Planning For a Trip to Ethiopia three weeks I'll be visiting my first country on the African continent. It's taken way too long for me to pay Africa a visit. My flight is booked and I am making arrangements for lodging and touring.

I've tried multiple times to fly to Africa. Back in 1989 during a trip to Malta, I tried to fly to Tunisia for a quick visit. The airlines had no problem getting me there but they couldn't guarantee that I could leave within three weeks of my required return. The Army would have taken a dim view of me going AWOL. In January 2011, while I was working in Kuwait following 13 months in Afghanistan, I tried to fly to Egypt to visit some historical sites. And then this little thing called The Arab Spring erupted throughout the region. That killed any plans to visit North Africa for two to three years. 

Now, I'm working in Riyadh, just a puddle jump across the Red Sea from Africa. This is my last chance to visit a number of African countries without flying long hours from Colorado. I'm going to take advantage of this opportunity before I go home for good. The Arab Spring and its after effects still are a problem. Egypt may or may not be totally safe right now. So I've opted to go to Ethiopia first, visit the incredible historical sites there, and get blasted by the terrible poverty that exists outside of Addis Ababa. 

I will visit other African countries later. I'm saving a trip to South Africa in order to share that with my wife, Suzanne. One can't see Africa by visiting one country; there's too many varied regions and cultures in Africa. There will be places I don't go and have absolutely no desire to go -- South Sudan being one of them. Add the Congo to that list. But I'm excited to be finally going somewhere on the continent, the seventh (and last) for me.