“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

TravelHaven Journal – African Safari 1

Africa Stole My Heart

Why would I go to Tanzania? Honestly, it’s not my usual destination by any means. I tend to like casual, relaxing, beachy places with lots of creature comforts and nice restaurants and good wine. Not exactly a close description of Tanzania, or much of sub-equatorial Africa. Right?

But . . . a friend wanted to fulfill her life’s dream of going to Tanzania and she didn’t have anyone to go with. So I thought, well I’ve never been to Africa, and when will I ever have the incentive to go again, and she’s a really good friend. Besides I figured, it’s good to broaden one’s life experiences, right? I said to myself, “You’ll go and enjoy a unique trip and be so ready to come back home at the end of a two-week safari.”

What I didn’t expect was, well, Africa just stole my heart. Yes, the animals were amazing and beautiful. Seeing them in the flesh without any obstacles between me and them thrilled me to my core. But it isn’t just the animals that make me want to return. It’s the beauty and variety of the landscape, the kindness and consideration of the people, and the quiet and softness of the continent itself. Everything seems muted there — voices, colors, sounds. There’s a dreamy, mythic quality to everything that surrounds you.

When I came back and printed my pictures, my first thought was that my camera must not have worked very well. The images weren’t sharp and clear and hard-edged, as usual. Then I really studied them and the realization overtook me that the pictures looked just like the reality of what I saw in Africa — muted colors, almost blurring into one another — no sharp, defined edges – impressions rather than details. I resisted the urge to use Photoshop to sharpen my pictures. Instead, I long to go back again and compare the reality of Africa to what is lodged forever in my heart.