Insights from Africa

My husband and I recently returned from Tanzania, Africa. We went on a National Geographic Expedition safari. It was amazing! The following are a few insights I brought back with me.

This was the first time in I don’t know how long, maybe since I was a child, that I was truly living in the moment. I didn’t know the date. I didn’t know what day of the week it was. Most of the time, I didn’t even know what time it was. It was wonderful. I was able to focus on what animals we were seeing at the time, what conversations were going on around us, what was happening at each of the moments we were living. It’s something I am trying to keep with me. Yes, we all need to plan. But I think I can find a balance of enjoying each moment, or at least most of them, without planning for, or worse, worrying about, the future.

I have traveled around the United States and have seen areas of poverty. (Actually, I grew up in greater poverty than most people would believe.) Nothing I’ve seen or experienced compared to what we saw in Africa. One of our guides told us that the unemployment rate is 30%, and there isn’t any welfare. People are dependent upon family and friends helping them out. And those that have work, make sacrifices. In one camp we stayed at, the employees all live there and see their families maybe once every two months. What I want to keep with me is an appreciation of all that we do have in this country. Yes, there are problems, but our quality of life is so much higher than in many other parts of the world.

The main reason we went to Africa was to view wildlife. And we did. We went to Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti National Park, among other places. The vastness of the land and the variety and abundance of the wildlife is unbelievable. And it’s real. It’s nature. It’s not a zoo, it’s not an amusement park, it’s not sanitized. We saw a pride of lions eating the carcass of a zebra it had taken down during the night. In the background the rest of the herd of zebras, while grazing, kept watch on the lions to see what they would do next. As the guide explained, it’s better to keep your eye on the enemy. We were also lucky enough to see the wildebeests crossing the Mara River as part of the Great Migration. We watched crocodiles trying to take them down. There were no barriers between predator and prey. It’s sad for the prey animals to get eaten, but if they didn’t, the predators would starve. I want to remember that the world and life is complex and maybe we shouldn’t try to simplify everything.

If you get a chance to travel, anywhere, take it! Travel is an exceptional way to broaden our horizons and look at our world and life in new ways.

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