Many, many years ago, in college, a group of classmates went on a group trip to Africa to see wildlife and go on safari. As a biology major, this was pretty much the penultimate experience of a lifetime. As they all took off excitedly for the airport, I sat in my dorm room and sulked because I was a typical college student, and as such, had no extra funds for gallivanting across the globe.
I grew up idolizing Jane Goodall and Dian Fossey, dreaming those typical romanticized dreams of the Out of Africa experience, and have been nursing a desire to go on a safari pretty much non-stop ever since. Other people’s bucket lists may have things like going to Lake Como or standing on top of the Eiffel Tower, but for me, this is and has always been top on my list of Things I Want To Do Before It’s All Over.
After thirty-somethingcoughcough- years of wishing, hinting, and gazing enthralled at the Nat Geo Channel, I finally get to go. It’s not a working trip (though with my luck I will probably end up treating something for something, and that’s fine by me). It is a vacation, and one I’ve been saving for and planning out in excruciating detail for about a year. I’ve been planning it my entire life, of course, but from an executable standpoint, one year. We are going to Tanzania, because that’s where the chimps live.
I’m going to Lake Tanganyika, to the Mahale Mountains just south of Gombe where Jane Goodall lived for so many years. You get to track chimps there. Despite my best attempts to convince my husband to also go fly camping in the middle of the Katavi Wilderness with an armed guard to watch for lions, he kind of didn’t really care for that portion of my suggested itinerary so we are finishing the trip with a more traditional safari in Tarangire Park where you view the large carnivores from the safety of a moving vehicle. (The Serengeti is also in Tanzania and would have been my first choice, but the timing is wrong for the big migration.)
I tell you all of this because, well, I’ll be blogging about it of course though I have a suspicion the wifi situation might be iffy out in the middle of Africa, and two, because we are leaving on September 23. Two days before the rescheduled Surf Dog a Thon. So I will tell you what I told Mike Arms when he asked me what could possibly be more important than surf dog, and the answer is, “NUMBER ONE ON MY BUCKET LIST AIEEEE I AM SO EXCITED I CAN’T EVEN TYPE PROPERLY!!!!” Which, by the way, he totally understood.