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November 20, 2017

Bucket List? Gulp– Going on Safari!

GALLERY-Cape-Town

We dream of going to unusual parts of the world… and then reality really hits home when it really happens. I am sitting at Atlanta airport on my way to Johannesburg for a wild animal safari in Kruger National Park with a Thanksgiving Boma Style dinner at Jock Safari Lodge. OMG OMG LOL .. how did I end up here?? I was supposed to be having turkey and stuffing with my almost 95-year-old father and seven other 90+ year olds! Life takes very unexpected and unplanned twists and turns that end up defining our “reinvigorated” future, if we are brave enough to let go of the “designed” future. They all said, “Go for It” while I can…they no longer can and would give anything to roll back time, especially my dad who has only seen the US and Western Europe. Do not put off until tomorrow something that can be done today…live in the moment. The moment may be all you have.

However, are bucket list trips always safe? Do we even think about this when we pick them? Does safety really exist anywhere in our new crazy world of terrorism? Four of my bucket list trips… China, Africa, United Arab Emirates and Egypt…would cause many people to pause. I survived and loved both China and United Arab Emirates, even though I felt the same trepidation when I was packing and boarding my planes. What was I thinking… Africa… with malaria, other mosquito borne diseases, tropical infectious diseases, wild animal encounters, very high violent crime rate, apartheid history… all things I do not have to worry about in the comforts of my cozy US home. Malaria pills, 100% Deet, mosquito/fly netting (used in the Australian Outback) and several vaccinations later I am ready to shoot some pictures and videos of rhinos, lions, leopards, buffalo, elephants and of course Singles Travel International guests……live, personal, up close, but not too close!

There is no turning back now . I am taxiing on Delta’s metal cigar with the doors closed and sealed for over 15 hours. Human intelligence has created the amazing capability of long haul, red eye flights… now our brains need to create a comfy coach seat (for those of us not lucky enough to afford first/business class) so my body can sleep without my neck kinking, my back aching and my ankles swelling. My heavy backpack (only one carry-on allowed) and my soft sided duffle bag weighing only 32 lbs (the lightest bag I have ever checked in recent memory) are both ready for the small charter flights taking us to/from Kruger National Park. My backpack contains more toiletries and clothes this time after two recent experiences with lost luggage…luckily my bags were delivered, while other guests never saw their bags until they returned home……carry-on supplies and travel insurance have become a must! An open jeep safari with dust, grime and mosquitoes means game warden type khaki pants and long sleeve shirts with hiking shoes, while the 4 to 5-star accommodations in the jungle, the Cape Winelands and along the Cape Town peninsula imply pure luxury I have probably never experienced. This tomboy who embraces active adventures yet also enjoys a “few” opportunities to put on some make-up and fancier clothes should be in seventh heaven. Rainbow Nation here I come… after hopefully some shut eye… so looking forward to the many wonders and mystery ahead of me. Pinch me when I wake up to confirm I have not been dreaming!

Submitted by Georgia ~ Singles Travel International Concierge

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