Friday, July 25
Segou, Mali

As I move north in Mali, I face a decision: Should I make the arduous trip to Timbuktu?

My gut reaction is yes, since it’s a place I’ve heard about since I was a child — though whoever knew back then that it actually existed?

There really isn’t much to do in Timbuktu, except turn around, travel back to central Mali and say I’ve been there, which is why some travelers I’ve met say not to bother. The trip there is long; it could take nearly a week, I figure, to get there and back, which would press me a bit for time in Burkina and Ghana.

But isn’t it more about the journey than the destination?

I’ve already decided I’m not going to Timbuktu if traveling there by road is my only option. If, however, the Niger River has seen enough rain by the time I arrive in Mopti, the Timbuktu departure point, then I could take a boat to the mystical city.

What do you think? Should I go?