Tuesday, January 5, 2010

January 5, 2010: Maria's First Entry Just Before Leaving

Photo taken at Keith Ratzburg's Wedding Just Before Departure

Some people have asked me why I am taking 8 months to travel by land to Africa.  My reason is simple and complex at the same time.  Tom started talking about this trip about 2 years ago and I thought that this would be too long for me to be without work.  I enjoy my profession as hard as it is sometimes.  I was not sure if I could be there for this trip part of the way.  I was excited because I knew that this was his dream and I felt sad that I could not join in the chance to travel through the east side of Africa.

For those who have never been to Africa it is a beautiful continent despite what you see in the news.  People are friendly and open to sharing what little they have with you.  It reminds me a lot of the hospitality that I have experienced on my travels to Latin America.  Anyway, back to Africa, I was lucky to participate in a Safari a few years ago and it was a humble experience.  I felt like a visitor in the animal kingdom and had a chance to experience the beauty of seeing animals in their natural habitat rather than in the zoo.  This was amazing since I had never done this.

Africa has been a continent that I had wanted to visit since I was 10 years old.  I have been lucky enough to have traveled to Egypt, the land of my dreams.  From there I have also traveled in Sudan and Kenya.  On this trip I hope to see most of the east side of Africa.  This trip was not going to be a possibility for me due to questions of money and of leaving my family for that long of a time.  The one thing that made me change my mind was a death.

An unexpected death can change the way you look at life.  I found out that a friend from the 8th grade passed away and started questioning my own mortality.  I think that one only lives in this world once and therefore should take advantage of life at it's fullest.  Therefore this made me realize that a trip like this would not come by in the near future.  I made the decision almost 7 months ago and gave that much notice at work as well.  I hope to realize the dream that my grandmother only started.

My mom's mom was a traveler at heart.  In a time where women did not travel alone, she went to Europe and the Middle East before passing on much too soon.  My mother says that I have that traveling spirit and I feel that my grandmother will be living with me all the experiences yet to come.  I am taking her on this journey.  I hope to share more of my thoughts and experiences with you as the trip starts to take shape.

One last thing about the trip...Go Brazil!!!!!!!!!

- Maria Perez