In 2009, Tania Payne had just been rejected for a promotion and was floundering in her quest for a new career.
So she left the UK and used her savings to travel around the world with her boyfriend, Alex.
“It wouldn’t have been unreasonable to suggest that my big trip was just an escape from the fact that I had no idea what I was going to do with my life,” Payne told Business Insider.
“I was scared of coming home to the same question.”
She had four continents, 24 countries, 42 beaches and several mountains to find an answer. On a budget of £20,000 (excluding flights), the couple set out for two years and a few months with plans to see Africa, Southeast Asia, Oceania, and North, South, and Central America. She shared her photos from Africa with Business Insider, along with original captions.
They spent two months in Kenya, where they visited Kibera, the continent’s biggest slum.
“I wouldn’t recommend it as a tourist destination exactly,” Payne told Business Insider. “But it is an awe-inspiring example of the will of the human spirit to survive in difficult conditions.”
Then came safari in the Masaai Mara National Reserve, a volcanic landscape with abundant wildlife. After that, they hiked Mount Kenya.
The remaining time in Africa was split between Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique, and South Africa. And while there were plenty of beautiful sights to behold, travelling had its annoyances.
“Alex and I drove each other nuts,” Payne told Business Insider. “Photography is a solitary endeavour, and I have thousands of photos of him fuming.”
In Africa and during most of her whole first year away from home, she couldn’t shake a huge nagging doubt that the trip was an extravagant and self-indulgent destruction of her employability and future prospects.
But when she returned to the UK, she felt a subtle but distinct difference.
“The personal profile in my CV had hardly changed but it didn’t feel like I was lying anymore,” she told Business Insider. “I really am a passionate, committed, enthusiastic and hardworking professional, and at 35 years old, it was the first time I actually believed it.”
Tania sent us photos from her trip, along with original captions, and we’ve republished them here. You can read more about her travels on her blog, Losing Luggage.
Have an amazing travel story and photos to share? Send an email to [email protected] and we could feature your adventure next.
Escape the bustle of city life in Nairobi National Park, an ecological reserve just a few miles outside of Nairobi, Kenya's capital city. The light is golden at sunrise.
Kibera, a division of Nairobi, is Africa's biggest urban slum. People live in small shacks and hang their laundry outside on washing lines.
When we finally reached the walkers' summit of Mount Kenya, I was no longer capable of operating the camera myself.
Lamu is a small coastal town on Lamu Island in Kenya, where the majority of the population is Muslim. Young girls in Lamu want their photo taken, but they don't want to show their faces.
Lamu hosts the Maulidi festival every year in May or June, celebrating the birth of the Muslim prophet Mohammed. The festival includes dances, feasts and a dhow race.
In Malawi, we visited the Beehive School, which is run by Niall Dorey in Mzuzu. The school began with 7 children in Niall's front room.
The Nkhwazi Lodge, on the shore of Lake Malawi, boasts that they serve the best pizza in Malawi -- and we have to agree.
The children from neighbouring villages visited us at 4pm every day like clockwork to muck around on the beach of Likoma, an island in Lake Malawi.
Our host on Likoma Island, Becky, got us to the airfield on time and stayed to wave us off. I was in floods of tears.
Penhalonga is a mining village in Zimbabwe that's surrounded by beautiful views of Zimbabwe's mountains and valleys.
Mozambique is popular for its diving resorts on its beautiful coast, but it also offers an abundance of landscapes, flora and fauna.
In South Africa, the train from Johannesburg to Cape Town crosses the Karoo desert. The train traverses some steeper hills as it approaches Cape Town.
South Africa is filled with gorgeous mountains. Here's a view of Table Mountain and the 12 Disciples, as seen from the top of Signal Hill in Cape Town.
Now here's the view of Signal Hill, showing one of the cable cars that take people to the top of Table Mountain.
One of the more peaceful activities at Tsitsikamma National Park, a protected area along the Garden Route in South Africa.
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