Saturday, April 14, 2007

Planning an Adventure

I tend to "sneak up" on big trips. Some of that has to do with big trips we've planned in the past that had life events take them away. The first time we were planning a trip to California, we had a death in the family, I think it was my dad's death that made it impossible to take that trip. We had planned a spring break trip to Big Bend when my grandmother died. Our life the last couple of years has been only roughly structured. When people ask when are we heading out again, often my reply is: "I'm not sure exactly, but I think we'll be leaving in ____ weeks. I know we'll be ________at this date, and ________ at that date, but in between . . . I'm not sure what the schedule is.

And so it is now. I think we'll be home another 10-14 days with perhaps a couple of days heading out to try to photograph wildflowers. We'll probably be in Amarillo for a week or so. We'll be in Colorado May 19th for that writer's conference. Then there is a "dead" space for a couple of months. Will we go home . . . will we try to go to Yellowstone . . . will we go to a wildlife refuge in northern Colorado I discovered last year . . . unknown right this minute. We will be in Amarillo at the end of July for a wedding. We'll be in St. Louis the first weekend in August for NASFIC where Henry is one of the guests. We have a wedding in Austin at the end of August.

But then . . . . then . . . the adventure I'm sneaking up on . . . a trip to Africa. It has almost not seemed real, rather something fragile that I might chicken out of doing due to expense or that might have to be postponed for other family reasons. But, if we are going, it is time to start picking out what we are going to do and get reservations in place.

We have friends living in Africa and it has been my goal to visit them while they are there. To me the most important part of the trip is spending time with them, helping in some way with their mission work. But it is also a photography trip. I already knew some of the things I would want to do - Chobe in Botswana, Victoria Falls, etc. I've been struggling with whether to do things on our own which has been our habit - which is often cheaper than trying to do tours. But I've been convinced that at least on our first visit to Africa, it is probably wise to go with guides who are knowledgeable not only about their area, but who also know how to protect their guests. I've heard from other people who have gone on safaris about the armed guards at the camps. Now before you get alarmed, these armed guards are not there to protect against human marauders . . . no, it is the lepeoards in the trees, the lions in the bush, and perhaps the elephant that decides that his bed for the night is right next to the door of your tent.

What is beginning to take shape: time at Chobe, time at the Luangwa River, and time in Namibia. On the radar as well is time in Livingston and Cape Town.

Shhh! I'm sneaking, I'm sneaking . . . we got our first shots this week, and there are typhoid pills in the refrigerator. It is beginning to feel real.

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