I am very excited – I am trying to keep my excitement contained but it is very hard. In approximately 48 hours I will be winging my way over to Kenya. It will be my first time visiting this amazing country and I can’t wait. I know how irritating it can be watching the excitement build while you are sitting in the office, starting to plan Christmas and the nights are drawing in – hence trying to contain my excitement.
I am quietly bouncing up and down inside with visions of giraffes and lions floating around in my head. I have no concept of what to expect in reality and it brings back the joy of travelling. We have become such proficient travellers now, that it is important to remember the joy of discovering new things, new cultures and new people. The last place I went to which was new to me was India a couple of years ago and what a culture-shock that was – I loved every minute of it! Then, I was a little bit sheltered because I went with family and stayed with family over there. This is slightly different because it is a work trip (I can hear you groaning in sympathy for my hard job!). We are lucky enough to be sampling safaris, bird watching, beaches and even staying in a tented camp for one of the nights. Suddenly the cute giraffes and lions in my head take on a sinister turn – surely a lion wouldn’t have too much trouble getting into a tent???!
I hope to be able to keep you posted on my return (if the lions don’t get me!).
I mentioned my notebook earlier, and I feel that I should describe it because it means so much to me. It has been part of my life since 1993 – it is A4, and has a red, hard-back cover. It doesn’t get written in every day – maybe a few times a year. The inside covers are stuck with photos of my life from school to university and there are some beautiful paintings which I have seen as well – some Giotto, some Tintoretto (both of whom, I fell in love with whilst living in Venice).
The book then becomes a litany of painful teenage poetry, quotations, and snippets of life – it’s just a way of coping I suppose. I have also tucked in some clippings of things that mean something to me. It’s just a big mish-mash of sellotape, glue, thoughts and memories, but I guarantee that everything in there has a memory attached, and for that reason it is priceless to me and no-one else. I hope everyone has a book full of memories like mine!
A belligerent samurai once challenged a Zen master to explain the concept of Heaven and Hell. But the monk replied with scorn, “You’re nothing but a lout – I can’t waste my time with the likes of you!”
His very honour attacked, the samurai flew into a rage and, pulling his sword from his scabbard, yelled, “I could kill you for your impertinence.”
“That is Hell,” the monk calmly replied.
Startled at seeing the truth in what the master pointed out about the fury that had him in its grip, the samurai calmed down sheathed his sword, and bowed, thanking the monk for his insight.
“And that,” said the monk, “is Heaven.”
How I wish we could all learn our lessons so easily! I tend to fester in my rage rather than it being over and done with so quickly. There’s a lot I could learn here….hmmm
…following on from this, I have just found another anger-related thought written in my note book, which seems appropriate right about now. Benjamin Franklin said, “Anger is never without a reason, but seldom a good one.” How true.
I have been very lucky in my travel life and not experienced too many delays, but recently I was lucky enough to experience a lovely 6 hour delay overnight in Bodrum and it was an eye-opener. There were a few things that I noticed…!
- Everyone must take up at least 2 seats – for cramped sleeping, for your luggage to rest on, or just to create a personal barrier that other people won’t invade.
- You must complain loudly about how awful your holiday has been and how awful the food is in foreign countries.
- Complain in a martyred voice about having to work in the morning.
- Tut and sigh a lot.
- If you’re not tutting and sighing, you’re laughing and pretending that you’re having a jolly good time.
- Stand in a queue for anything.
- Listen intently to all foreign announcement in whatever language, even if it is just about not smoking in the airport. Tut and sigh again.
- Strike up conversations with anyone and everyone and then spend the rest of the delay trying to avoid them.
I’m sure there are other things that people have observed – how about you? I’m sure it also varies depending on nationalities. Any feedback welcome!
Sunset over Yalikavak on the Bodrum Peninsula
Stephen Fry said when he was interviewed on Parkinson: “Humans are the only creatures who try to be what they are not – you will never see a bear trying to be a duck.”
What would happen in the world if bears did try to be ducks or if animals did imitate other animals? Why are humans never happy with who they are? And why are they so obsessed with stopping time, being eternally youthful and looking like the latest celeb hottie? Everything I watch at the moment on TV seems to have stunning, perfect model types leading immaculate lives. What happened to the slightly quirky looking actors and actresses with the flawed nose which made their face ever so much more interesting? There is a whole generation of people who think that everyone looks symmetrical – what a shock they are going to get when they get off their sofa and go outside! There is also now a generation who think that it is perfectly acceptable to surgically change what is not entirely perfect. I think the lines on your face and the slight imperfections tell a story about you and your experiences: laughter, happiness, worry, doubt and fear – these are all things that make us individual.
“He carries his English weather in his heart wherever he goes, and it becomes a cool spot in the desert, and a steady and a sane oracle amongst all the delirium of mankind.” (G. Santayana, The British Character)
Following my last post, I love this too – it makes me think of all the over-dressed British people roaming the world dressed in the style of Captain Hastings – tweed suits etc, whatever the temperature!
“No climate in the world is less propitous than the climate of England, yet with a recklessness which is almost sublime the English rush out of doors to eat a meal on every possible and impossible occasion.” (G. Battiscombe, English Picnics)
I think this beautifully sums up every bank holiday and wet summer’s day here in the UK!