Heading for Africa

Trip Start Jul 19, 2007
Trip End Aug 03, 2007

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Flag of United States  , Washington
Thursday, July 19, 2007

Fresh off the plane from a week in Nicaragua, we got home with a couple days to wash clothes, reconnect with the cats and then head off again.  We left at 1pm with 20+ hours of travel time ahead of us.  Really, at this point, travel can seem like a blur and we all know that the trip to your destination usually seems quicker than the return.  

Do any of you remember the Junior Ranger program of National Geographic?   Or better yet, were you a member?  Amy was.  As she tells it, "For 7 years while living overseas, I was a proud member of that club, thanks to my father who got me the subscription.  I poured over the magazine again and again and I wore my little yellow button (I still have it).  In the 70s, it seems Africa was more often the topic.  Lions, elephants, the Masaai, the Serengeti, researchers in tent camps all seemed so exotic and romantic to me.  Ironically, we had lived in Libya for a couple years but my parents never took us on Safari.  This was a dream trip for me.  I had wanted to do a Safari since I was 4.  My father teased us with one as a teenager when he mentioned taking me and my brothers but it never panned out.  I never lost the connection I felt to that area of world or the Masaai although I had no idea what was driving it.  I always loved animals, all kinds.  I watched all the shows that we could get in London but summers in the US, with Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom being the best.  There was Peter, safe in the studio, narrating about Jim and Marlin's latest exciting adventure; jumping from helicopters onto the backs of elk or tackling giant anacondas.  It's surprising I didn't end up in that field, but alas I didn't.

"So, now, decades later, I'm prepping to take my safari with Nathan.  While packing all the khaki clothes, the hiking boots, sunscreen, and bug repellant, I catch myself over and over again just sitting and thinking about all of it.  Strangely, the one resonating moment that stuck was knowing how hard I would cry when I got there."

Nathan's eight-week sabbatical seemed like a perfect time to try our first safari ("safari" is Swahili for "journey").  Amy noticed a sign at the Seattle REI store advertising a slideshow presentation on two Africa trips offered by REI Adventures.  The trip through Botswana, Namibia, and Zimbabwe sounded amazing, but we settled on the Classic Safari, a journey through some of the most storied destinations in Africa, including the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Crater.

With about nine days of safari ahead through four major parks, followed by three days on the island of Zanzibar, there was nothing to do but pack!
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