Buckle Up

Greetings from 35,000 ft! How many times have I opened a journal entry with a line like that? Well, I’m at it again. This time, I’m flying home from a business trip. It was a good one. I learned, I taught. What else is there? I head home looking forward to my next adventure. There is always another adventure on the horizon and now is no exception. I’ve certainly had some rewarding time at home since returning from Patagonia. I’ve had a chance to write, work on some images, share my experiences, and recover. I’ve been doing great, but it is time to get ready for my next journey. This one will take me to two countries and one continent that I’ve never visited before…I’m going to Africa! And I’m very excited.

I’ve been discussing this trip with several friends who say they want to live vicariously through me. I’m fine with that, but it does add a layer of pressure to my already full agenda. I’ve been here before though, so I’m confident I won’t let them down. Let me know if you’d like me to add you to my list of vicarious travelers and you can come along, too! Just to be clear, my preference would be for everyone to live vicariously through themselves, but I’m glad to take anyone along who wants to come with me to Africa. Buckle up.

Here is a look at some of the things we can expect on this journey. First, we’ll fly from Atlanta to Johannesburg, South Africa. That is a 15 hour and 16 minute flight. Yikes. I hope you’re OK with the exit row aisle seat that I’ve selected for us. We should be able to stretch our legs, but our video monitor will be located on a retractable arm that folds into the side of our seat. It is a challenge to select the best seat for such a long flight, don’t you think? I hope we sit next to a diminutive passenger in the center seat!

Once we arrive in Johannesburg (airport code: JNB), we’ll spend the night and struggle with the change in time zones. JNB is six hours ahead of Knoxville. The next afternoon, we’ll board another flight to reach our final destination for this journey. We’re flying to Namibia. That’s right, Namibia! Finally, after years on my bucket list, Namibia will become a pin on my map. Yay! It’s about time, don’t you think? If it is new to you, google it to learn more about Namibia.

At this stage of our journey, we’ll hook up with the other members of our group. I have never met any of them, but I know from past experiences that they will be great. Of course we’ll also meet our trip leaders at this point – Marsel van Oosten and Daniella Sibbing. I’ve been on trips with them in the past and, based on that, I know you’ll love them. The trip will be super-well organized, visually extravagant, and tons of fun. We’ll get some great images, too! Massive red sand dunes, remarkable trees, ghost towns, and wildlife all await us. We’ll hike, walk, and fly to get the best vantage points. I think the thing that we’ll like best is the night sky. The stars will be magnificent! Of course, we’ll be south of the equator in the southern hemisphere. The latitude of Namibia is about 26 degrees south (by comparison, the latitude of Knoxville is about 36 degrees north). The Milky Way in the southern hemisphere is phenomenal, especially at this time of year. You’ll love it. Trust me!

OK, that’s enough of an introduction for now. I hope you are looking forward to your vicarious journey as much as I am to the real one!

Before we depart, I want to share just a couple more images from my recent adventure to Patagonia. I don’t know if I’ll be able to share more images before I (I mean we) leave for Africa, so this may be the last you hear from me in a while. I have many preparations and things to do in the next week if you are to enjoy your vicarious journey. Bon voyage! 

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