The Freedom to go to Africa
This summer I have 10 weeks of vacation. TEN WEEKS. No job, no boss, no schedule. The responsible part of me will spend some of this time writing manuscripts and my dissertation, but that still leaves me with some time to burn. While walking around Denver after getting some coffee last week, The Boy turned to me, smirked, and asked “So what are you going to do with your 10 weeks?” He knew I wasn’t going to spend the whole time writing and that I had something up my sleeve.
Some of the best experiences of my life have been adventure travel- running a marathon in Antarctica, trekking through the deep Amazon- and after traveling to Italy that little adventure seed got watered (with wine?) and started to sprout. One place I have yet to go is Africa and it regularly bothers me that it is still on my bucket list. At least once a week I wonder about when and how I’ll get to Africa.
As I realized that now, this summer, this 10 week break was my chance to go to Africa, I was eager and excited, but nervous to tell The Boy. We were dating when I went to the Amazon, but that trip was on my radar long before he was. This would be the first time I’d need to negotiate my… what is it? thrill seeking? sense of adventure? wanderlust?…. with him. I smirked back and said “I’m thinking Africa. Maybe climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro.” Being coy usually has favorable effects, but this situation was different, bigger, and I paused, the words heavy in the air, as I waited for his response. For a moment I balanced on a razor’s edge knowing that my dream was either going to become a reality or continue to be just a dream.
“Well, I’ll be jealous. I’m not sure I can take the time to go with you right now. But if you want to go, I can watch the dogs. I just ask that you try to be respectful of my schedule when planning your trip.”
Was that it? Seriously? This amazing, beautiful, brilliant man who I have chosen to spend my life with “gets” it. He gets that I don’t just love travel, but that I lust after adventure, and that I want to see the world, even though sometimes it may be dangerous or reckless. He is willing to support me in doing that and will watch our dogs while I go on an amazing adventure and he works on starting his new business as long as I am mindful of his work schedule. I am absolutely the luckiest girl on the planet.
So now I have the difficult task of figuring out how to spend this great gift of freedom. It is a freedom from responsibility, a freedom to explore and the freedom to go to Africa. I am thinking of climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro and going on a safari but I also want to see Victoria Falls and catch some time on the coast. I have a friend who has travelled to Lamu and loves it there and an acquaintance said that he could set me up with his friends who could teach me to surf in Port Elizabeth. Maybe I can justify two trips- one solo adventure and another in the future with The Boy.
If anyone has any suggestions on what to do, where to go or what to see on my trip, please leave them in a comment below.
10 weeks would be amazing. Africa is on my bucket list as well!
My friend, who is an ultrarunner (met him at JFK50), was referred to this tour guide when he expressed interest in climbing Kili: http://www.nomadicexperience.com/ The guide, Simon Mtuy, is a Western States finisher so this seems right up your alley!
I spent two weeks in South Africa this past summer and absolutely loved it! I went on safari in the KwaZulu-Natal region and then explored Cape Town and surrounding areas. The Stellenbosch area is lovely! My only regret during my time there was that I did not go cage diving with sharks. Have fun!
That sounds so incredible! Thanks for the tour guide referral!!