The pictures were taken in the Transkei (Wild Coast) area of South Africa. The Transkei was the first of the four territories to be declared independent of South Africa during the years of the apartheid. However, in terms of their economy, it had a reverse affect. Basically there was no money being given to them by the government of South Africa and they could not sustain themselves. This is still a very poor area of South Africa and is very underdeveloped in comparison to the rest of the country. The gravel roads are barely drivable because of the potholes and they are still struggling with basic necessities. The photos in the middle part of this post were taken at a Zulu village outside of Durban. In that particular village, the government of South Africa owns the land and nobody is required to buy it. Anyone can occupy the land and farm it if they want to, and when you want to leave, you just leave. There is no buying or selling process. The last part of this post are photos from Johannesburg where I met up with Rensche. If you haven't seen the wedding that I photographed with her, check it out here. I guess my conclusion is that this was an amazing experience and even though I will continue to travel internationally because I like the cultural aspect, it inspired me to travel more of the United States. We have an undeniably beautiful country with an incredible variety in geography. I can't think of any other country that truly has it all. We have mountains, tropical forests, beach paradises, deserts, mossy wonderlands, sequoia trees, the great plains, arctic tundras, canyons. I could go on and on. Traveling out of the US always makes me realize the beautiful country that I come from and how proud I am to be an American. It's easy to loose sight of this because of the sad state of affairs we are in and apparently our leaders seem to be in a perpetual state of disagreement. However, it's so important for us to not loose pride in being American. We have so much more than we realize. The personal freedom and sense of safety that we have to walk out of our house and walk our dog around the neighborhood is not something everyone feels comfortable with. There was barbed wire e.v.e.r.y.w.h.e.r.e. in South Africa, and not just regular barbed wire, it was the razor wire. It was covering every single house and establishment. People had crazy security systems too. During the times of the apartheid, things were extremely violent and 19 years later, people still carry that fear around with them, and rightly so. There are still heinous crimes being committed to this day. David and I did a lot of hiking in the rural areas, but in the city, walking around was just not something I saw very many people do. I saw a little bit of it in Capetown down by the beach and tourist areas, but it was basically non existent in Durban, East London and Johannesburg. People drove. Everywhere. I didn't like feeling uneasy about walking around in the city centers. I love walking an enjoy the freedom and safety to do so. Public parks where parents bring their kids to play and where people hang out and eat their lunch does not exist either. South Africa in general is very modernized but their social conditions will take many decades to equalize. The US is by no means perfect, but we can be proud of what we have and the progress we have made and regardless of our political views, our goal should be to work together to make it even better.