Three years ago I found myself rather unexpectedly on the opposite side of the globe. Last month I returned - with three generations of family in tow...
Long-time readers may recall my first safari adventure (and the accompanying uncertainty and anxiety). What I didn’t share at the time - because I didn't yet know - was that moments after my arrival I would understand without question that I needed to share this incredible experience with the most important people in my life.
The timing was tricky. I knew I needed to wait until my daughter was old enough to fully engage in and appreciate the adventure. But I didn't want to wait so long that my parents wouldn't be able to comfortably maneuver their way on and off of the game drive vehicle, mount and dismount horses, and weather 20 hours of flight. After consulting with the expert, I identified a date, made plans accordingly, and waited.
In the intervening years I envisioned the adventure many times. I reflected on my favorite memories and wondered how different members of my family would respond. On my first visit I had been a passive passenger - comfortable in the capable hands of my dear safari aficionado friend. I watched and listened in rapt fascination as a completely unfamiliar world unfolded before me. The animals were enigmas (I'm sorry - did you say pangolin?). The proximity breathtaking (You want me to walk TOWARD the cheetah?!). But around every corner was delight and discovery.
While one trip does not render one an expert, I assumed that on my repeat visit I would be in a position to help my family navigate their journey - sharing insights passed along to me. Instead, I found myself in listening and learning mode again - and my experience was made richer by the contributions of each member of our party.
Through the eyes of my artistic mother I was able to admire the subtleties of the shifting shades and shadows as clouds moved across the sky. From the perspective of my father, the former bricklayer, I was able to appreciate the intricacies of the stonework in the walls and paths surrounding our cottages and the natural beauty of rock patterns in the mountains. My daughter’s delight in the maneuvering of the meerkats was contagious. My husband, whose mind is often consumed by work, set an example of being so fully present that he was often the first to spot whichever species we were tracking for the day.
Beauty, respect, delight, and presence - all things I want more of in my life. All brought into clear view by those I love most.
Solo adventures afford unique growth opportunities and countless benefits. But sometimes, sharing a journey with a companion (or four) yields a far more rich experience. Whether an adventure halfway around the world or a road trip to your nearest neighboring town, consider the value of a shared adventure. Where can you go? And who can you bring with you? Consider the benefits of exploring together.