Friday, November 9, 2018
AFRICA THE START OF THE JOURNAL November 2nd in Vermont
Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Mozambique, Swaziland, and South Africa 9 Nov 2018
I have never been on Safari in Africa. Venturing to see the wildlife Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya. Serengeti National Park, Tanzania, and Kruger in South Africa. Safari, from the Arabic word of Safar, to travel. I love these various words for travel, journey, perhaps best, always is “Walkabout” a journey and travel to discover self.
I have been an armchair traveler when it comes to the wilds of East Africa and to the amazing game reserves. On the wildlife channel and other places I’ve seen the astonishing diversity of wildlife from birds to lions, chimps and elephants and everything in between. I do not like going to zoo’s they are too depressing. It’s like going to a state prison and gawking at the prisoners and wondering why they’re there. I’ve seen amazing zoos in London with the tiger enclosure and the big open spaces for wildlife in zoos trying to create a natural habitat for the animals; however, as well intentioned as they are, It is still a prison for animals. As humans continue to willfully and sometimes intentionally destroy this Paradise of nature, it really does compel me to think about this word of humanity. I am not too worried about my safety with animals. I’ve been a vegetarian for 45 years. I have an agreement with the animal kingdom, I don’t eat them and they’re not supposed to eat me. I have been trying to communicate this message as widely as possible in all the countries where we are visiting. I assume that the wildlife will kind of see me and Zoe with a neon halo above our heads, and when they get hungry though go for the carnivores. That is our working thesis we will let you know how effective this has been.
Though I have read much of Kenya, Tanzania, Zanzibar, Rwanda, Mozambique and South Africa… This will be the start of a three-month adventure in November 20 72 the beginning of March. Though I work full time as a writer and artist, I have the freedom to take this three-month journey with my Zoe. We have been cogitating on doing this trip for several years and after several delays we are finally doing this. A friend of ours Megan has a friend’s wedding in Kenya and we will travel together for a little bit
With so much information you tube videos, and the plethora of information I feel like I’ve been there already. However, no matter how good your imagination is ain’t nothing like the real thing. There is so much wildlife tourism and how do we choose the wisest path?
Getting ready for three-month trip
The rule we try to follow which often doesn’t happen is to travel light. For myself, I generally fail. I travel with my guitar, a tennis racket stored in the guitar case, an Eagle Cree suitcase on wheels, my computer, my Nikon D 3200 camera, a backup Olympus camera, cell phone, chargers, and then with all that stuff we add a wee bit of clothes. We try to choose one climate zone per trip. Last year we had stopped in Iceland in late November and it was frigid. So we had to pack for Iceland and Spain. In East to southern Africa the temperature will be moderate to warm. Some hiking shoes, sandals, and just enough cloths to get by. Not to look like the grubby backpackers we were as youngsters, but stylish enough for Safari trip in both the city and the wilderness of Africa
I know that this trip is privilege with a capital P! Huge privilege! Granted we have both worked diligently to afford this privilege, but as we have often traveled and lived in Third World countries, we are acutely aware of the economic disparity. I am uncomfortable with poverty. I feel like a Zillionaire compared to most people we will meet on the trip. The majority of people on the planet do not have access to clean drinking water, sanitation, adequate food, and shelter is often precarious. How do we travel simply without the glaring ostentatiousness? Of course, you can’t. Even more so as white elderly travelers, even as modestly as you may travel, especially in most parts of Africa you are seen as a wealthy white person. Is there a peace with this? Even being on these Safari trips to Kenya and Tanzania, they are designed to protect the wildlife and habitat. It is also a vital part of the local economy. By creating these wildlife preserves, sometimes as big as the state of Rhode Island, or even a fraction of that, the tourism is essential.
We all have a slight reluctance to travel. Some people I know absolutely hate traveling and never want to leave their hometown. I can understand the desire to stay with the same level of comfort and familiarity. But we both love adventure and travel. In particular, I like meeting people on the road. As an artist and writer I love doing projects that involve people where we travel to. We’ve done community theater art projects as far south this Chile, over to Palestine and Algeria, , community activists projects in the Dominican Republic, humanitarian trips in Haiti and other places in the globe. Each new place and destination, each person that I met along the way enriches me. And I hope equally that it is an enriching experience with them as well.
I find that I am the best that I am on the road. There is a freedom and unattached by the daily expectations. We meet new people and it is a discovery. Some of those relationships on the road have lasted all of our lives. Some simply for the moment. Though I am at heart a Libra homebody, I often find my home wherever I am. Actually, where my Zoe and I are. I am blessed in having an amazing travel buddy. Between the two of us we balance each other out. Her detail to planning and my spontaneity. Both our senses of curiosity and wonder are alive in our travels. We love the fun and play of discovery. Though we may be a wee reluctant, once we shake off the jet lag, get ourselves a nice meal, and have a good night of rest we are ready to dance the extraordinary dream of travel
Before the Civil War in Syria I was traveling from Jordan. It was completely chaotic coming across the border. I’ve never seen such chaos. When you approached the travel crossing everyone was giving the documents to the agent at the same time. I didn’t know what to do and it want to be the pushy American. Then somebody grabbed my hand with my passport and pushed it towards the gate for the agent. After a long ride up from the border I arrived in Damascus I’m sure of my destination. But I went to the nearest restaurant had a big dinner and salad, refreshments, and the wait staff made sure I was heading in the right direction for my hotel. I don’t think I ever slept as deeply as I did that night
It is always the challenge, especially the older we get, to strike that fine balance between a sensible level of planning, letting go of your expectations, and going with the flow of the day.