Saturday, August 23, 2014

Remembering my Africa moment on top of Sigiriya mountain in Sri Lanka, and my first visit to the Sabi Sabi Game Reserve


On the way over to Tokyo from Copenhagen last weekend, I was flipping through the inflight entertainment magazine to see if there was an interesting movie to watch.

It just so happened that the movie Out of Africa, starring Merryl Streep and Robert Redford, was showing.

This happens to be one of my all-time favorite movies, and I've seen it at least five times.

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THINKING ABOUT SOUTH AFRICA

For some reason, it was very apt for the flight.

Perhaps because I'm in the middle of planning a Travelife to Cape Town in February 2015, I was thinking about my very first trip to South Africa, and where we'd been and what we'd done.

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TRAVELIFE WITH US

SOUTH AFRICA


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AT SABI SABI
AND STRAIGHT OUT OF AFRICA

Out of Africa -- a story of a forever restless adventurer and truly a story of a never-ending Travelife -- sort of reminded me of this even more.

You see, we'd stayed at the Selati Lodge of the Sabi Sabi Game Reserve -- chosen as best safari experience for 2013, by the way -- and my suite and the whole set-up of Selati Lodge was straight out of the "Out of Africa" movie.



WHEN IT COMES, YOU'LL KNOW IT

Then I remembered how I'd finally decided to visit Africa -- or what I like to call my Africa moment.

I guess many travelers have that sort of a moment in their lives -- a significant couple of valuable minutes wherein they cross a thresshold of comfort, take on an experience of a lifetime, and never look back again.

IN SRI LANKA, LIVING A TRAVELIFE


My Africa moment occurred while on a trip to Sri Lanka.

I was climbing Sigiriya, heading slowly up the mountain by myself in the late afternoon.

The others had gone ahead but I was walking up at leisure and enjoying the scenery on the way up without having to worry about keeping pace with anyone else.

TWO STAGES TO A CLIMB
UP SIGIRIYA



The climb occurs in two stages: first you have to get to the Lion's Paw section, which is already a climb in itself in the heat.

And then from there it's the second leg, which is a steady and breathless climb up some pretty steep steps.



Just before the Lion's Paw section, I'd paused at a landing that sort of jutted out into nowhere.

This was high enough to see everything on the horizon but at the same time it was still low enough to appreciate the beauty of the land so that it was not just a blur of watercolor shades but real clumps of greenery.

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What an amazing view this was.

There were almost no manmade structures visible anywhere, and there were no mountains either. Just forests and plains as far as the eye could see.



OUT OF AFRICA

I said to myself: "This must be what Africa is like. This feeling of being in the middle of as nowhere as I could possibly imagine."

And, on that landing on a very hot Sri Lankan afternoon, with the sun setting on the horizon, was exactly when I decided that I would finally go to Africa.



THE FALL-BACK TO
A TRIP TO PERU

Although there's another more pragmatic side to the story as well, of course.

The Travel Companion and I were thinking about where to go for a trip somewhere in the world, and we'd decided to pick a place neither of us had ever been.

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TRAVELIFE WITH US

MOROCCO



This is more difficult than it looks, as we've both been to so many places. 

But we'd actually settled fairly quickly on South America and were thinking of going to Peru, until it dawned on us just how far and how long it would take to get there.

SOUTH AFRICA'S EXACTLY HAFWAY



We'd been looking at a map of the world and trying to figure out how to get to Peru, and I'd said: "My goodness. We'd have to stop in South Africa and that's still exactly only halfway."

I can't remember who proposed it now, but I'm sure one of us said: "Why don't we just go to South Africa then?"


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It didn't take much for us to change our trip to South Africa instead after that.

And then everything else fell into place, the way most things usually do, in a never-ending, and never-endingly eventful Travelife.




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