I am an emphatic person. I use the word “love” about a thousand times a day. I love burritos. I love sleeping in. I love a good parking spot. But, when it comes down to it, the things I love, and I mean really, truly love, I can count on my two hands. I love my family. I love my friends. I love Pip. (I wanted to put him first, but that wouldn’t be socially acceptable.) I love to travel. And I love Africa. The last one may seem odd, given the fact that I’ve only visited the continent once, but hear me out. I’ve had an interest in Africa for as long as I can remember. This started because of my love (see, there I go again) of animals. But when I went there, something happened. Four years ago, I went to South Africa. Those three weeks far exceeded my wildest expectations. I fell in love. The people, the animals, the culture, the land- even now, it’s difficult to articulate, so profound was my time there. No words seem important enough, worthy enough. But, I’m a writer, so allow me to try. I felt like I was at the place where life began. To be in the bush, on safari, to see life beginning and ending before your very eyes, the experience is visceral. I still tear up just thinking about it. That trip changed my life and there hasn’t been a day since leaving that I haven’t thought about going back. Next week, I fly to Kenya and I’m excited in a way that, well it’s like I’m returning home. And yes, my brain knows that I’ve never been to Kenya. But my heart feels something entirely different. It feels at peace. If these do not sound like rational thoughts, that’s because they’re not. They’re feelings. But, that’s what Africa is to me. It’s not some place that I can sum up in a tidy little blog post. It’s a feeling. A longing. And, if I’m not there, I can guarantee you that I’m dreaming of the next time I’ll be in Africa.
P.S. I hope you’ll join me on my visit to Kenya. I’ll be attending a conference, going on safari and volunteering at a refugee camp. I can’t promise that there will be many blog post while I’m away. But, I do promise to be posting on my Instagram (and InstaStories!) and Snapchat as much as my wifi will allow!
Photos by Michele LoBosco