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Mar 28th 2010 8:11AM I have just completed the round trip journey to the salt mines of Taoudenni from Timbuktu by camel/ foot oneway and returning by truck and here I am and all the better for it.
My fixer was delighted and relieved to see me back safe and sound- he had, apparently, lost many nights sleep worrying about my safety whilst I was gone (1 month). "Did you know about the dangers and warnings about travelling north like that?!" he said on my return, " Of course I did" I replied. Put simply, there are just as many dangers living in England from Terrorism, as the bus bombings in London have shown us, for instance. More people were harmed from that attack than all the occasions refered to in the news concerning tourists in Northern Mali of late. I believe that shedding one's fear of something is a crucial part of overcoming a challenge in the first place; if we stay away, then surely, the terrorists have already won. For my part, I found the people I came across in the desert were not dangerous savages looking to kidnap me, but were simply inquisitive and amazed charazcters willing to share what little food they had there in the sublime, sanguine landscape of the Sahara.
I plan on returning, next time, for much longer- I highly suggest others go to Mali as well, Lord knows, the economy needs the boost from tourism. Of course, be careful, as you would be anywhere else, but say no to fear/ terror and yes to living life the way you want to live it!
I will be releasing a film of my journey on the 3rd of June on Youtube, my user name is DylanRhysOfArabia, I hope you can spare the time to check it out. Regards,
Dylan Rhys of Arabia.