that time we went to Africa
So I’ve been a little M.I.A. recently but I think I have a pretty good reason… my family and I spent about 10 days in Tanzania through my 20th birthday (WOOHOO!) and Christmas.
My family of five travels all around the world together with another family of five and has been doing this annually for about 7 years. We aren’t related by blood but no one would suspect it. We are one big, obnoxious group of people when you put us all together… yes, we recognize this.
But, we also bring out the best in each other and have had 7 crazy years of learning about the world and what actually makes up a "family".
We’ve been ridiculously lucky as kids growing up in this family because not many kids can say they’ve been to over 10 countries across 4 continents. I admire that my family has always emphasized the value of experiences over material things.
Although I gotta say, I didn’t really think this trip to Africa would be a “me” kind of trip. Safaris? Animals? Wilderness? Eh, not totally my thing. But, like I learned from last year, I tried to go in with no expectations...
[Click here to read the article I wrote last year after our fifth family trip titled
This trip was incredible. It totally pushed me out of my comfort zone and I got to flex my photography skills with some pretty amazing subjects. Every single day we would go on “game drives” for up to 8 hours, just searching across Tanzania for animal sightings. That sounds incredibly boring but it was so worth it when you found something like a giraffe, an elephant, or an entire pride of lions chilling in a tree.
Here’s a quick rundown of what we did during my 10-day trip to Tanzania…
Drove about 1600 miles in total
Saw every animal in the Lion King
Camped in the middle of the Serengeti
Watched the Great Migration
Met and danced with indigenous Maasai
Almost got attacked by a buffalo
This is what I took away from the trip…
What has made me reflect the most is this concept of surviving vs. living. We got to see it in so many different capacities and it made me realize that I hadn’t really understood the distinction. With the animals, they don’t have a second to enjoy themselves, moreover they don’t have the capacity to do anything but survive. Then we go to a tribe in the middle of the Serengeti called the Maasai and it was shockingly similar.
Of course I am only reflecting on my own experiences and cannot try and speak on behalf of the people I met, but the constant priority seemed to be survival. How I’ve grown up, and most around me, is that my days are spent living. You don’t even realize that you’re fundamentally here to survive when the biggest choices you make are how to spend your free time. Nearly every choice an animal makes or one of the people I met makes has to do with sustaining their own life and the lives of the people they care about.
I’m not gonna get into that cliché take-away of “I just feel so grateful and lucky” because that’s not it. I just had the opportunity to observe other beings and how they live. It’s a totally different way of life from my own that was really interesting to experience. I mean, that’s why I love to travel and my family does as well…
When it’s so easy to only see your corner, you push yourself to see how the world works beyond it.
So anyways, hopefully you all are enjoying your holidays! I’m glad to be back.
Check out my extensive gallery of photos from the trip below!