An Experience Like No Other…
I’m often asked which one, of all my trips around the world, has been my favourite.
There have been a few! I’ve scratched the proverbial surface, travel wise, in my book but have been able to commit some of them to print, along with some of the adventures I’ve had. Visits to Bulgaria, Mexico, the USA and Australia where, if you read one of my earlier blogs, I learnt that most of the wildlife has a mission statement in place that means they want to do all they can do in their power to kill you…
…especially if you’re a ‘bloody Pom’.
Good times all, without exception. One of my favourites surrounds a Mr Fah. Now, to find out more about him, you’ll either have to buy my book or sit me down in a nice bar somewhere and ask me directly about him. Then you can buy my book.
One of THE highlights of my time travelling around the world has been, without doubt, my visit to Kenya.
Many people have, after visiting that great continent of Africa, spoken of how much they want to return. But it’s out of more than the sort of yearning you might have to revisit anywhere else in the world.
You know the sort of thing I mean. You may have visited Paris, Rome, Vienna or New York, all wonderful places. And ended up thinking, ‘…yep, I’d like to head back there one day’.
Africa is different. You feel drawn to going back straight away. Compelled. It’s something that you just have to do. One writer described the continent as feeling like ‘home’, even though he was as British as they come.
Maybe that’s because, historically, life on planet earth, human life as we know it, is reckoned to have started on what is now the greatest continent of them all. It’s why its often referred to as ‘the cradle of civilisation’, after all.
Where it all began? Spectacular and sublime. Africa. (Shutterstock)
Whilst I was in Kenya, the camp I was staying at was shared with people from the local Maasai tribe. They soon became a familiar sight, tall, graceful and ridiculously handsome to a man/woman, full of colour and always with a smile on their faces. They must have seen thousands of unfit and overweight tourists get flown in and out every week, all of us armed with a barrage of questions and cameras, eager to spend time with them.
But why wouldn’t you? They are, as I wrote in my book, magnificent company. Especially as guides when you go on safari.
They don’t just see the animals before anyone else does. They sense their presence. You might think you are looking out onto a dry and fairly featureless plain with nothing much to offer in terms of wildlife before, and making you jump in the process, one of the Maasai guides will sidle up next to you and whisper “Leopard!”
I couldn’t see one. But they had. They’d seen one, two, three…a huge group of them long before they’d become visible. Sunning themselves, lazy and yet alert at the same time, an enquiring eye scanning the visitors before its owner concluded they were harmless and drifted off to the land of nod once again.
Stunning. I left my jaw on the floor of our Land Rover and its probably still there.
After our trip into the park, one of the Maasai invited me into his home, an enormous honour for me which I was beyond touched to accept.
We all sat and chatted, his family and me as I looked over some of the things they’d made, not, as you might expect, to sell but to use as part of their every day life. Jewellery, a robe, some pots and dishes. All handcrafted, all unique and all beautiful.
Sunset came and, wholly content with my life, I shared it with them. No-one spoke much, we all just sat and enjoyed the view and each others company, smiles welded upon all of our faces. Just like the smile that is on mine now in memory of such a wonderful trip.
The beauty of it was how simple it all was. The power of being with people. Sharing their day to day lives and learning from them as I did.
Remarkable. I will go again.