Why An African Overland Tour?

Why An African Overland Tour?

When I was in kindergarten, my teacher sent us home with a homework assignment to “draw your perfect vacation”, and I was able to finish faster than any assignment we’d been given in the past. I ran to my room as soon as my parents unstrapped my car seat, and grabbed the crayons. For almost an hour I worked, scribbling furiously until I revealed to my Mom the masterpiece I had created. On the page sat a brown and green landscape with a crudely drawn lion and giraffe on one side, a bright yellow sun and a hauntingly accurate self-portrait of myself, holding a pair of binoculars with a huge smile on my face. I was flanked by what appears to be a small dog, but probably was a monkey. At the top, written across the cloudless sky was one word:

Safari.

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So Many Questions I Will Try To Answer

So Many Questions I Will Try To Answer

So we'll start with an apology. I jumped the gun and decided to begin telling my story the night before I quit my job, instead of beginning with some sort of trite story about our first flight from New York to London. Here is a hypothetical snippet of said hypothetical story:

"She was nervous. Not for the months to come, but simply for the minutes:  the takeoff of our first international flight was bumpy. There wasn't enough Xanax in her purse to keep her from yelping when one of the overhead compartments burst open, spilling our Tortuga backpacks into the aisle. As the bell tolled to alert us that we had reached our cruising altitude, the ride became smoother. She looked at me. I looked at her. We were off, and there were clear skies ahead."

I have to apologize for not giving you that moment (although we may get there in about six weeks), and for leaving you wondering what has been happening for seventeen days, so let me give you a synopsis. 

I quit. The discussions happened quickly and were relatively painless. The reactions were, and continue to be some amalgamation of the following questions and statements:  "What!? Where are you going? When are you leaving? Where are you going to stay? You're going to be gone for how long? Did you get your shots?  Holy shit, I am so jealous.  I wish I could do that!" So let's answer those questions one by one, for both the folks asking me constantly at work (I'm looking at you, Keisha James) and for the readers at home. 

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Why Are We Going?

Tomorrow I will quit my job. It will be terrifying, to say the least, and as someone who has been gainfully employed for almost the entirety of the last fifteen years, with the only gaps coming due to youthful indiscretions (Yes, I'm thinking of the time I got fired from On The Border for blowing off a Monday night shift in order to watch a Panthers game they would eventually go on to lose) of my past. I will be alerting my boss lady of my intentions exactly four days before my ten year anniversary at this very large hotel chain, and I am more than certain she will be unhappy. I am good at my job, and I am sure that I will be missed. But the show will go on, the hotel will not close, invoices will be paid and guests will be happy or sad depending on their mood and experience. I very well could have stayed, and most likely would be up for a promotion in the next few months, which I would gladly take and slowly work my way up the corporate ladder. My wife of a year would eventually get pregnant, and we would move from a studio to a one bedroom to a small ranch outside of Charlottesville or Denver or Asheville or wherever we would choose to go.  All of that would have been great, and I was excited about the windy and long road that my life was going to speed down, although at times it seemed as if I was creeping down it barely reaching the speed limit. Time flies when you're having fun, but I more think time flies when you're looking back. Time moves slow in the future, and runs roughshod in the past. I was excited about the future. And then I saw this book in the gift shop of The Met while waiting for my Mom to pick out a supremely overpriced canvas bag with the Mona Lisa on it (Why was she buying this in the first place? The Mona Lisa isn't even at the Met. Come on Mom.)

 

 Seems like a pretty innocuous cover, and a pretty innocent book. But it sparked questions in me. Why can't I visit those islands? How many islands are there I will never see? How many places I will never get to see, touch, hear, smell?  All of them? That doesn't seem fair.

Do not be confused, I've traveled before. I've seen London. I've seen France. I've seen your mother's underpants (Sorry, the jokes won't get any better, I promise). I've spent two weeks in El Salvador and three months in Israel. I've been in awe of Pompeii in Italy and taken aback by the beauty of The Columbia River Gorge  in Washington State. But it wasn't enough.  I'm greedy, and I'm lucky enough to have married an absolutely beautiful woman who shares both my spirit for wanderlust and my greed for life experiences. I returned home from The Met and promptly asked her if she would be interested in taking a year off from working and traveling the world.

She said yes.

So we started planning. How did we plan, you ask? It was easy. We bantered back and forth about the things in the world we wanted to see. Nothing was off limits. The Pyramids. Taj Mahal. Easter Island. Macchu Pichu. Madagascar. The Amalfi Coast. Stonehenge. No destination was too outlandish, and no idea was turned down. Eventually we started formulating a plan. South America, then Southeast Asia with a stop in Easter Island to break up the trip, then India and Africa before finishing with a few months in Europe. That was the original plan that we came up with over brunch at La Pulperia on the Upper East Side of New York City. We would leave after her brother's wedding in September, and be gone about a year, maybe more, maybe less if we ran out of money. That was the original plan.

Obviously, things have changed since that original plan. We are now leaving New York City March 1st instead of September 1st. We are going to Europe first and India last, with our brother Caleb's wedding wedged solidly in the middle of the journey.   We keep adding destinations and altering itineraries, which I will assume we will continue to do until we are done. Yesterday, we added Morocco and booted Spain (Seemed more off the beaten path). Tonight, we may add Sri Lanka and remove Mumbai. There are literally endless paths we can take and many islands we can see. But all paths will start tomorrow. Once I ask Brian from Human Resources to close his office door, we are officially going. You can follow us. 

And yes, the title of the blog is a Friends reference. Won't be the last, I promise.