Monday, June 17, 2013
Africa Bound ~ Part 1
It is said that a "journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step" but I say it begins with the packing of a suitcase. My husband and son left today to begin a journey, a dream, to go to Africa. It was in Tim's "bucket list" of places to go and the planning of this trip began back in September of 2012. He has asked me to share his trip as they go along and what better place than on this blog I started when my daughter Erin and I went to Italy in Fall of 2011.
Travel runs in this family. As I write our youngest daughter is in Peru on a journey with friends. Our oldest daughter and her husband just came back from being in the Bahamas and prior to that deep in Mexico.
But let's step to today when I let them off at San Francisco International Airport. Two guys, two small suitcases, two backpacks, to begin an adventure unlike any they have ever been on. Smiles on their faces, two days of Malaria pills taken with no side effects (as yet or hopefully not), ready or not the long, long flights begins. First stop is Amsterdam where they will spend one night to catch a plane the next morning. Ten hours to Amsterdam and another 10 hours to Tanzania. You can see why an overnight sleep in a hotel halfway through would sound good. Better a soft mattress than a layover sitting up at the airport for who knows how many hours.
Here is Tim's words of this pre-journey:
Some call it going on Safari
There clearly is not one day or age it happens. It is not one movie or TV travel show. You just can't pin down the "when". It doesn't matter when, just that it happens. You say to yourself "I want to go to someday!" It gets filed and life goes on. It is added to other places to see. These are very personal "must sees" that get programmed in never to leave your thoughts and dreams. That is until you actually go.
Growing up with TV was good for adventure shows. Colonel John D. Craig of the show "Danger is My Business" went to Africa for many adventures. Bill Burrud had several shows, Marlin Perkins had "Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom", and Jacques-Yves Cousteau had "The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau" with all the undersea wonders to dream of seeing. All these shows while I was growing up filling me with places I wanted to see.
For me, going to Africa to see the actual wild landscape, the predators and prey, of great size and small, roaming vast savannahs has always been a dream to fulfill. Is it really as big as I imagine? I want to find out. I'm programmed to want to go.
When the timing worked out through a series of fortunate events, it was an easy call to try to make Africa work. At first it was to be the three of us, Ellen, Ryan and myself. Ryan has one more year of High School to complete before college, but really not anymore summers left without pressures. Each year he gets more mature and independent, becoming his own man. He's changing and growing. Ellen wanted to go but the near violent road trip parts of this kind of trip have left her with a gracious way of letting the two "boys" bond. We can go more close to the ground by staying in tent camps. Be a bit more dirty as camping requires.
Our itinerary, through a travel agents help has been customized of what I wish to see and do. We will stay mostly two or three nights in one place, then move on. Mostly bush planes will take us between new places and as well as safari truck trips. They will be bouncy, long and dusty. I hope my neck holds up. A seventeen year old neck can withstand just about anything.
There will be mosquitoes, Tsetse flies, migration flies, bugs of all sorts, parasites, equatorial sun, all needing some sort of shot, repellent, lotion and pills (I don't even want to think of the digestive possibilities!). It is not a Hawaiian resort vacation. One must bring many items yet keep luggage under 34 pounds. Easier for a guy than a woman.
There are a lot of small things to bring and remember as our date of departure on the 17th of June comes, time seems to be speeding up. Being with Ryan for this time is almost the best thing about it. We can really see this together, get excited together. Make a memory to last a lifetime.