Friday, July 24, 2009

Around the world...

I know I haven't mentioned it, but the photos of the sunsets you see on my page are from my trip last year to Africa. Having never ventured outside of the U.S., except a few times to nearby Canada (Victoria, Abbottsford, Vancouver) and once to Tijuana (:), my trip last year was a milestone -- and in more than just a leap of continents! I had a pretty big birthday and was able to visit Africa during my 50th year and actually during my birthday month.

I'm going to have to put up some of my photos from the trip, as photography is kind of a hobby for me. It helps define me, though I'm not really good at it. I'm good enough to recognize great photography -- and good enough to know that mine isn't. :-) But it still satisfies something in me that struggles toward creativity, even in the safe vein of digital camera technology.

Traveling to Africa was a trip of a lifetime -- I'm not extraordinarily wealthy and won't be able to make a trip like this again for quite some time, if ever. I'm so glad I did it, and I'm grateful to my husband for supporting my want to go. A lucky person, I was able to go with a couple of friends who have extensively traveled, so safety was on my side. I would never have gone alone! Though as part of the bulk of our trip, we did have a woman join us who was traveling alone. It's something she does often. Not only does it really not appeal to me because of the safety factor, I just enjoy so much experiencing everything with people I care about. And afterwards we can still remember together the times we had -- and the interesting and beautiful joys along the way. Reliving the trip once in a while via conversation just adds to the wonderful experience.

I'm a big animal lover who grew up in the country. I've camped extensively. Being in Africa was very much like being snapped up from a tent in a campground in the Cascades and plopped down into a tent on the other side of the earth -- definite changes in climate, view, animals, people, language, culture, but still people just making their way in the world, still dirt, trees, insects, animals, vegetation; and friendliness.

We had wonderful guides -- except for one gentleman who guided us through much of Tanzania, through the Ngorongoro Crater, Oldupai Gorge and into the Serengeti. He was pleasant, helpful, extremely knowledgeable, but his driving nearly drove me to the edge. Literally. He was the one who, two days in a row, took us into the crater where the drop in is about 2000 feet. It's like standing on the edge of an ocean trying to see the marine life, then 30 minutes later, being down at the bottom of it. The cliffs are crazy, the road is a single dirt lane, rocky beyond belief, and traction isn't always the best. Suffice it to say, he drove too fast for me! It probably didn't help matters that I have a real fear of heights... ;-)

Perhaps a discussion of Africa for the next few posts would be in order...

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