To begin with, yes, on the road there are moments like that. Travel writers, landscape photographers and tour guides would attest to this reality. You have the plan, you mobilise the resources, you hit the road, only to realise that you’d rather just relax and watch.
The curiosity, dissolves and the will to trek on dwindles to zero. What do you do when you do not feel like achieving anything at all?
Tough question. But there is a tougher clue: Going home is out of the question. Recently, the road fatigue afflicted me while I was out there in the Central Region. I had what I thought was a nice little itinerary with Kakum Park as my ultimate destination. Slowly, I began to realise that I wasn’t good to go. Eventually, I chose to coast to Anomabo to ‘find my level.’ But before I tell you how I handled the situation, let us consider the question.
If you are in a group when this happens check what everyone else is feeling and come to an agreement acceptable to all. However, when you are alone, simply obey your instincts.
Let us begin with things not to do. First, do not proceed with your itinerary. Next, don’t call off the trip until you are sure it is health condition-related and not psychological. It takes so much to hit the road, you have to be really sure to cancel midstream. Besides, sometimes, the things that make folks leave home are more dangerous than the uncertainties of the road.
Avoid heavy impact areas, such as crowded destinations. Finally, stay away from attractions that require you to participate in a process or event such as mountain climbing, swimming, etc.
Now things to do: remain on the road, but more importantly, choose a destination where you can stay over and nurse your mood. Such a place should be strategic enough to adapt to or re-adjust to any decision you might make. Such a place should neither be too far from home or too distant from your main destination. It should be a stop-over town or midway, of a sort. In terms of transport, this location should be easy to connect from.
It is important that such a town should not be the kind that would aggravate your low-spirit situation. It helps if there is a good restaurant and a comfortable hotel that can suit your preferences and mood.
For me, Anomabo has all the above so I chose it. This small resort town is located off the main Accra-Cape Coast highway. I stopped to tend to my feelings and to watch the world go by. That sounded appropriate as the name “Anomabo” in Fante translates as “bird rock” as in a watchtower.
This is not to say that Anomabo is only good for the lowly in spirit who want to hide in her shadows and sing ‘hark my soul’.
Apart from its natural beauty (the coconut grove here is really special), the place can stand its own as a tourist destination. Anomabo is very rich in national heritage. To begin with this town used to be the capital of the Gold Coast thus sharing the privilege with Accra and Cape Coast.
Anomabo is also the hometown of a foremost African leader, Dr Kwegyir Aggrey. Aggrey’s role in shaping African pride and acceptance in world society is tremendous. Yet, like our national story, there isn’t much in terms of a monument except, probably the Aggrey Memorial Secondary School.
Anomabo was once a major slave-trading centre. So busy was this former slave town that according to history between 1702 and 1708 a huge number of slaves were taken from here to Barbados and Jamaica.
Fort William which served as the base for this exodus was built by the British in the mid18th century. But the Brits had to fight off the French first. Two earlier forts had been established at the same site, one in 1640 by the Dutch, another in 1674 by the English.
The once impregnable Fort William sits desolate and diminished a huge drop from its former glory. At a later point the fort was used as a prison. Today, it is not worth a tourist site.
Anomabo also has its fair share of shrines. Like many Fante towns the Posubans are here and indeed more elaborate in design. An interesting shrine statue shows a healer infusing enema into the backside of another man. It made me wonder if that was what I needed to be re-energised.
There is the wildlife side to Anomabo. There is a gorgeous look out to the bay. The Atlantic here is majestic. The beach sand is white and clean. The water too is clean and calm. During February, March and April leatherback turtles come to the beach to lay their eggs.
If you are daring enough, you could join local fishermen on an expedition. But not for me. I needed to be alone and stay put.
In my circumstances I was glad I chose Anomabo. It has wildlife, it has heritage and it has a beautiful beach.
Above all, Anomabo has a soul. And this you feel as the waves splash gently on its white, history-soaked sands.
By Kofi Akpabli/The Mirror/Ghana
Kofi Akpabli is a communications specialist and consultant at TREC, a tourism and culture research group.