Well, we are exactly three months away from departure and I have finally taken a minute to sit down and get this blog site started. This is my first attempt at “blogging” so bare with me.
For those close to me, you know I have been an animal lover all of my life. I have brought home everything from baby opossums, cats, dogs, chickens…you name it! But there is just something about the “BIG” cats. As a little girl, my favorite movie was Born Free and it remains my favorite movie today (if you haven’t seen it and you are a lover of lions, it’s a must see). Mala got me the video years ago, which I believe I wore out the 1st year. I think I have had three cats of my own that I have names Elsa over the years. Now I get to finally see the “reaI Elsa”. I remember trying to get Krysta to watch it with me when she was little and her exact words to me were “mom, is it even in color?”. Needless to say, she was not a fan of the movie like me, but has suffered through my obsession all these years.
Almost 10 years ago now, I began researching Safaris to Africa. I knew what I had dreamed about, but really had no idea what was available. Through me research, I found what looked to be the perfect adventure! The promise I made to myself, 10 years ago, was that I would find a way to take this adventure of “my” lifetime before I turned 50, while I was young enough and physically capable of making the trip.
Now you have to remember, this is the adventure of “my” lifetime, not necessarily an adventure everyone would find rewarding. Though Krysta would “love” to be making this trip with me, it’s not practical to leave our sweet Aiden for this period of time AND I would likely have to pay for us both…LOL! NOT! And Dave, though there is a part of him that would love to experience about 1 day of the journey with me, that’s about as far as it goes. The 21 hour travel time to get there plus the possibility of contracting Malaria, quickly ruled him out! He didn’t want to keep me from following this dream of mine…so with his best wishes plus the trade-out for a bass boat (lol), I began making more specific inquiries and travel plans.
I researched several leading Safari destinations and companies and you know how sometimes there is this “God Moment” when your path becomes perfectly clear? Well, I had one of those moments. My moms favorite saying has always been “Life is not measured by the amount of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away”. Her grandkids even did a photo for her years ago that is framed with this saying printed on it. As I began to receive emails and quotes from several companies, a package arrived from Africa Dream Safaris and their presentation folder has this very saying printed right on the front, just above a pride of Lions resting on a rock. No more searching for me! This was the company that would help me fulfill my dream. Tanzania and the Serengeti await!
So I now found myself in quite a dilemma. My trip was planned, but I didn’t want to go by myself. Who shared the same passion as me, trust me, this would have to be a passion? Who could afford this trip (not cheap and I’ve been saving awhile)? Who could get this much time off work? And who did I trust and like well enough to share this experience with? Little did I know, someone in my own family!
At a family reunion, two years ago now, over casual conversation about my trip, my cousin Rich said “I want to go, count me in”! I could hardly believe it. How much better could it get? Someone I trust and Dave would trust AND someone I like well enough to include in my adventure. I was so excited I’m pretty sure I cried tears down my leg (or peed my pants) but the other sounds better! But when I told Rich the cost he soon called me back and said he and Linda had decided that the trip just didn’t make sense and he would not be going. Back to square 1. NOW who was going to get to go with me?
After I think maybe a couple weeks, Rich called me back and said they had discussed it further and he was going to find a way to go. He then did the most unselfish thing ever…he got a job! LOL. Now if you know Rich, he is retired military. That’s all he’s ever done. And this dear man got a part-time job delivering newspaper! 6am everyday…to fussy people who did not receive their regular paper…just to go with me! I feel so very honored Rich! We scheduled the trip nearly 2 years out, which was fine with me, as long as it was before I turned 50!
2 years out is now down to just 3 months. Tickets are purchased…trip is paid for…shopping and packing has begun (well for me it has begun, Rich if finished – I think he has been packed for like 3 months). An appointment with the health department has been made and final preparations are underway. An end of the year hail storm in Murfreesboro will make the next 3 months seems like merely days.
I can not end this first blog without a few final words. Linda; thank you for loving Rich and I both enough to let him go with me. I promise not to let him get eaten by a Cheetah or do anything really silly. From the youngest cousin to the oldest, I love you dearly! Dave, thank you for giving me the freedom to live my dream. I know this is not your thing or your type of vacation, but knowing that it’s mine means everything to me. I promise you, Krysta and Aiden I won’t be wreckless, I won’t come home with Malaria (or Ebola) and I’ll come back with stories and memories that will last me the rest of my lifetime. Oh how I wish dad were still here to see us get ready to leave for this trip. He has encouraged me to do this for years and was so excited to know Rich was going with me. Even though I always said I would go by myself if I had to, no way he would have ever let that happen. Though his health may not have ever allowed him to actually go, atleast now he’ll be there every step of the way. I love you dad!