A Mucky But Fun Road

Feelin’ a little nostalgic today. Vacation’s not happening this year, so, to combat feeling sorry for myself, I got out some photo albums to remember all the places I’ve been blessed to visit. I once had the opportunity to go on safari at the Masai Mara game reserve in Kenya. Some of the most fun I’ve ever had.

Travel plans don’t always go smoothly though. Can anyone else attest to that? Certain hiccups can end up being the best part though—or at least add such depth of experience or hilarity that you wouldn’t take them back, even if you could.

The Masai Mara received a lot of rain prior to our arrival. But that didn’t stop our intrepid driver from venturing off-road for us because the animals don’t exactly lounge conveniently beside them. So off you trek, bumping along through the tall grass, searching for the big game. And what happens? You run into unseen patches of water and wham! You get stuck.  Many times we had to get out and push. It just added to the experience as far as I was concerned. But one time, my entire boot disappeared into the mud and remained squishy for the rest of the day. My friend must have cackled for a full five minutes. (Was pretty funny, I’ll give her that. But she wasn’t much help in pushing the truck). On another occasion, the close proximity of lions served as serious motivation to get the truck moving again. Looking nervously over my shoulder, I realized we were lucky, they had a fresh water buffalo kill and paid us little mind. But let me tell you, that extra adrenaline had us moving that safari truck pretty quick!

When our wonderful days on safari ended, (there’s lots more to tell from those days, but that’s another post) our driver set out to take us back to Nairobi. We left at dawn. The journey back was an adventure in itself.

At one point, we skidded in the mud, right into a tree. It broke the windshield—the person riding shotgun, half-asleep from the departure at dawn, suddenly very much awake. To keep the glass shards from falling inside the vehicle, our driver took a sticker off the side of the van and plastered it over the cracked center. It worked. Over all the rough roads, it held together.

Think I’d change any of this? Nope.

What experiences have you had while traveling that seemed a problem or inconvenience, but have wound up being some of your fondest memories?

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41 comments on “A Mucky But Fun Road

  1. Love the pictures, especially the giraffe looking back at the camera…wonder what he was thinking?

    When I traveled to Mbita on a missions trip, we had some scary/funny road stories. In the US, I would have been crazy nervous in the same driving conditions, I had complete faith in our driver. He was a local and seemed to know exactly what he was doing. However, we did have three flat tires on that 8 hour trek (on non-paved roads). We also had a mishap with a person on a bicycle and ended up detouring at a local police station.
    All in all, the trip was well worth it, because we got to spend the next week with the great teachers and kids at Christ’s Gift Academy: http://www.christsgiftacademykenya.org/

    • The giraffes, could they have lined up any more perfectly?

      Okay, I’m interested to know about the “mishap” with the person on the bike. A friend of mine who was doing some work in Haiti many years ago, once ran over a guy’s foot with her car.

    • Thanks Meg. And I’m really enjoying your blog. Love the “doors in Italy” photos. For some reason, I especially love pictures and paintings of gates, doors and paths that disappear around a bend. Not sure what that says about me.

  2. Wow. I can’t imagine being able to experience these things in this life. What great pics! Thanks for sharing them, Marney. I could look at them over and over again. 🙂

    • Hey Shelley, I was going through my photo album…the pages all yellow now. And I’m like, “hey, these are some good shots.” I’m actually surprised I took them! It truly was a blessing to go to Africa.

      Never know, you might get to go at some point, too. Don’t rule it out.

  3. Several years ago, I was traveling through Scotland with my wife and her parents. After a few days in Edinburgh, we rented a car and drove through the country as we were led. One day, we were just about to pass through a small village called Atholl when we got two flat tires at the same time. My wife and I walked about a mile to a farm house and were able to call for help. We got the car fixed but were “forced” to stay in one of the neatest towns we visited on that trip–we were originally planning on just passing through and would have missed the incredible people and history of this beautiful village. Thank goodness for those flat tires…

  4. Great pics and story. I grew up in Kenya so know how beautiful and inspirational that country is. I have written a fiction short story available at Smashwords.com called ‘Beyond Skies and Plains’ which is set in Kenya.

