Understanding and appreciating Tanzania

Tonight was the most unlikely time to be thinking about life and other serious things.

But in Manila, living a Travelife, there I was going home from a children’s Halloween party, listening to the radio and thinking about the last few weeks and the next few months.

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Not keen on trick or treating ourselves, some friends and I had brainstormed a very interesting project for next year over a delicious dinner of baked salmon and other goodies, including an irresistible sansrival.

This is very exciting, and even now, as I write this, my heart is skipping a beat thinking about it again.


Then, I found myself also thinking about my most recent trip, which involved two weeks of adventure and new experiences in Tanzania. 

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I had wonderful company — amusing and comfortable at the same time, as we generally like the same things, although there was one hotel on our trip that we had very different opinions about.

This certainly made for endless conversations over dinner.

But that was probably the only point of contention — that and the fact that he beat me at chess twice.


Otherwise, we have an eerie similarity of likes and dislikes, especially for two people who could not be more apart.

In fact, I was sufficiently confident of my knowledge of the Travel Companion’s preferences, that I actually pre-ordered a meal for both of us onboard Qatar Airways as he slept soundly beside.

We didn’t want dinner, but we certainly needed breakfast about eight hours later; and I was sure we both wanted a hodgepodge of everything from the dinner and breakfast choices, rather than the standard set meals of either.

So I got us the Arabic mezze from dinner to start, and the Arabic bean soup from breakfast to continue, and rooibos tea to down everything with.


Meanwhile, the Tanzania trip itself was generally all about happy and rather exciting days with no tomorrows.

This is probably most appropriate, as Tanzania is best savored in the present and not compared to the past or the future.

You must live in the moment to appreciate and understand it, with all its complexities and limitations.


In fact, I now understand that you must truly learn to savor only the moment, to appreciate the complexities and limitations of everything in life, from destinations to people.

This has generally always been my philosophy on life; but never was this more tested, in recent memory, than on this trip to Tanzania.

Tanzania is really the sixth world, rather than the third world or even the fourth world, and so I quickly realized it was unfair to compare it to any reality I had so far known.

There can be no comparisons, as these will either just be inaccurate or disappointing.


This trip took me out of my comfort zone, but not in an unpleasant way.

In fact, I feel I’m way more of a better person now, after Tanzania, because of the things I’d seen, the people I’d met, and the stuff I’d been able to get myself to do.

I understand more about the world, and also more about myself.

I’d also been to the ends of the earth — the last bastion of wilderness in Africa, as some had called it — and survived to tell tales about it, after all.

All about extraordinary Tanzania in the 
December 2013 – January 2014 issue of Travelife Magazine.

Read more about our Travelife to Tanzania, and the experience that went beyond simply seeing wildlife, in the December 2013 – January 2014 issue of Travelife Magazine, the leading travel and lifestyle publication.