We bump into each other. We transfer energy, smiles, opinions and philosophies. Half the time we don’t agree, so we often avoid it. We put up walls, encase ourselves in steel then speed around blind corners, forgetting that it’s a law of nature. And we bump into each other.
We saw the result of this on a remote dirt road in Namibia. A new Discovery met an old Toyota, or was it an Isuzu? It was so mangled we can’t recall. We helped as much as we could, called a Namibian we had bumped into who called another Namibian who called another Namibian to try and speed up a helicopter, slow racing hearts and keep another beating.
It seems incredible that people collide in this barren country, the second least populated in the world. But that’s the law of nature. The rally I am on, the Mzanzi Trophy is travelling around Southern Africa and we have just left Namibia for Botswana. It’s thrown people from South Africa, Zimbabwe, Spain, England, Germany and America together – there are even people here from Durban. We’ve bumped into a few others, like the Namibian man who sold us the juiciest oranges we’ve ever tasted on a dry, dusty roadside; the South African who propped up a bar counter with his opinions and the Herero women who’s colourful dresses bloomed over the desert. We’ve swapped smiles with kids too young to form opinions and bumped heads with grumpy guides who’ve driven too many tourists around their backyard. We’ve almost collided with Ostriches, Kudu and Gemsbok, their speeding trajectory diverging inexplicably with our car’s. Sadly, one Springbok was bang on time.
Like we have done in Etosha National Park, it’s spectacular to behold this law of nature, the clash of horns, the communion over water and camp fire. On this trip, we’re getting to know people from the other side of the world and introduce them to new ones. But you don’t bump into others unless you step away from the screen you are looking at right now. They say the Internet is the most populated place on Earth. Compared to Namibia, it is barren.