Secret Senegal: I’m Off to Dakar Without A Backpack!!! #MSMLostLuggage

“There’s a million voices to tell you what she should be thinking. So you better sober up for just a second.” – Youssou N’Dour (1994).

“Seven Seconds Away, just as long as I stay” – same song.

Secret Senegal: I'm Off to Dakar Without A Backpack #MSMLostLuggage

Secret Senegal: I’m Off to Dakar Without A Backpack #MSMLostLuggage

So over the last week or so I have hinted at another crazy trip ahead of my return to France to watch Northern Ireland at the Euro 2016 championships. Yesterday I mentioned how I am off to Africa with MoneySupermarket.com , on what promises to be a big challenge for me. Having backpacked the world for most of the last decade, this time I am travelling without luggage, without my beloved backpack! It’s part of the #MSMLostLuggage challenge, you can check out more here.

Jonny Blair Senegal Money Supermarket MSMlostluggage

My Secret Senegal trip with Money Supermarket #MSMlostluggage

A few of my readers were playing guessing games about the country on my Facebook page and I had the following people mention various countries, based on these four clues:
1. They have a FIFA international football team and have been in the World Cup.
2. One of their singers had a UK number one single in the mid-1990s.
3. I have never been to this country before. (check my travel page)
4. It’s in Africa.

A few years back in South Africa - balancing bottles in Soweto

A few years back in South Africa – balancing bottles in Soweto

Claus Andersen, Aaron Mac, Johnny Petrie Reid – Senegal
Davey Sloan – Youssou N’Dour (technically not a country mate, but I’ll assume you meant Senegal)
Atte Leskinen – Tanzania
Scott Callen – Zambia
Grant Hawkins – Somaliland
Ivan Blazevic – Kenya
Steven Grenier – Eritrea
Linda Mojzisova – Ghana
Katia Alves, Ray Weicha – Nigeria
Martin Javaid Gaynor – Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana
Kirk Beiser – Morocco

And the following excellent songs mentioned to go with my clues:
1. Seal – Kiss from a Rose (Nigerian mother)
2. Rozalla – Everybody’s Free (Zambian)
3. Youssou N’Dour – Seven Seconds (Senegal born)
4. Doctor Alban – It’s my Life (Nigerian born)

But only one was right. I can now reveal the country I am heading to – it’s Senegal! Here are some facts about Senegal:

  • Senegal has a whopping 7 UNESCO World Heritage Sites (5 cultural, 2 natural).
  • Senegal have only ever qualified for one World Cup (2002).
  • In that World Cup they beat holders France and lost narrowly in the Quarter Finals.
National flag of Senegal

National flag of Senegal

  • Senegal is the home of singer Youssou N’Dour who scored a number one hit single in 1994 in 5 countries. The song? 7 Seconds Away (with Neneh Cherry).
  • In 2010, I met Senegal player El Hadji Diouf while he was playing for Blackburn Rovers against Panathanaikos in Sydney, Australia.
The night I met Blackburn Rovers and Senegal player El Hadji Diouf

The night I met Blackburn Rovers and Senegal player El Hadji Diouf

  • Senegal borders 6 other African countries. I haven’t yet been to ANY of them.
  • Senegal houses 13 million people.
  • Senegal is the only recognised country in Africa that borders Gambia.

I will be flying from Gatwick Airport in London with ZERO luggage. So my hands will be free and my back will be empty. I will have a few things on me of course, such as:
– my travelling Northern Ireland flag (fits in my pocket and has been to over 100 countries)
– my wallet with some US Dollars, Euros and British pounds in it (to be exchanged on arrival)
– my camera with an empty memory card and charged battery
both my passports (Irish and British)
– my Yellow Fever Certificate (essential for Senegal)
– my coat (in worst case scenario, I can use the pockets to keep my things in and even use it as a blanket if times get tough)
– my clever phone (yes I finally succumbed to one of these and now use Instagram)

I'll be back in Africa without my backpack this time!

I’ll be back in Africa without my backpack this time!

But for once, no laptop, no guidebook, no toiletries, no spare clothes, no blanket/sleeping bag. It will be a challenge for sure. I will be in Africa for 11 days in total on this adventure and will update you all when I can.

This is one of the craziest things I have done since leaving my hometown, here are five of my top favourite crazy travel moments:
1.The Lock In – A spoof ‘Big Brother’ at Bournemouth University, England
2.The Fireball Festival in Nejapa, El Salvador
3.Feeding hyenas mouth to mouth at dusk in Harar, Ethiopia
4.Naked sauna and snow dives in Jarvenpaa, Finland
5.The Wacaday journey to the Unknown Republic of Karakalpakstan

One of my crazy moments in Africa - feeding hyenas hand to mouth and mouth to mouth

One of my crazy moments in Africa – feeding hyenas hand to mouth and mouth to mouth

One of my crazy moments in Africa - feeding hyenas hand to mouth and mouth to mouth

One of my crazy moments in Africa – feeding hyenas hand to mouth and mouth to mouth

Follow this adventure on these Hashtags:

#MSMLostLuggage

#secretSenegal

Times will be changing for myself and Don’t Stop Living once Senegal and France are over. There is so much more to come for this website, and in my passionate existence. But I won’t be relentlessly backpacking the world forever. The sky is on fire tonight. This is my dream, tell me yours.

“We’re the fire in the sky” – Oasis.

“And with one kiss, you inspired a fire of devotion.” – Florence and the Machine.

“Woh Hoh, your sex is on fire.” – Kings of Leon.

Secret Senegal: I'm Off to Dakar Without A Backpack!!! #MSMLostLuggage

Secret Senegal: I’m Off to Dakar Without A Backpack!!! #MSMLostLuggage

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