An ordinary girl from Barbados doing extraordinary things abroad: “Hot Foot Harewood” now a Travelling Soldier through Botswana

  • I got no one to send a letter to, would you mind if I sent one back here to you?” – Dixie Chicks

Mosi Beer, the local beer named after Mosi-oa-Tunya (the Smoke that Thunders) {also known as Victoria Falls} - Liesl Harewood ( is a Development Consultant and a “fledgling travel writer”. Whether it is an adventurous bus ride or hike across Barbados, sand-boarding in Abu Dhabi or stalking giraffes across the African continent, she has truly earned her nickname "Hot Foot Harewood". She sometimes manages to stay still long enough to breathe, read, do yoga and hit the beach.

This line from the Dixie Chicks song “Travelling Soldier” is on playback in my head and my current soundtrack for this leg of my journey. Maybe it is because I bought a few postcards and mailed to friends across the globe, or the fact that I actually have a travel journal book – “old-school” style – that I walk around with and jot notes down in as the adventure unfolds. Here is an extract of how my day trip to Victoria Falls, or Mosi-oa-Tunya (the Smoke that Thunders) unfolded.

6:00 am

It is one of those moments where you know you are in the right place at the right time. I am in Zambia sitting on the bus from Lusaka to Livingstone awaiting departure and the song As I Lay Me Down” by Sophie B. Hawkins pierces through the radio. This is my all-time favourite song which I have not heard in forever and I see it as a sign that I am right where I am meant to be.

This five hour bus ride towards the bordering countries of Zimbabwe and Botswana is extremely significant. In my previous trips to the continent, I have always traveled with a group – whether it is with an NGO to attend a conference or to volunteer, I’ve always been accountable to an agency. This simple act of putting a back pack on and setting off on my adventure alone has brought me back to my core desire of traveling – my back packers dream!

Sunset at Victoria Falls

Traveling independently means I can change plans, tickets and itinerary to suit my mood of the moment. Honestly, I did not even consider Victoria Falls on this trip – to be fair it was a work trip so I wasn’t really planning the tourist itinerary. It is only after several comments of “You can’t come to Zambia and not go to Victoria Falls” that I got clued into this is somewhere I need to be.

12 noon

The Zambezi River

I am sitting here at the David Livingstone Lodge – perhaps one of the most beautiful places on earth – having lunch along the Zambezi River. This is one of those “lost in the moment experiences” of life where no matter what happens, I will always cherish this precise moment of my existence. It allows me to also appreciate my family and friends who have all made an impact on my life. This moment is for all of you.

7 pm

What a day! I am so glad I made this journey. I met so many wonderful people who I will never forget, like Andrew Norris, a British guy who is cycling across the continent to raise funds for a war veterans’ charity. As two independent travellers, we passed each other along the footpath and just drummed up conversation! Next thing you know, I am hiking off the beaten path down to the Boiling Pot, across the top of Victoria Falls, linking arms so we don’t slip into the water and just encountering other adventurous souls along the way.

Approaching Victoria Falls (CLICK FOR BIGGER)

Sometimes I feel like I am always having to justify my desire to travel, my “hot foot-ness”, as I am thrown questions and statements like “When are you going to settle down?” or “You don’t stand still? You need to get this out of your system.” However, this simple day trip reminded me that there are many other persons out there who “get it”, who are doing it and who just love the thrill of the experience just as much as I do. Hot Foot Harewood is on the move; just an ordinary girl doing extraordinary things.

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