I didn’t stumble upon India. I’m here by design. Perhaps it’s cliche and a touch eatpraylove-esque, but being in India and doing some yoga to ring in my fourth decade felt right.
During the biting Calgary winter of second grade, our family left Alberta’s foothills in the rear-view as we drove west to British Columbia. Weaving between the extraordinary Rocky Mountains along the Coquihalla Highway, I pressed my nose against the cold glass window for hours on end in wonder and amazement. I’m so small and inconsequential next to these sleeping giants, I thought.
Now, more than 20 years later, the enchanting pull of the natural world has intensified and become even more irresistible to me.
Perhaps it’s a deep curiosity to learn the stories the mountains tell, or maybe it’s a desire to feel closer to something tangible, part of something bigger than me, but when I’m in the presence of the mountains I connect with the raw pulse of my very existence.
Here’s the deal with Tanzania’s Ngorongoro Crater (other than it’s prohibitively hard to spell.) A dense population of the world’s coolest animals is trapped in a 14-km long sunken volcanic crater by the boundaries of said crater, oh and also by surrounding agriculture and mean people who kill the aforementioned coolest animals (because don’t fuck with my goats!)
After chasing a robust circuit around southern Ethiopia, Dad and I decided to change the pace and spend a week on the mystic isle of Zanzibar.
We got lucky, at least that’s how I see it. I’ve always been fascinated by wetland ecosystems and the first time I saw the Rift Valley lakes on a map I knew I had to explore them. Little did I know that Awassa, the lake shore city we stumbled upon and called home for the past week, was paradise.
The local bus dropped us off at the side of the dusty road in a small village called Dinsho, 400km southeast of Addis. The quiet mountain town, sitting at an impressive 3,500m above sea level, differed little from its neighboring communities with its lack of urban planning and newly established, highly unreliable, power supply.
For those of you who haven’t been fortunate enough to meet my Dad yet, you’ve been seriously missing out – he’s a treat. He’s also my traveling companion for the next month!
I’ve learned that it’s tricky packing for a trip when you don’t know how long you’re going for and where you’re actually going. One of my goals during my upcoming sojourn is to become more comfortable with ambiguity, although it’s not easy when you’re undeniably Type A and love structure and organization more than Sex and the City re-runs (ok, it’s close).
Here’s the skinny: a few months passed since my sister and I spoke last. Although I decided some sibling-related breathing-room was needed, I really missed her. When I picked up the phone this afternoon and dialed her number I got uncharacteristically nervous – accelerated heartbeat, the works. Her enthusiastic hello was comforting and my apprehension melted away.