Happy holidays and fabulous 2023 to all from travelswithben.
One thought on “Sahara Desert, part nine; Teamspirit, Douz, Tunisia, Africa”
Congratulations Ben on 300 fabulous posts. I have followed you on your travels with envy and awe at the stunning location s you have visited.
Can’t wait to see what comes next.