Grand Adventures continue in 2015

10 February, 2015

Travelgirls adventures continue…

In the inspiring words of the great John Muir, “The world is big and I want to have a good look at it before it gets dark.”  We’ve all said some version of this “time flies, make the most of life” analogy in times when we actually realize there is a deadline on something or see how a friend’s young child has suddenly become an adult towering above you, but imagine suddenly finding yourself at the end of your life and then realizing that your own dreams and ambitions were never addressed.  All those aspirations and seemingly frivolous ideas about things you thought about doing “one day,” just ending up just adorning some shelf in your mind still looking appealing even if covered in a thick layer of dust as they were never actually acted upon until it was way too late.  If I have to come up with one fear in life, it is to let just this scenario happen in my short (or long) life.  As JRR Tolkien puts it, “Not all who wander are lost.”  Some are simply living their lives as fully as they can imagine.


It is these “wandering” folks who set off to live a slightly different, perhaps even well outside the box, lifestyle, who are my muses… my inspirations.


So the clock continues to tick uninhibited toward two very special journeys I’ve dared say “yes” to, and now feeling the mixed emotions of both elation and trepidation preceding such a grand adventure… or series of adventures in this case.  There is much to do to prepare, to unwind oneself from life here in OC, to package the various aspects of it all neatly into packages to put on hold or distributed to others can easily take over without burden.  On the other hand I giggle with joy inside when I consider what is in store for the next few months of my life.  It just may be on the most extraordinary trip yet in my nature-loving imagination, but then again any time I’ve had the great honor to get out and experience the world has been truly extraordinary in my opinion.  For me when traveling, I feel the most alive.

Sea Lion Pups

So after all that, where in the world is “Travelgirl” off to next?  I’m thrilled to report I’ll be heading to Baja, Mexico with some rather exceptional and passionate individuals.  We’ll be venturing to Scammon’s Lagoon to spend some time with the birthing and mating grey whales there in the height of their season to experience the magic they bring to those lagoons each year at this time.  The folks I’m so honored to join are ocean loving folks who have proven their commitment to the sea, they are activists in their own way and many have been game-changers in local conservation practices, even going so far as to restore entire habitats and continue their work beyond that.  Perhaps it is not us just going to see the whales, but the whales summoning a particular few of us to join them for a lesson of some sort.


After our magical time in Scammon’s Lagoon, we’ll board a small plane heading to the remote Los Animas on the inland side of Baja to spend time with other whales, dolphin and sea lions.  The trip is very focussed on having the most time possible out with the sea life we all love so dearly, so there isn’t any doubt it will be soulful and truly special to share such a journey with these particular folks.


So after 6 days of an incredible escapade, I’ll return to OC for 3 days, a celebration of my wonderful mom’s birthday, and a bit of repacking before saying Bon Voyage more seriously and heading via a very long arduous series of plane flights to a place very near and dear to my heart, Africa.


First stop, Botswana for two weeks on a unique workshop/ safari with Anna Breytenbach and 10 other animal lovers from around the world.  Following that, I’ll head to South Africa to join 2 separate volunteer programs over a 7 week period.  The fist program will be spent out in the bush tracking animals, helping poachers and researchers with the focus of keeping them all safe from poachers and other human interferences.  The second program will be with a rescue, rehab and release program taking in animals who’ve been injured by such things as snares, arrows and so forth, as well has babies orphaned because their mum’s have been killed on behalf of human greed.  This particular place has become a sort of local “go to” place in that area for hand rearing young rhino’s until they are ready for release back to the wild.  I emphasize the release portion, because far too many “conservation” programs in places like Africa and SE Asia, are actually breeding facilities for zoos, the tourist trade and/or canned hunting programs.  These corrupt programs are geared only to make money and not to help the animal populations in any way.  If an animal must perform and/or folks pay to interact with the animals for photos and such, you can bet it’s corrupt and I encourage all to refrain from supporting such concessions.  There it is, I had to put in my 2 cents on behalf of the animals.


So back to travels.  Following the working part of the journey, I’ll head to a place I’ve wanted to visit since I heard about it years ago, some folks call it the Eden of Africa (one of them).  It’s call Mana Pools in northern Zimbabwe.  Sadly the news has brought to our attention the awful actions of that corrupt country to steel baby elephants from their families and sell them to China and such for their zoos.  This is a complete outrage to me, as it’s no different than steeling human babies and selling them for profit!!!  So I hesitated to head to Zimbabwe, but I reconsidered because if I can help bring tourist value to Zimbabwe’s wildlife, hopefully eventually the government will see they are better off in the long run protecting their wildlife rather than selling it off.  My little visit won’t exactly make an astounding impact, but may add to the long-term outcome in a very small way.  I’ll be paired with a renowned guide and owner of a very special camp in that remote area to be sure to get the most out of this rather unique and remote visit.

The guardian Leo - Small

About this time in my travels, I may be up for some crazy fun, so will head to Victoria Falls, one of the adventure capitals of the world… as well as the largest water fall on the planet.  I’m so excited just to see “the Smoke that Thunders” in person and looking forward to an ultralight flight over it’s majestic waters to really experience the size of it all.  Perhaps some other fun will sneak in there as well… stay tuned to my blog to find out.  After that, a bit of luxury safari with give a nice break for a few days before setting off the bazaar Madagascar to meet a friend, fellow traveller and hiker for 2 final weeks on the magical continent of Africa.


Whew, what a trip!  How does a gal arrange such an excursion some ask?  I have to say, it all happened quite organically.  The fact that I was so honored to land a place on the Botswana excursion was the spark that ignited this remarkable dream to come true.  I made a list of all the things I’d like to do and researched the best volunteer programs that seemed to suit me and let it all sort of soak in over about a month’s time.  Whenever I tried forcing a plan or itinerary, nothing fit, but when I just chilled out, glanced at my list and my calendar from time to time, the whole thing suddenly fell into place as though I somehow had a helping hand from some other place.  Other trips I’ve done have come together in much the same way, so I encourage you if you are stressing about planning a trip, to let it go, encourage things only a little and watch it come together as it may… sometimes having the most minimal of plans works out the very best in the end.


Speaking of “the end,” that will be by far the most difficult part of this entire escapade… the return to OC.  For all who have travelled far and wide, you understand that the world has a way of opening one’s heart and soul like nothing else can, and to return to the “same-same” of “home life” is incredibly difficult on so many levels for a free-spirit like myself.  So why go in the first place you might ask?  Because the adventure is there to be had, because life is so uncertain, because my heart and mind are incurably curious and always longing to help and grow.  Because when I get to the end of my life, this is something I want to have experienced.  Some folks help me sum it up in other ways:


“Logic will take you from point A to B.  Imagination will take your everywhere.”

~Albert Einstein


“I think, the day we figure out everything in life, is the day we die.”

quote from the film “Last Love”


“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”

~TS Eliot


“Look deep into nature and you will understand everything better.”

~ Albert Einstein


“She would make her eyes see more today, than they eve did before.”

~Julia Mod Peterkin


Categories: Africa, Latin America

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