The NYTtimes never fails me. Today, while surfing through the headlines, not finding much that interests me, I found a section I had not explored yet. Travel. My goal in life is to visit enough of the world to retire as a travel agent, sending people on the same tours I had experienced, giving them advice on the best markets, local music, beaches, wineries, people to get the best out of their break from life. And the place that has forever been at the top of my list is Africa, for multiple reasons that hit areas far outside the simple tourist targets. Of course, there isn’t one spot that will satisfy my explorative needs.
I want to go on a safari, stay in luxurious, locally decorated with natural, bare amenities tents set up in the middle of killer game territory, nomads land for miles over miles. I want to see animals in their natural habitant; I want to learn about life outside the zoo, life outside the ozone-destructing developed countries (catch-22 when you think about it). Zambia has yet to be hit with the tourist cameras and Hawaiian shirts, maintaining the chilling serenity of the open land. And then, as I read an article about penthouse safari stays in incredible houses, I imagine a private getaway with your other half, lounging on your hammock overlooking the African sunset, sipping champagne in the pool watching the backyard waterfall run, lying on your outdoor bed watching zebra roam through binoculars. You get the picture. Picture it in one of these suites: http://www.safarihouses.com/ I may want to be one with nature, and will probably only ever be able to afford those canvas tents and outhouses in the desert, but I am still a girl that would give her entire collection of Vanity Fair back issues to be glamorous in this exotic way.
I want to experience the culture. I am a cultural guru wannabe. And Africa has this mysterious, exotic, untouched by American commercialism feel that it is impossible not to imagine what life is like in those tradition soaked, rich community towns in Morocco, Kenya, Zimbabwe. The butterflies in my stomach get excited just thinking about the amount I could learn about life outside capitalists and money-run cultures like the US, Europe, Asia (and at least Europe and Asia can preserve parts of their history and traditions). As involved as I am in corporate America, I am no hypocrite, I just know there’s more out there and cannot wait to find it. A unique culture mix I’m learning about is on the island of Zanzibar, off the coast of Tanzania. Also known for being the last stop on Dr. Livingstone’s African exploration (A name near and dear to me). It is situated just close enough to Africa and the Middle East to have established its people as moderate-practicing Muslims while integrating African clans, creating an artful mix of music, color, and people. http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/10/travel/10zanzibar.html?ex=1172206800&en;=31925d5e864c2d99&ei;=5070
And (Angelina Jolie, Bono, and Oprah would be so proud) I want to help. Because I don’t want to see this patchwork culture covering Africa to fade due to poverty, disease, and political upheaval. I am eternally grateful for being in that 5% of the world with an education, good health, financial and emotional support, comfort. And the least I can do is help. I know I won’t change anything single-handedly, but I also know I won’t sit back and ignore what I hear in the media about the conditions over there. I not only want to experience their lives, but help them. http://www.i-to-i.com/destinations/ghana/
So maybe eventually I’ll have a trip under my belt to tell about.