Safari Journal Part 1

Safari Journal PART 1

I started my journal in July. The time I have spent preparing for this trip
has been exciting and keeps me brimming with anticipation. Knowing that my
drawings look more like hieroglyphics than art, I will spare you these things. I
will type everything that I have written. Please keep in mind that when a
thought hits the brain it does not always equal the pen hitting the paper.
Thanks for joining me on this trip.

7-17-00 – I’m preparing for my trip to Africa. I decided to go after looking
for a receipt for my outdoor umbrella. When looking for the receipt in my file
cabinet, I came across three pamphlets from travel agencies on African safari’s.
I had information from 94-95, 97-98 and 1999. It made me realize that I also had
two safari companies book-marked on my pc. This was the best time in my life to
live this dream out. I was 30 years old, on a hiatus from my career and ready to
embark on this wonderful journey. I am normally an impulse buyer and yet I have
waited so long to make this one decision. I’ve wanted to go to Africa because I
believe that I will find something out about myself. I’ve also been afraid to go
because I might find something out about myself. For some reason I believe that
Africa is the place where time started and that it is a mystical place where
life is much simpler. I know in my heart that there will be one moment when I am
there that my heart will stop beating as it does now and re-invent itself to a
more solid, musical arrangement. I researched a lot of companies before choosing
Thomson’s ( They had an U.S. office and an office in
Tanzania. This meant that some of my concerns on my western philosophy and my
interest in new and exciting places would be taken care of in a understandable

7-18-00 – Today I got a large duffel, a pair of pants that zip off into
shorts and some cord for drying my laundry. I am hoping that my passport and
visa documents arrive on time and in one piece. When dealing with government
offices this has become a stigma. I must continue to remind myself that I need
to pack toilet paper and plenty of zip-lock bags. Everyday I get a little more
exciting. Well, that and a little more excited.

7-25-00 – The trip is now exactly 46 days away. The countdown begins. I am
preparing myself with little reminders. Thinking about not talking so much and
being quiet, so that I can relish in the atmosphere. The wind will sound
different, the air will smell not of that of industry but of pure, warm life. I
know that the water-holes and rivers are actually the blood of the earth. I will
allow it to course through my veins and bring me new life.

I’m watching a program on Rhinos tonight. The white rhino have a square mouth
and the black a pointed lip. The rhinos only natural enemy is man. The program
includes a story on Pilanesberg. There were 23 rhinos found dead. There were no
gunshot wounds and the reason for death could not be determined. Shortly after,
an amateur film maker caught on tape elephants shoving rhino’s to death. How
could elephants be the culprit? Elephants are not known for their destructive
behavior, they are actually very docile creatures. The program continued to
unravel the mystery. These were young male elephants that had been transported
to this area. Many of whom had been in used (probably beaten) in Circuses. These
elephants did not get to experience the normal social life that is common among
their own kind. They were aggressive and now deemed killers.

I was suddenly embarrassed to be a human being. Why do we destroy? We
constantly try to control nature instead of being part it. If we had not taken
the elephants from their natural habitat in the first place there would not be
horrible chain reaction. It’s almost surreal. If the story of man was in a book,
whomever read it would shudder with disbelief. Here’s how it might sound…
Creatures given an oasis, let’s call it earth. It has water to feed and nourish
plants. Plants that feed and nourish animals and animals who when retire feed
and nourish the earth again. A beautiful circle, let’s call it life. Then throw
in humans, the destroyers of all that is good. These humans take and take and
leave the earth in ruins. They kill and hang heads, they waste and feel no
remorse, they love and value nothing.

Am I only contributing to this chaos by taking this trip?

8-3-00 – 39 days left. I can almost hear the silence. I can almost feel the
beating of my new heart.

8-8-00 – I am gathering some more necessities together. I now have a safari
hat and a small purse in which I will keep my water.

8-14-00 – I got my shots today. Yellow fever, Polio booster, Hepatitis A and
Diphtheria. I am feeling a little groggy. I just woke up from a nap. The doctor
said that I would feel like I have a cold for a few days and that my muscles
might be sore. I am experiencing both. My doctor’s name was Beth Townsend. She
made me feel very comfortable about getting my shots and what I could expect.
She was a tall, thin red-head with large, blue, deep set eyes. She smiled often.
She had done her homework before my appointment. Which as you know is an unusual
trait in a doctor. She furnished me with information on the general health
conditions in Tanzania as well as the vaccinations that she was administering.
Her office was filled with maps and globes from the wallpaper all the way down
to the chocolates covered in map foil. Of course, I helped myself to several of
these delights. There was also a large laminated map of the world. She
instructed me to choose a stickpin and mark my destination. There were three
other pins around Arusha. I left with the feeling that she enjoys what she does.
Not necessarily poking people until they bleed, but hearing the stories of
travelers. I can’t imagine that hearing these would getting boring or tedious
either. Sure some of the stories would center around the same things but each
story lined with a different perspective. Old, young, naive, cunning,
meticulous, lazy each stitch of every story is hand crafted from a unique

There was one question in retrospect that I wished I would have asked. “Do
you travel?”. I was to caught up in my own adventure to ask her. This will be
considered my lesson, Number 1.

Ms. Townsend was not my first call. I went through doctor, hospital and
health department with no luck. This makes me think about the journeys we make
in life. How often have I given up before finding my personal pot of gold? You
will never see a garden with just one stepping stone. A garden has several
stepping stones along it’s walkway with each one a little closer to the visual
and sensual pleasure of it’s contents. Each step a little closer and with it a
little more anticipation. Every time you start a journey, you have an expected
outcome. Remember that surprises can be the most fulfilling times in your life.

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