  5. Looks like quite an adventure! (No vacation here either this summer, so I appreciate the vicarious travel moment!) Travel complications are frustrating in the moment, but they sure make great stories for years to come. Like the time we missed our flight connection and ended up taking a $400 cab ride… Never mind – I’ll save that for a blog post some day!

  6. Those are some fab pictures, Marney! Love the hippos in the water and the lounging cheetah.

    My whole 6 years on the mission field was one of those not-what-I-thought-I-signed-up-for experiences after another. Our unspiritual motto (we had a better, spiritual one) was “If it’s not one thing, it’s seven.” Anyway, I’d never have become who I am without traveling down those roads.

    My favorite (at the moment):Grilling shishkabobs under an umbrella in the pouring rain with our kids playing in the river beside us. That was in Lithuania. Giving birth in Poland wasn’t delightful, but I wouldn’t trade it either.

    Thanks for sharing. You inspire me to get back to my blogging! (Yikes. Where have I been?)

    • Wow, Bethany. I need to pick your brain, girl. You clearly have some incredible stories! Love the imagery of y’all grilling under an umbrella in the rain. All in the attitude, right? Would love to hear more about your experiences in Lithuania and Poland.

  7. Whoa, I’m commenting late, but what beautiful photos! And what experiences!

    I studied in London in college–one of the best experiences ever! Well, one night we were heading to a friend’s house in one of London’s outer zones. But a friend led us onto the wrong train (and he was even a Brit) and we ended up going almost all the way to Brighton before realizing it. We ended up ditching the train in who-knows-where…climbing a fence…wandering…eventually ending up where we needed to be. But I just remember the fun of being lost, the little tidbits of fear at being in the dark in a strange place, the warm welcome and laughter when we finally ended up at the right house. It’s a silly little thing, but I remember feeling so free that night. 🙂

    • Melissa, I totally know the feeling you are talking about. Light adrenaline kick…and relief when you finally get where you intended. You appreciate it so much more than if all had gone smoothly in the first place. And you’re right; that seat-of-the-pants, spontaneity–that feeling of having no choice but to live in the moment and figure things out–is enlivening.

    • Hey Sarah, so glad you stopped by! I really enjoy your blog. I met one of your buddies at the Blue Ridge conference…Pepper. Love her.

      So, what’s top on your travel wish list?

    • Catherine, thanks for giving me a chuckle. Glad you stopped by. From all the different academic areas you’ve studied, I’m betting you could’ve told our guide a thing or two about the flora and fauna.

  8. hi marney, this looks so fun. the closest i’ve been to a safari trip was when i visited the cologne zoo. the elephants were also out in the open they were really far. i wonder how close you guys were

    • We were pretty close, but I also had a nice zoom lens that helped.

      Cologne is an interesting city. Didn’t get to see the zoo, but did manage to visit the cathedral. Someone was actually playing Bach’s Fugue on the massive organ while were there and it echoed through the entire place. Goosebumps.

  9. I’m in Kenya now, and I really want to visit Masai Mara. Unfortunately I do not have enough time to visit this time, but hopefully I will someday. Lovely photos.

  10. This is great! When I was setting up dates with the NGO I work with now, Rising Minds in Guatemala, I had to find myself something to do before I joined them to do the awesome work. For the lack of better ideas I decided to revise Spanish in a school in Xela, which resulted to be my first and absolutely great experience of traveling alone. Nothing’s a bummer, all the things can turn out amazingly if we only give them a chance. Great post!

  11. Hey Sherry, thanks for visiting. I know what you mean about South Africa. I’ve been lucky enough to visit there twice, (one in Capetown and once in Jo-burg) and so enjoyed it. I’ll definitely check out your friend’s blog. Thanks for the heads up.

    • Hey Catherine, it starts with awareness. Make people aware of what’s going on. If you feel called to do more, maybe check to see what organizations are doing something about it. Thanks for telling me about this.

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