Redefining once in a lifetime

Prologue: An interesting thing is happening as I try to put together my thoughts on writing this post… Every time I start trying to organize my words on the page, I start crying. Figuring out how to put into words what I saw and experienced brings up emotions for me that I didn’t realize were right there under the surface. And so, this post has taken a little longer to get to out there than I had initially intended. I am still not sure it can do justice to how I feel about everything I experienced on my trip.

I’ve just returned from what I referred to as a “once in a lifetime” trip to South Africa. I traveled there alone then joined a group of parents for a tour of Cape Town and surrounding areas with our college children who are part of Semester at Sea.

It took 20 hours of flying to get to Cape Town, where I was met by someone from the tour company who escorted me to my hotel. As I’m walking through the airport at 11 pm, a little bleary-eyed, the tour guide asks me what I’m most looking forward to on my trip. Such a benign question – no doubt one he asks every person he encounters through his work. I could feel some emotion rising in me, and got out the words “I just want to”… before I burst into tears. It took a little work on my part to settle myself and get over my embarrassment at bawling in front of a complete stranger enough to finish my sentence with “see my daughter.”

For the past few days, I’ve been trying to figure out how to write about the trip and convey the beauty I saw there. The people, the landscape, the animals. All of it. But I’ve decided I haven’t processed the trip enough yet to share with you all that it meant to me.

So instead of writing about it, I’ve decided to share a couple of my favorite pictures that I took on safari. And I’ll say that my use of ‘once in a lifetime’ was incorrect… I’m already thinking about another visit there.

Giraffes at sunrise.

The safari guide told me that these two cubs are inseparable.

Elephants found a little mud at the bottom of a hole. While not in a full water crisis like Cape Town currently is, the area where we went on safari is definitely suffering from lack of rain.

Lion cubs enjoying the last sunlight of the day.

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