Update: Something happened to the first picture I posted on this entry, so I updated it with an actual photo that I took while on safari. This was one of my favorite moments when a cheetah killed a baby impala.
My second (and last) summer adventure begins this week. I’m going on a 13-day safari in Kenya! Tonight, I fly to London to spend a few days before flying to Nairobi on Friday. From there I’ll visit four different camps throughout Kenya. I’ve never been to London or Kenya and I am particularly excited about my first trip to the African continent. I apologize if this comes as a surprise to anyone. I’ve been getting a lot of flack from friends saying that I never mentioned this trip. This wasn’t intentional. I just think it was overshadowed by my spontaneous trip to Spain. This trip was actually planned a year ago and was supposed to be my big trip for the year. Well, life happens leading to infinite possibilities…and here I am having two amazing trips this summer.
I am not taking my computer and will not have Internet access to do real-time updates so I am posting my itinerary below. I will keep a written journal and will upload some posts upon my return. I am all about new experiences and this trip brings about even more “firsts” this year. Who would have thought turning 30 would be this good? Here are a few firsts:
- Kenya (anywhere in Africa)
- Hot air balloon ride
- Mt. Kilamanjaro
- Masai warriors
- …to be continued…
If I have done one thing this summer, I hope I have inspired someone to travel. To take that trip you’ve always wanted to take or to go see that statue you’ve always wanted to see or to go visit that relative you haven’t seen in a while. Travel is one of my loves and one avenue that fosters the most growth for me. I know traveling may not be that thing for you, but take some time to figure out what it is, and then do it! Life is too short to sit back and wait for happiness to come. We have to go out find it for ourselves!
In keeping with the theme of “choosing happiness” that I ended the Terezin post with, I thought I’d post this passage from another Paulo Coelho book. I lifted it from my friend’s Facebook page and have not read the book, but it has a powerful message as a stand alone passage.
“Every day, God gives us, as well as the sun, a moment when it is possible to change anything that is causing us unhappiness. The magic moment when a “yes” or a “no” can change our whole existence. Every day, we try to pretend that we do not see that moment, that it does not exist, that today is the same as yesterday and that tomorrow will be the same too. However, anyone who pays close attention to his day will discover the magic moment. It might be hidden in an instant that we put the key in the door in the morning, in the moment of silence after supper, in the thousand and one things that appear to us to be the same. This moment exists, a moment in which all the strength of the stars flows through us and allows us to perform miracles.” ~ BY THE RIVER PIEDRA I SAT DOWN AND WEPT by Paulo Coelho
“The secret of happiness is freedom. The secret of freedom is courage.”
It’s our second day in Prague and today we decided to venture off the beat and path to visit Terezin, a concentration camp during the Holocaust. Up until now, this trip has been very relaxing and easy going. This day trip was a sobering reflection of how quickly lives can be taken at the hands of one person. We rented a car and drove 45 minutes to Terezin. Upon arriving, I felt a dark energy from this town. Maybe I made it up in my head, but there was something different. First, we toured the concentration camp where 100,000+ Jews where housed. Terezin was an internment camp where most Jews were held before being sent to extermination camps to die. Despite this, many people died at Terezin from disease. The camp and its conditions were surreal and it pretty much what’d you expect if you could imagine what a concentration camp would look like. The crazy thing about Terezin is that the Red Cross visited the camp and were convinced that this was “spa” with a barbershop and other “amenities”. Don’t ask… The experience was heavy for me and it’s difficult to express everything in words. After the tour of the concentration camp, we went to the crematorium, where the bodies were cremated, saw the graves of many who died, and then went to the Terezin ghetto museum.
This trip definitely put things in perspective and led me to think about a theme that me and my travel buddy, J had a debate about when she first arrived. The debate was about happiness being a choice. I was reading a magazine with a quote about happiness being a choice, to which J responded, “I don’t agree with that!”. By day three, J changed her initial opinion and agreed with me, and started using small situations as examples of how to “choose” happiness. So I thought about this in the context of the concentration camp. It’s easy for me to say happiness is a choice because my life is pretty good in the grand scheme of things, but if I were in the shoes of the victims of the Holocaust, would it be as easy for me to choose happiness? Does “choosing happiness” mean adopting a sense of complacency? If you’re fighting for your life, does happiness even fit into the equation. So after giving J a hard time for her response, I think I have changed my point of view. Happiness is a choice, but only when basic freedoms are in place.