I don’t know what your family holidays were like, but when I was young, it wasn’t unusual for me to find myself in an airport in North Africa, where I would simply whip out my book and start reading while we waited for the next leg of our trip to begin.
But when my dad announced that his long-cherished dream of travelling to Timbuktu would finally be coming true, I really sat up and took notice. It wasn’t just that we were going to visit this mysterious place, but we would travel there by boat along the Niger River, a journey that would take three days.
I was 10 years old at the time, and deeply obsessed with Harry Potter. (Despite my parents’ reservations, I insisted on carrying the massive Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix in my backpack all the way there; I would thank myself later.)
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