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Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Joys of Travel

A Facebook friend posted this on my wall recently. I love the sentiment, and I am so very grateful that I have the means and the desire to travel the world.

Soon I will return to Africa for another safari, this time to Botswana. I also will spend a couple of days on both sides of Victoria Falls, visiting both the Zambian and Zimbabwean sides. And for next year, I'm looking into a safari to South Africa's Kruger National Park and Sabi Sands, possibly with a side trip to Rwanda for some gorilla tracking.

This year's winter getaway to a warm climate will take me to Peru, the first South American country I will visit. And I'm investigating a trip to India to photograph tigers in three national parks. So 2016 should shape up to be an exciting travel year.

One thing I enjoy is buying books by local authors when visiting far-away places. While in Jordan, for example, I bought a book from a New Zealand-born nurse who moved to Jordan after marrying a Bedouin. The book is titled, not surprisingly, Married to a Bedouin. Although the Bedouin husband died several years ago, his widow splits her time between both countries. Her book is a fascinating glimpse into a way of life that remained unchanged for thousands of years. I would love to visit Petra again after reading this book.

While in Cape Town last year, I bought a book by South African-born veterinarian Clay Wilson, who grew bored with his medical practice in Florida and decided to move to Botswana to work with wild animals. Reading this book provided a great introduction to the country, its wildlife and its problems.

International travel really opens my eyes to current events in other countries. When I hear about something happening in Jerusalem's Old Town, I am familiar with the location because I have been there. I follow stories about the terrorist attacks in Kenya with much more interest now, having been to Kenya, enjoyed the hospitality and friendliness of its people, and having stayed in touch with my Kenyan safari guide through Facebook. Likewise, I remain friends with one of my Turkish hiking guides and can get an unfiltered view of that country's political challenges from her.

My only regret is that I didn't start traveling earlier in my life, so I wouldn't feel compelled to cram so much into just a few years. At my age, I don't know how much longer I will be able to travel. But I became friends with several people in their 70s who continue to travel the world, one of them on her own. So I am hopeful that I still have many more years of exciting adventures ahead of me.

In the meantime, the open road continues to call!