My name is Scott Jackson, I'm 30 years old and work as a Respiratory Therapist living in Metro Atlanta. Although photography has always been a form of art that I admired, it wasn't until I started traveling overseas that I began to practice photography more seriously. Only haven used higher end point-and-shoot’s, I began to learn how to get creative with my shots. I can say now that I am entering the Full-Frame CMOS world with a whole new desire to capture my travel experiences around the world.
What Interests you most about traveling?
I think the one thing that interests me the most about traveling is the unexpected. I'm more of an extrovert by nature, so unpredictability doesn't frighten me. The idea of traveling to places unknown to meet new people with whom I can have new experiences with is thrilling. Though in retrospect, I 'm not sure I would have ever embarked on such a journey had it not been for the relocation of my parents to Germany. For me, it all started after my first international experience to Germany and Paris to visit them.
What sparked your interest to visit Namibia specifically?
The continent of Africa was always a place that as an African American I felt I needed to visit. I initially planned to go with my Nana, who unfortunately passed away before that dream was realized, but I did promise her beforehand that I would go. Having always heard great things about Namibia, the driving push came from a friend who visited before me. When listening to her stories of her experiences I knew I had to see it for myself. She connected me to a Toronto based travel company, G. Adventures, whose sole purpose is to provide small groups of people with authentic experiences beyond a plane ticket, hotel room, and a seat on a bus.
Namibia ended up being part of a four country camping expedition through Southwest Africa; which also included South Africa, Botswana, and Zambia. I know, I know...who would have thought camping through Africa? With transportation taken care of, my other travel mates and I were free to enjoy our once-in-a-lifetime cultural experience.
What were some of your experiences?
When I first got to Namibia I was in awe of the vast grandness of its desert landscapes, with the land stretching beyond what my eyes could see. We also had some long journeys on the overland truck between each campsite, which was quite unbearable at times. However, to be able to look out of the window and see several zebras, oryxes, and ostriches running free made it all worthwhile. How could such beauty not inspire us? If that wasn't enough, the added bonus of jaw dropping sunsets each night, late night campfires while enjoying tea with rusks, and indulging in the famous biltong (similar to beef jerky) made the experience all the more enjoyable. As far as the people of Namibia, not enough can be said about their warm and curious demeanor.
What surprised you the most about your experience?
What surprised me the most was the difference in the way the people still live. On one hand, there are metropolitan cities like Swakopmund and Windhoek where people live very modern and contemporary lifestyles. Whereas, there are also the Himba, Darmaraland, and San Bushmen people still living in remote areas practicing traditional customs untouched and without influence from the rest of the world.
What would you like people to know about your experience within Namibia that is little known?
I loved that Namibia, outside of its major cities, has remained fairly untouched for centuries; boasting amazing landscapes and a variety of animals and wildlife. Namibia is also one of the best places to gaze the many star constellations at night you may never see in the northern hemisphere; an experience I had the pleasure of witnessing every night around a campfire.
What recommendations can you share for future travelers interested in visiting Namibia?
Namibia is an outdoors country and most activities available will incorporate the wilderness in some capacity.
You can visit:
- Fish River Canyon, the second largest canyon in the world (to the Grand Canyon in The States).
- Climb Dune 45 in the Sossusvlei area of the Namibia Desert (I would suggest getting up before sunrise. It makes for spectacular views and is less touristy at that time).
- Swakopmund City has endless thrill seeking activities such as Skydiving and Quad biking, which I highly recommend. There are also restaurants, bars and cafes for those looking to unwind.
- Etosha National Park, which is one of Africa's finest national parks with endless wildlife (dry season promises better animal sightings).
It is also important for me to mention that traveling through any country in Africa is not easy and you will more than likely need to do some planning beforehand. Finding companies to take care of your transportation will make travel a little easier.
What was your favorite memory from your trip? Your funniest?
If I had to choose a favorite memory or funniest moment I don't think I could. What I can say, however, is that I thoroughly enjoyed sitting around the campfire on cool crisp nights chatting with my fellow travelers about life and aspirations. There was also that one time a few of us decided to take a few Springbuck shots and go skydiving on the Skeleton Coast. I certainly can’t forget about the game we played called Western were we would make up western sayings, act them out, and see who could keep up while drinking Savannah Dry Ciders. What can I say, we had a lot of down time.
What advice do you have for individuals that want to start traveling internationally, but don’t know how to start?
Traveling is possible and is not some far-fetched dream that is attainable only for the rich and famous. Get a passport, choose a destination, and then budget accordingly. You may have to sacrifice here and there, but it will be worth it. Also, keep an open mind when traveling and always expect the unexpected…it’s part of the traveling experience.
What’s next for you?
I have a short trip to Mexico at the end of November, but I’m hoping the next year will bring travels to Morocco or Jordan and South America.
To see more of Scott’s travels and photography, be sure to follow him @Scottiej_84 on Instagram.
Images Courtesy of Scott Jackson