Travel Journal Entry
Location: Nkambeni Safari Lodge, Krugar National Park.
“To move, to breath, to fly,to float, to roam the roads of lands remote, to travel is to live”.
Oh how my definition of travel has changed in these past few months. Ive realised I’ve never really travelled until now. Ive been on holidays, couple of weeks here and there. I might have looked the part, backpack, bangles, harem pants. But the reality was I had a change of clothes for every day, ate out, spent time looking presentable and stayed in fancy hostels or hotels. This is not travel. For me now travel is about swaping roles for reality, trusting strangers, only owning what I carry ,wearing the same clothes 5 days in a row and not caring, washing not only myself in the shower but also my clothes, not brushing my hair for days,simply because I would rather spend that 5 minutes exploring a new city or chatting to the person sleeping above me. Travel is not just about seeing the sights but experiencing the culture, the food and meeting the most interesting ,strange, kind, crazy and happy people. From the guy I met in Paris who has been travelling the world for six years to the guys saving up to spend months jumping off mountains in Switzerland, to my fellow female solo travellers who have thought me to fight through the hard times because they will become the best moments of your life. Travel isnt about how many how countries you have been to but about taking the places and culture with you. For me so far, travel has made me feel more alive than I have ever felt. To travel is to truely live, for me anyway .
So day 3 of a three week camping trip from Jo’burg to Capetown. Im not usually a fan of organised tours but as this was my first solo mission and also my first trip to Africa I satisfy my parents worries by booking this trip, and after 6 weeks of independent travel in Europe Im ready to meet new people and let the tour guide take over. Also overland tours are meant to be the best way to see Africa. The group of people on this tour are diverse. Including a German woman who is surprised to learn that black and whites mingle and go to school together and even commented at dinner last night that ‘no wonder black people steal so much as they cant get caught as they blend into the dark’ to the Belgium man who makes bullets in the basement of his house that are used to ‘kill terrosits’ has made the chat over the campfire quite amusing. Also I’ve been struck down with the flu for the past week which is making this adventorous tour difficult. 5am starts , packing and unpacking the tent every day, dusty travel, hiking in African Sun is testing me for sure. But days like today diminish any single downside there is to this trip. The positives are always out weighing the negatives.
6am start of the Game Drive through Krugar National Park. Krugar Park is a famous national park that is nearly the size of Belgium. Its stretches through three countries: Mozambique, Zimbabwe and South Africa. A game drive gives tourists an opportunity to see these wild animals in their natural habitat. As we load up the safari jeep my expectations for the day are distracted by my very dodgy stomach. The Africian stew we had for dinner last night was the last straw for my bowels. I really really hope there are some toilet stops soon. Also as Im not a huge animal lover I think to myself if anything ill get a few hours sleep on this very comfy vehicle. Well they do say the lower your expectations the better the experience. That was most defiantly the case for today’s trip. As we tentatively drive along and search the surrounding lands for any movement or mammals the sheer excitement is building already. All of a sudden a radio signal comes in from another driver. A Lion has been spotted some where close. We quickly do a u- turn and speed off. The sheer thrill at seeing the Lion in the far distance was not a feeling i was expecting. The guide informed us that spotting lion is very rare so I suppose that made the experience more exhilarating. It might sound cringe but it is one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. To the zebras , giraffes, buffalo’s, rhinos, monkeys , lions, kudus, antelopes, waterbucks, baboons, vulchers, eagles, wild dogs, Henna’s, hippos to the elephant safely escorting her baby across the road right in front of us today was one of the greatest days I will ever have.
Not only was it great to see these beautiful animals but it also sparked off my want to extend this trip. To continue traveling for as long as I can. The compelling sense of adventure,freedom and high that I felt today and so many other days on my trip has made me question why I haven’t done this until now, why everyone isn’t doing it and more importantly why on earth would I stop after 6 short months.
Turning 28 next year ,when I return from my travels, I’m expected to enter a new phase of adulthood, a sedentary lifestyle and full time jobs. In the society I’ve lived in success is measured by how highly ranked you are in your job or profession, owning your own house, getting married, having babies but the more I travel the less and less these things seem important to me. In the western world it seems as though our insatiable need to work so we can buy more stuff is getting in the way of our innate desire to explore, experience and enjoy our lives. From traveling and meeting other like minded people success is being able to fund what you are passionate about. Success has no materialistic measures with these people. Success is living every day in awe of the beauty of a new culture, city , nature and the kindness of strangers. Success is being free to roam and wander. To have the ability to live in the present moment. The people I have met while traveling have been some of the happiest, content simplistic people I have ever met.