I have been back in the U.S. for a while now, since end of May 2016, from what was an uplifting, educational, and truly inspiring experience. Two out of three of those would have been worth the resources invested in this trip, but the Inspiration Mojo was a major bonus.
The uplift came from the sheer newness that lights the paths of all those who love Travel and its glories — the anticipation of sights only imagined or seen in pictures, the immersive experience of details of the coming and going, passports, security checks, border crossings, the babble of foreign languages on arrival, the way things are just done differently, from the outbound flight all the way to an open air market (where, frankly, many things are done quite the same as anywhere else).
The education came from, well, pretty much everything I didn’t already know, plus one bit of unwelcome education (to be covered in a future post). The up-close-and-personal learning about zebras, elephants, cheetahs, springbok (which I learned is the national animal of South Africa, as well as a tasty lean meat), and other native fauna. But education also came in the form of meeting locals, learning from guides (who were in many cases locals), practicing the native tongues (e.g., Xhosa), and seeing first-hand that even twenty years later, much has yet to be done to leave behind the disgraceful legacy of South African Apartheid.
The inspiration came from waking up every morning in this stunning, alive, primordial country that has surprise at every turn, beauty that defies description, and flavors — literal and metaphorical — that will stay long after landing back on home turf.
Thing is, in many ways, in fact, it felt very much like home. It is Africa, after all. The cradle of humanity. The place that unites all of us who are descended from our original “source material,” whatever one believes that to be.
I am eager to return to Africa. But until I do, let me tell you….