January 15, 2007
Phoenix, Arizona… relfecting on London, Dubai, Tanzania & Zanzibar
After 40ish hours in flight traveling some 12,000 miles – I have arrived back home very tired. Unfortunately, my luggage didn’t make it with me — it’s somewhere between Africa and London. I slept a few hours and it’s now 2:30am and jet lag or jet forward depending on how you want to think of it is catching-up with me (can’t sleep) so I jumped on the computer to write down a few reflections from the trip.
First off I’ve now decided my theme for 2007 is “live in the moment.” I did so many things during this trip that I could never have dreamed possible before the opportunities arose. There was no set schedule at anypoint in the trip (except for the days that we were on Safari but even then we weren’t on a time schedule) and because of this we were all open to whatever opportunities came our way and goodness knows there were many of them!
The secondary theme of this year should be “Hakuna Matata” (It’s amazing how accurate the Lion King actually was including with it’s Swahili). We’ve also created a new phrase… “I’m Hakuna Matata-ing my way through it” meaning you’re working on not stressing about life or a particular stressful situation…… and remembering that there are no worries!
At somepoint during the trip my travel partners became more like family (though I admit we’re a bit of a disfunctional family!) and I am really glad to have had the people with me that I did. Spending 3 weeks with friends (and I will also note here we had 2 ex-couples on the trip) could be a recipe for disaster but somehow we worked and traveled well together and learned a lot more about ourselves in the process.
Speaking of family, there were a number of times during the trip when I was reminded of vacations or holidays with my own family. I have always appreciated (though sometimes not verbalized) the fact that my parents took us on a gazillion trips when I was growing up. I feel incredibly blessed to have experienced so much of the U.S. and world because of their emphasis on family vacations and roadtrips.
One reason I love traveling, road trips, and family vacations is the simplicity and serenity that comes with it… during the trip we watched almost no television, drank the occassional beer or two but never really in-excess, played a crap load of cards and dominoes, read a few good books and were extremely active. It’s amazing how much clearer life becomes when you get rid of all the annoyances of everyday life like TV, cell phones, the social scene (and all the drama that goes along with it!) This trip has also most certainly made me reflect on who I am and the people I want around me to leave footprints in my life. There were times during our travels I was reminded of summer camp, camping in general, trips to the boundary waters, Nor’ Wester, lakehouse(s), family, friends and “family friends.” I really do feel blessed… at many points I wanted those family, friends and “family friends” there to see what I was seeing or experience what I was experiencing. Soogy’s space says it best “Live for the times that you will always remember with the friends you will never forget.”
Early on in the trip, while in Bath actually, the group created “Pub Talk.” As you may guess, we were in a pub when the activity was created… everyday (or every activity) thereafter we noted on a piece of paper the activity, experience, place (For example, “Ngorongoro Farm House” where we stayed the first night on Safari) and then everyone wrote down the first thoughts that came to their head. This is seriously the best vaca game ever created to help remember the times (and I’m not just saying that since we created it). Unfortunately, I’m the beholder of said cards and 1/2 of them are currently in the missing luggage. To give you an idea here’s everyone’s comments on the Ngorongoro Crater (my favorite location on Safari):
“Ngorongoro Conservation Area”
Katie: W/i 20 minutes we were in-between a pack of 10 lions, eating lunch with the hippos and seeing vultures steal our food.
Heidi: A lion stalking through the grass directly at you… can you get more national geographic than that? maybe if it was narrated by Morgan Freeman.
Jamie: Flamingos, Frolicking zebras, super close lions, pain splitting bumps… all overclipsed by the amazing techocolor scenery
Rachel: Where did my chicken go? Clearly these roads were made by a man… descent hurts the boobs… oh ascent hurts too… damn! Wow, so many different terrains. Wow, those zebras ____ … no wonder all the females are prego.
Jonathan: Please pronounce “Ngorongoro” because I can’t.
David: The crunching of bone and shredding of flesh will haunt my dreams for weeks!
Jesse: Don’t dismiss the Black Rhino’s. You may not get up close and personal but there are only 13 in the world. Think about that.
Soogy: Easy Lion!! Gabriel taugh us what “Ngorongoro” is – the sound of the bell on a bull.
I laugh and smile even now when I read over our Pub Talk comments. This is definitely one tradition I’m taking back from this trip for other vacations….
You may be wondering about my only required purchase for the trip…. the infamous Xmas tree ornaments. Mission Accomplished: I already have 2 from London so didn’t purchase one there. Picked-up a small one in Bath. I nabbed one the first day in Dubai… good thing since it’s the only one I saw! And I’ll have to take the wooden elephant I purchased in Tanzania, drill a hole in it and make it into an ornament.
So much was accomplished on this trip… My favorite moments were: Les Miserables in London, the Lebanese Restaurant in Dubai (and dancing with the Iraqis!), the Ngorongoro Crater day on Safari, Swimming in the Indian Ocean and generally hanging out, eating, playing cards and enjoying a campfire among friends 🙂 So it is 21 days, 12 flights, 4 continents, 3 safaris (desert, african & ocean) many locations, cultures, foods later and I have gained so much knowledge about the world we live in and myself… definitely the trip of a lifetime. “Pace Car to Back-up”… Roger that!
Peace, Love & Happiness.