I’ve really enjoyed reading everyones take on this months travel linkup theme about ‘love.’ There are so many things I could talk about here but I thought I’d share one of my most memorable travel experiences in the form of a short story…
( G if you’re reading – this isn’t one of those ‘loosely based on’ stories! 😉 )
Surpassing the need to scream ‘We found it!’ is probably one of the hardest things I’ve had to do. I had just spent the last hour trekking through the wild African bush, fast enough to keep up with the guide, not too fast to create too much disturbance. Ducking low hanging trees, looking behind to check our small group was still together and every so often being surprised by a lovely sharp acacia branch brushing swiftly across my arms. Wounds that I endured with pleasure as I eagerly carried on to reach this moment.
A parting of the grasses revealed a species on the brink of extinction, here in Matobo National Park, two of the worlds few remaining white rhinos stood before us. Standing still hoping not to startle them, holding back breaths so the only sounds were that of the surroundings. We all shared the same gaze, staring in awe of this magnificent creature happily grazing, blissfully unaware of their threatened existence.
Only a few minutes in and the sun started to fall behind the granite rocks, we knew our moment was over and we had to act fast to get back to the truck. Here in the midst of winter, as the sun set, the temperature too dropped almost in perfect harmony.
Our guide Andy piled us into the car, ‘closing up the jeep’ as the cold winds started. The five of us shuffled close for warmth as the final door shut and we were plunged into blackness.
Every road bump seemed rougher in the dark. All excited talk about the afternoon’s adventure started to fade, as we realised the ride home was starting to feel longer. What was going on? We shouted through to the front, trying to get some answers. No reply. We tried again, in unison. No reply. The journey didn’t seem to end and every minute that passed felt longer as we all sat in silence.
After what felt like an eternity, we came to an abrupt halt. Andy’s heavy footsteps were the only sounds once the roaring engine was silenced. ‘We’re here,’ he gushed excitedly as he threw open the door. Gingerly, we each climbed down one by one. There was nothing around. No lodgings. No people. No trees, nothing?
It was an endless plain of open space. We were the only beings here. Just us, the ground we stood on and the endless starry sky surrounding us.
They were the kind of stars you see in textbooks. Bursts of light illuminating the entire sky. Shooting stars streaking every so often, the constellations mapped out flawlessly.
Andy reappeared, with blankets and mugs of deliciously warm hot chocolate. He talked us through tales of the cosmos and astrology. It was the real life version of a beautiful, night-time dream.
That’s the thing I love most about Africa. Every time I think I have had the experience of a lifetime, there’s always an unexpected surprise waiting round the corner, ready to take what’s left of my breath away.
What is that you love? A place? A person? An experience?
Love, love is in the air…. *saxophone music begins to waft*
We want to know what you adore. It could be a love letter to your favourite city, a special someone, a flavour you can’t live without or well, anything. Feel free to let those creative passions flow…