There is something about travelling in places foreign to the individual that fosters awareness. An unusual flower or a bird sound perhaps or colorations rarely seen before. Or the sheer awesomeness of huge waterfalls or a six foot termite mound. But there’s more.
The roar of a lion outside your cabin on stilts or a pair of hippos swushing onto the land as you slept or the warning that leaving your cabin at night without an armed escort is very dangerous indeed.
Or the malaria drugs you take each day along with reminders of what water, what fruit should not be eaten carelessly.
Being stopped at police checks, and sometimes asked to leave the vehicle and open all luggage; or sometimes just waiting to see if a bribe has the necessary effect to ease geopolitical tension.
While certainly some of this sounds like warnings of something inherent in cultural or climatic difference that may be factual, it also challenges definitions of life and of humanity and turns out to be more often expansive once one breathes through it.
And there is danger if you don’t stay in the here and now, consciously…but then there always was. Routine works mindlessly. Travel demands awareness. So it was in Africa, from the first breath to the last airport. My brother says: how you remember a trip is what matters in the long run. This was beyond description and quite wonderful.
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