I have just arrived back in New Zealand after spending more than three weeks overseas, most of it spent camping in East Africa, and I am feeling all the feels.

It’s a strange sentiment when the trip you have spent months planning, preparing for, worrying about, dreaming of, and getting more immunisations for than you deemed necessary, is suddenly over.

Being the over-obsessive, over-organising and over-thinking twenty something that I am, the six months prior to leaving Auckland were consumed with all things “Africa”.

How many injections do I need?

Will the nurse give me jelly beans if I don’t faint?

Is there any way to avoid the ‘fanny pack’ debacle?

Where on the map is Africa?

Yes, I’m being serious.

Will there be WiFi?

Is there such a thing as “too much” hand sanitizer?

Why do my anti-malaria tablets make me feel like I have malaria?

What do you mean “there are no toilets”?

What do you mean I have to “squat”?

What do you mean “whatever you do, don’t run”?

Can I get a refund if I don’t see a baby elephant?

Does Kenya have a Wholefoods?

Does Tanzania have a Wholefoods?

Does this outfit make me look like Eliza Thornberry?

Does this outfit make me look like Bear Grylls’ wife?

If I’ve never pitched a tent before, can someone pitch it for me?

How do you say “help” in Swahili?

Then, in the blink of an eye, it was over and I’m back on home soil having never felt more grateful for a toilet or hot shower in my entire life.

A lot of people have asked me why I decided to go Africa of all places, and it really only came down to one thing, I wanted to do something completely outside of my comfort zone. Anyone who knows me would agree that I am a person who loves to live very much within my comfort zone. Change? No thanks! Risk? Nah I’m good! Adventure? Sorry I have barre class! But about six months ago I came to realise that your twenties are not the decade to live within your comfort zone. In fact, this is literally the only decade in which I am officially an adult but have zero responsibilities. I have no children, no husband (cries), no mortgage and according to my haters, no f*cking clue what I am doing. So what better time than the present to go camping in East Africa with a group of strangers.

What I love the most about doing something outside my comfort zone is the feeling I get afterwards. I’ll be completely honest; no one is more proud of me right now than me. I am an absolute legend. I just went to Africa by myself. Camped in the wild. Travelled with a group of complete strangers. I had no toilets, no showers and no dignity. And I almost got eaten by a lion (…okay not really). I am a champion.

Over the next few weeks I will be sharing a little more about my adventure in Kenya and Tanzania, what I learnt about the East African culture, what I learnt about myself and what I learnt about human behaviour.

But for now, it is time for a long bath, a face mask, and to Google what “Brexit” means.

Header image by The Twenties Club