Seventeen-year-old Nqobile Mabhena said I inspired him. I assure you, young man, you – and your friends – have inspired me so, so much more.
A true story.
A staredown with a six-ton elephant. A grandmother who lives in a thatched-roof hut. Hyenas in the mist, and lion cubs in golden light. And a group of teenagers on the leading edge of a culture changing for the better. Our eight days in Africa had all of this and more.
ON AFRICA – IS IT REALLY JUST A ‘ONCE IN A LIFETIME’ DESTINATION?
What is it about Africa? Why do millions of people, including my wife, place it squarely on the “bucket list?” Maybe it’s sewn into our DNA, a salmon-like drive to see the headwaters before we die. The urge to plant our feet in the dusty footprints of our hominid ancestors. Or, in my case, maybe it was when my wife Colleen said, “You’re coming with me. End of discussion.”
Decides to travel to Africa for the first time. What a better way to enjoy the occasion?!
We chose to travel to Kenya based on the ease of airline routing and ability to use miles for our flights. Flying from NYC to Nairobi was very easy. Despite our flight restrictions, we don’t think our trip could have turned out any better !
HONEYMOONERS RETURN TO AFRICA 22 YEARS LATER WITH FAMILY
A little over 22 years
ago, we exchanged vows and boarded a flight for a honeymoon in southern Africa.
We had chosen a 12 day participatory camping Safari in Botswana followed by a
few days in Cape Town and South Africa’s Western Cape province. An
all-inclusive beach resort or cruise ship was and is not our style. Our friends
thought we were nuts, but as the wheels left the ground following our trip, we,
without hesitation, agreed that we just HAD to come back.
life carries on and we started a family. A safari with 3 young girls seemed
daunting, so we hoarded and saved frequent flyer miles for that eventual return
we knew we would make one day, this time with the kids once they were old
enough to appreciate it. That time came in the summer of 2018. With our oldest
graduating high school in 2019, we felt we should pull the trigger before they
began to drift off, as kids tend to do.
just finished my second trip organized by Global Sojourns (GS), this time
with my oldest son, and I can’t get enough of the kind of trips GS plans!
a photographer (amateur but incredibly passionate), being away from
the crowds and immersing myself into the beauty nature has to offer
are important elements to a successful and soul filling trip. GS has
mastered the balance between the comfortable, the adventurous,
the exclusive experience and the gorgeous ‘must-see’ viewpoints.
Landscapes, wild animals, flowers, skies etc. have been offered unimpeded.
Since as long as I can remember, I have always had a deep
desire to go to Africa, to experience the unique culture, geography and varied wildlife,
such a contrast from Canada.
Last summer Todd and I went on a trip to the Arctic (his bucket list) and during the trip I met Pricilla. I immediately connected with her on a personal level and was excited to hear about her volunteer organization in Africa and her travel company Global Sojourns (GS). By the end of our Arctic trip, she had offered to pull together a trip to Africa and within a few months of being home from the Arctic, Global Sojourns had created the most amazing African itinerary for us!
Even as I write those words, my mind struggles to process that this is my life! For the first 35 years of my existence, Africa was a dream. Something that I wrote about in my diary while bored in school. Adventurers went to Africa. Strong, powerful, brave women went to Africa. Girls like me – from small town, middle class families – did not go to Africa.
My primary emotion is gratitude. I feel it fill my heart and warm my body from the inside out. I am grateful to Global Sojourns for planning the most amazing trip to Uganda last October. I am grateful that I spent time getting to know Priscilla on that trip, talking more about the work that the Global Sojourns Giving Circle does with girls in Southern Africa.
I took my first trip to Africa in the 1990s. I will make my seventeenth journey there this September (2019). Why do I keep going back when there are so many places to see in the world? The short answer is Africa, to me, feels like home. I had that sense the second I walked off the plane on my first trip there. It’s pretty inexplicable. At that point nothing had happened. I hadn’t met any people, hadn’t seen my first gorgeous sunset, hadn’t seen any of the amazing animals. But a strong sense took over my body and told me I had come home. I’m getting choked up just thinking about it.