Tanzania 2018

Lion

June 2018: I wrote most of the below and forgot to publish it as anyone who has visited East Africa the network is a mercurial and not always reliable thing. So here you are…. a month later – the thoughts all still stand, my readers. I just didn’t officially state it live time. I know life isn’t a fairy tale, but it’s nice to be looking around the next bend at a happy what’s next – I don’t live to think of endings or ever after, life certainly isn’t so tidy, at least mine isn’t. It’s a happy right now for me. It’s a building of the house where there was once just me and is now an us. Here’s to us and all of you. It’s also pre-summer in the Berkshires, in Massachusetts where I live and the greener than green came with me back from Tanzania… I don’t mind it, I don’t mind it at all.

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April 2018: I have been in Tanzania during the dry season or just at the start of the short rains, never at the end of the rainy season when the land is so gloriously green everywhere – greener than the greenest green.

It’s also dangerous and muddy, with floods and broken roads but let’s set that aside for a moment and focus on the endless emerald fields and hillsides. I have to say I have learned to love this confusing country in all conditions.

This is my first time traveling free – not quite a local, a mzungu never is going to be that.  I have replaced the blur from a 4 x 4 vehicle window, a more than curated experience., with street food, Masai nightclubs, the Dar “lux” express bus (it’s not so lux but it’s also not so not lux – that’s a puzzle 12 hours on that bus will solve for you). I may have even drunk the water (ok, you all know, I did but I swear my gut appreciates it now).

When does the tourist become the traveler? When is it just visiting your guy where he lives and going to the village where he was born? Does it matter that the village where I was born was Chicago? I don’t know.  Somehow by accident of fate, my global citizenship has changed and I have to carve out a spot here as well as there – there will always be a bit different when I am here and it’s a weird and unsettling mix of complicated and simple.

When I get on my plane back to the USA this time, I am not just taking memories with me. I am leaving someone behind. What was once a one way, becomes a new life plan and roundtrips. My heart couldn’t be more full,

As my father told me long ago, shoot for the stars, just remember to find the potatoes on the ground too. So with stars in my eyes and potatoes in my pockets, let the next chapter begin.

2017: new year, new deal

Cow, Lion

Happiest of New Year’s wishes to all.

2016: I promised stories. I promised pictures. I promised much. Unfortunately, I am not the best at sitting down and writing. I had a great year of travels to Martinique, Canada and my amazing and special time in East Africa this fall – as deeply in love with that land as ever.

2017: As always on Jan 1, I am feeling the pressure for something to appear here. Something meaningful, insightful to inspire and engage my ten regular readers (up from my four!!). Maybe a travel life blog wasn’t my best idea after all. Stay with me though. Perhaps this will be the year.

Here’s the deal. I am not a supporter of new year’s resolutions – I prefer intentions. So many intentions this year but really just one. My intention is to be kinder – to myself, to my body, to my people, my co-workers, to strangers.

Our world is on fire and certainly in the USA, it’s been a rocky fall. For me, despite some knocks, I am solid, I just need to do some rebuilding and some renovations on this house of mine.

So…. I started this year at yoga. They say you should do on day one of the year what you want to do all year. I want to be the person I am five minutes after class. I want to feel strong and relaxed. If I can hold on to this, I can handle the storm that swirls around my house, calmly and I hope kindly. There’s a bit more at stake this year for reasons I will share as I go along (I am 100% fine, just reasons, people).

A large part of 2017 is going to be showing up. I am showing up this year. I’m going to give it my best shot. fireworks

 

 

 

 

 

2016: Tanzania

Lion

Still processing an amazing adventure. Came back to a country on fire. I will just leave you all with this snippet of a video of a Lutheran Choir practice in Karatu, Tanzania. A very special moment in the middle of my trip. Voices unite us all.

2016: Kenya

Lion

I write this on the shore of Lake Elementaita. Listening to the waves crash and the calls of the remaining flamingos. Most have moved on from here. Their food source depleted by pollution. Reality of conservation and sometimes lack of conservation. Kenya. A beautiful land facing such challenges to their north. Here in the south life goes on. And my trip back to East Africa carries on. No pictures can be shared yet. Come back in three weeks and I will add them. Dodgy wifi is the trade off to so much better. After all as it is said often TIA: this is Africa. I don’t know yet how to explain how this land speaks to me. It has a piece of my heart and always will. I don’t belong here forever but for a little while, cover me with dust, let me bump along the roads and visit the lions (and not for nothing a whole whole lot of cows).

(Update: added the lovely view! one by day and one by dawn)

2016: Back to East Africa

Lion

“Africa has her mysteries and even a wise man cannot understand them. But a wise man respects them.”

