Since I was a kid, I’ve always welcomed the company of animals over people (I’m sure some of you can relate). Growing up my life revolved around the pond and fields near our house. Summer days were spent collecting snails and tadpoles, trying to see how close I could get to the rabbits, climbing trees and looking under rocks to see who might be there; while at night, I was lulled to sleep by the crickets and frogs; and on the lookout for fireflies.
When I couldn’t be outside, I watched animals on tv. In particular Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom. THAT was my introduction not only to Africa, but to reality; to the fierceness of nature. Watching the lions hunt and capture a gazelle…it brought me to tears. Yet it also fascinated me-the savannah grass, the acacia trees, the strength and beauty of the lions; I couldn’t look away.
Sometime in the 90’s I made a visit to the Cincinnati Zoo in Ohio. I fell in love with Emi, the Sumatran Rhino. THAT is when my passion for rhinos began. (See previous post: Emi the World-Famous Sumatran) The more I learned, the more I loved; and simultaneously it brought back that feeling of awe and fascination with Africa.
Africa: my ultimate destination, a lifelong goal to go. My husband and I have talked about it. I’ve even taken out every library book I can get my hands on to “plan” my trip. I have notes, ideas, and itineraries. A girl can dream. But like the movie UP, there are never enough coins in the piggy bank, something else always comes up. Life gets in the way.
Then after years of depriving the rest of the city of the African books in the travel section, one day my mom calls and asks me to think about the possibility of taking a trip with her…a bucket list thing, that one BIG trip neither of us have ever taken…to Africa.
Of course there’s a lot to consider. I don’t have the funds, I don’t want her to have to foot the bill, there’s time off from work, my husband won’t be going…then after a few days it hits me… How can I say no?
To be on the savannah, to see a rhino where a rhino belongs, before it’s too late, before they’re gone-to be connected to the place that lives in my heart! The opportunity to look under rocks, see how close I can get to animals, and be lulled to sleep by lions..my dream is coming true.
October 12, two weeks in Kenya. Photographs, a travel journal, and as much insight as my brain can absorb! It’s sure to be the most unforgettable two weeks of my life.