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?

Instilling the Volunteer Mindset in Your Kids

It’s never too early and there are many different ways. But, for college students interested in learning about international, sustainable development and maybe contemplating a future in that area, Semester at Sea (SAS) is something to consider. It’s learning in the field (several different countries) as well as in a classroom (onboard a ship, of course). SAS added a short-term voyage next May that has a curriculum based on the U.N. Millennium Development Goals. It’s open to college students around the world and any major. It’s not exactly cheap, but I’d say it’s economical for everything you get.

Check out the video.

Many years ago, I went on SAS, so I’m partial to the program. But, I can tell you that when they say it’s a life-altering experience, they mean it. Oh…and for teachers…if you apply to teach on a Semester at Sea voyage, I believe your family can go, too. (Specifics of that, I leave to you). But watching the kids interact in the countries and on the ship is amazing and worth several separate posts.