Today we headed from Addo Elephant Park in the Eastern Cape and drove to Gansbaai, in the Western Cape. It is interesting to note that these areas are unique, as I imagine northern South Africa to be as well. On this trip we did not make it to the north, there just is not enough time in this gorgeous country!
When one takes a long drive, unless filled with a car of chatting people, it is a great reflection time. I always feel that travel, as well, evokes clear musings. Chad drove the entire time, and that gave me even more opportunity to think freely, as an explorer does-with nothing but the wide open road ahead. Upon summarizing these reflections, I have a few firm beliefs now instilled in me from this trip:

1. Life is short. Live well. I have the tendency to worry. I worry about things that are completely out of my control. It is a debilitating worry, that has rendered me sick on numerous occassions. I am realizing that anxiety and fears are seen as weakness in my culture and this creates even a bigger problem, for often times I have opened myself up fully to people around me about how I process the world {as a feeler of all things} and it does not do me justice. Life is too f☆☆☆ing short for a time and health waster/consumer such as worry and anxiety. It must stop. And, it stops now. Over our trip, when the young American woman was attacked by the lion, I had a slew of people email, write notes and do research to see if I was okay. Remembering this incident reminds me that life is short, and beautiful and should be lived well. My husband is a brilliant reminder, and advocate of this policy, so thankfully it will be easier to remind myself of this-with him around. Live well, dear reader, for it is your life, and as far as I know, perhaps we just get this one opportunity. Love boldly. Laugh! Have fun! Endulge every now and then! Guilt and worry are a waste of time. There are promises of goodness all around us. I do believe in a God that brings good things forth…

2. Live the life you’ve imagined. Thoreau said this and I received it from a very creative student while I was student teaching. I feel that in The States, we have gotten very caught up in appearances and getting ahead {other places see this as well}. But truly, life should be full, beautiful and lived carefree. Especially those of us in the lucky state that most of us live in! We have everything! Driving through South Africa, many of townships truly are metal walls, metal roofs and mud floors. The people who live there often travel far away daily to work. Yet, we were met with smiles and ‘I am doing so excellent today, thank you!.’ Life is excellent-we are alive, we are able to take it in daily. What would happen if we truly did the following:

3. Live as if your on vacation. We saw many South Africans happy, smiling and taking the time to truly talk and listen to you. We saw work being performed and yet relationships were valued. I, for one, work hard…but rush around doing it-as if there is no time, too much work to do. When I look back on my life, the work I did does not compare to the people I was alongside.

The beautiful protea

4. Conserve. At Botlierskop Game Reserve, I was struck by the amount of thought that the original owner, Dr. Neethling had put into sustainability within the part. The owners and staff were well-informed and each one played a gigantic role in this effort. It reminded me of the community that I live in and how it important and valuable conserving what I have seen and been given for future generations. {Especially the animal life! It is easy to want get involved with wanting to protect and sustain animal life, especially when you stand among the rhino and the lion!}

5. Travel. Be adventurous! At this point, my family and friends have identified my need and desire for these two things. In fact, my mom is telling me to stop! 😉 However, I will not, and I blame her for teaching me the love of both travel and adventure. I learn more about life, myself and others travelling than I do anywhere else. I learn more IN GENERAL travelling. I also learn more and more about the limits {or lackbthereof} that I have as a human being…and pushing these limits only makes my soul fuller and happier. Do it. Do that thing that you have wanted to do. You will never regret it. It will be scary, frightening and perhaps dangerous…but do it anyway. The rewards will fill your soul and cause you to practically levitate!

freedom & joy {and a love for saltwater}

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