Miriam Makeba (South African singer and civil rights activist)

Tomorrow it is – meanwhile, surrounded by piles of clothing, twists of plugs, missing adaptors, stray Euros, matchless socks, you’d hope that someday I get better at this part, the leaving.

Why do I go? Why must I go back? Zebras. No really, I travel because my mind gets too cluttered and being in new challenging places makes me a bit more honest with myself, helps me clear up the clutter in the face of the unknown. Who is the traveler in me that I meet on the road? She’s the best version of me now, I’d hope. The one who has an open mind, an open heart and let’s all she meets have a moment, even those on the hustle.  I am not as good at that at home. I judge, I grouse, I get bogged down, I am petty on my bad days. The mystery of the unknown, unplanned makes it all better somehow.

I’ll try to update from out there but out there has spotty wifi. Be well, ten readers, thanks for reading, following along.

2016: Back to East Africa

Lion

“Africa – You can see a sunset and believe you have witnessed the Hand of God. You watch the slope lope of a lioness and forget to breathe. You marvel at the tripod of a giraffe bent to water. In Africa, there are iridescent blues on the wings of birds that you do not see anywhere else in nature. In Africa, in the midday heart, you can see blisters in the atmosphere. When you are in Africa, you feel primordial, rocked in the cradle of the world.”

Jodi Picoult (American author)

 One week. This space was called lions and cows for a reason. I have seen so so many cows lately, it’s more than time for the lions. Africa. Not a place I will ever understand. I just want to go, to see and to be. 

2010: Tanzania

Lion

As I wait for next weekend, here’s why I could go again and again to East Africa. And again and again. And again.

2016: Back to East Africa

Lion

“When in the end, the day came on which I was going away, I learned the strange learning that things can happen which we ourselves cannot possibly imagine, either beforehand, or at the time when they are taking place, or afterwards when we look back on them.”
― Karen BlixenOut of Africa / Shadows on the Grass

Two week countdown begins….

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2013: the year in review, the year I did more living than blogging

Cow, Lion

I used to wish for peace but as this year unfolded I’ve realized peace is an elusive and hard to pin down thing and when you do find it, you usually loose it and begin the cycle almost immediately. So frustrating. So annoyingly brief. So little, after so much. Makes me think of that Greek myth about that poor man and the giant rock that he had to roll up the hill over and over again for all eternity (that mean Zeus).

Instead of peace, I’m calling 2013 the year, I learned that really grace is the thing I’ve always longed for in life. The grace to navigate all these ups / these downs / these sideways moments – to be able to take in the sights, the news, the living part of life and place it all down in a pattern that makes sense and not let my proverbial emotional boat get swamped.

My laundry list of places is nothing to be ashamed of: Florida – the middle and either end three times, Cape Cod too many times and yet never enough, Ireland, Iceland, South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Brooklyn a dozen times and a lot of time here in the Berkshires/Southern Vermont. I saw Victoria Falls, the northern lights, an August meteor shower, my first and probably only African fin foot duck. Babies have been born, children have gotten bigger, houses have had to be sold, jobs have been changed – lost/found, hearts have been broken, love has been found in surprising places, relationships cemented with marriage/moving in together, good health news for some, terrible crappy rough health news for others, new friends made, my mother’s sight has worsened, lost a dear friend unexpectedly, people have moved, others have moved back, a family memorial service for one of our oldest brought cousins together and through it all, a great lesson was learned.

Sure, my mother is loosing her sight but she’s got one of the best minds going for an eighty three year old, sassy & funny as ever.

My nephew continues to flourish.

My friends who have been challenged with health news are fighting for their lives with every cell of their beings and they are showing me what bravery looks like every day.

I am over run with family and friends who I treasure.

My job has gone from a chore to something that is a pleasure to do everyday due to a fabulous new co-worker.

My friend, who left us far too soon, has taught me to tell people good things more often, to share all those complements we store up and make sure the rockstars of our lives, well, they know, they really know, how special and dear they are to us all.

For once in 2014, I don’t have many plans of where I am going and what I am seeing except that I want to see and do things with my beloved people and I’ll take it from there. I want goodness. I want to see all those babies born/grow/graduate. I really really want to hear good health news for all of you heroes.

Most of all, I want to keep working on this grace thing and really nail it down.

PS. Good news… just in case, I haven’t forgotten you can say it in pictures – here’s a little slide show of my best places/faces.

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“You know you are truly alive when you’re living among lions.”

Karen Blixen, Out of Africa

Months of planning, getting near time to leave. My duffle is almost packed. Farewell cow town – am waking from my winter nap & headed for the savannas, the deltas, the dust of the land where lions roar.

hitting the road, off to see some lions

Lion