Waking up this morning and looking for today to have a little something special to it!! Is it me, but does it seem as though breakfast in the United States versus most of the other places in the world I’ve been…is, ehhh…well, quite the bit different?? Most places I’ve traveled, well…if there is breakfast…it is a cup of coffee, a biscuit, medialuna, croissant, maybe an egg as such…the only place I’ve been where breakfast is loaded up is the United States, and I am not talking about the buffet at the hotel for the tourists,….if that is the case…well, that explains a lot! But, then again…there are variations…so, maybe it is just me… 🙂

We have a few plans today, so up and out with the sun-rise. I can be a simple person at times, I don’t require much entertainment. In fact, I’m still fascinated at being in this part of the world…experiencing it, seeing it, sensing it…even now…reflecting back on it…the environment…what it is like…what is life like for those living here…a few shots for you to consider as we pass along…

Whether in the dense housing townships or out in the sparsely populated…side of the road life…there is so much to learn about Africa. Even considering the geography. Often times Africa is mentioned as if it is one place. When, many countries, multiple cultures with variability, divergent histories, and, so much to learn that can be integrated…ahhh…to ponder…

Arriving at our destination – Kruger National Park!! Yes, we are going on a personal safari!! 🙂 First of all, let me show you the expanse. Huge wide open areas where you could spend all day driving. This isn’t a BBC or Netflix special, or the old school ‘Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom’. This is a certain reality! Which means, sometimes the animals don’t show up. The benefit of them not being in a zoo is that often times no one knows where they are. And as represented in the 3rd picture, because of the terrain and not being used to them – you can look right at them and not know they are present! 🙂

However, we are fortunate today in that a few showed up to add flavor to our trip. I’m not a professional photographer, no special lens, and as common sense would dictate…these pictures were taken from afar. The vision and experience were perfect though…but, here are a few pictures to share the experience…the elephants…you could feel their power even from the distance…

And, the Zebras. Came across several groups of those. As you could probably tell, much calmer than the elephants 🙂

Now for me, one of my favorites are the Water Buffalos. Maybe not as interesting for some. But, for me I love them. Admittedly, I am an addict to the animal shoes. And, I love how one can get brought down by a Lion or such…but, if they just hold on for a bit…the rest of the herd comes back. Shortly thereafter, you see the Lion running. They stick together, move as unit, they are a crew!! A lot of us could learn some powerful life lessons from a herd of Water Buffalo!!

Ahhh, the Hippos!! Quick Story!

My Mother: Look at the Hippos! Isn’t this nice! Why don’t you get out of the car so you can get closer and take a better picture?

Me: Ehhhh!!! Obviously, you don’t love me! Did we come all this way so you could have me killed. You do know that beyond perception, Hippos are the most dangerous animals in Africa and by far the #1 killer! I am not about to get out of the car to get closer 🙂 I am not trying to end up on the dumb-dumb channel as we see some people do!

My Mother: Guess you have a point!!

Me: Yes!! Guess I do!! 🙂

She meant it in a good way!! 🙂

Rolling through, a few others. A Wildebeest, Hyena chilling, some Antelope, what looked like a Kudu (tough meat – yes, we tried some later in the trip), there was a giraffe in the distance but way to far to catch on my phone.

There are special tours to see the apex predators, but, that would of taken more time and also is dependent upon probability. Nothing missed, this actually was a wonderful experience! Add in lunch looking out over the plains….ahhh….yes, that map keeps expanding 🙂

Feeling very fortunate to have had the experience…but, then also…the most important part was sharing it with family…isn’t that true for many things….individually we can experience so many things…but, isn’t that the sweetest part….the sharing….with loved ones…

Heading back towards our abode, we stop to enjoy a bite to eat….a picnic….as family/friends…at Debegeni Falls – Tzaneen… I am told it means place of the big pot – in reference to the pool of water you see at the bottom of the fall…

This is one of those places where you can just sit…and, breath in the air, the midst, the coolness, but also allow your mind and soul to breath in the moment…the experience…allow it to be a turning point…

Magoebaskloof Forest which you can see on the border, and extends lots of life – birds, monkeys, amongst others out into this area. As you sit and enjoy your lunch, there is always something watching and waiting for an opportunity to snatch a treat 🙂

Sharing a family moment, my mother with the white top, and my long time friend/family Trafton (sipho), and his mother Cordelia Kirk, right along with Renae Ilwae with the distinguished yellow top hat…friendships – in all walks of life – I am getting there….around the globe 🙂

This was just a small snapshot! I’ve learned much this trip, mostly for my personal reflection as I grow as a person and absorb more of the cultures of the world into my own life. I believe it was Thoreau that said, ‘wealth is the ability to fully experience life’, and of course now we have to define ‘fully experience’. That definition may be different for each of us – as it should be!! While I learn to get out of my own way, and to make sure others are not in my way as well when it comes to my own realizations…I’m getting closer…and in fact, these trips are making me wealthier 🙂

And, so a beautiful day…together…a beautiful trip…another one….what a composite being built. Although the sun is setting….over the horizon it continues to shine…igualmente, it continues to shine in me….we shall meet again soon. Destination already chosen…so excited to continue ❤

Amigos! Hasta Pronto!!

So, I am staying in the ‘Northern Territory’ in South Africa! BUT!! Did I mention that I am staying on a small farm in this area?? 🙂 Talk about updating the map of my life journey!! Obviously, you should be able to tell with an event and post such as this that I am looking for a specific thing! And with each step inside, I am finding it!

While there is an entire host of various animals on this small farm, it is primarily a chicken farm. When at times, there are baby chicks everywhere!! And, this includes being in the house in the room next door…I never knew how sensitive chicks and chickens were to their vicissitudes of life. Temperature and disease can whip out the entire flock of chickens. And the chicks require high levels of attention and care…thus, they are right next door…ahhh….the chirping…but, I am in South Africa…it is all good!! 🙂 This is a part of the daily view around the compound….

And, of course the Big Chicks…egg layers and those for the dinner table. Living in an area where I have plenty of room for chickens…and some of those in my neighborhood have some as well…I’ve had thoughts about raising chickens for quite some time. Getting away from the commercial style, full of fat and whatever else, and getting down to some good o’l home and natural raised yard bird!!

Well, one of the beautiful aspects of this experience is that I have come upon my own romanticized notions and am now fully aware of a few of them. In regards to chickens!! Beyond the day-to-day care, every morning they rise early to deal with chicken prep for sale. That would be the last picture in this set…neck rung, feathers plucked, and on the slab getting ready for sale….

Yup, that romanticized notion is over!! I’m strictly on the consumption in…not the prep. Of several lessons learned on this trip…one is that I am not interested in raising chickens…that is someone else’s gift! I greatly appreciate the raising and preparation…but, call me when it is time to cook or eat them 🙂 That’s it…next…. 🙂

The other major contingency on this farm – Sheep!! Interestingly, the chickens are basically a commercial item…they raise them, eat the, sell them…but, the sheep. Well, they are more like the ‘security team’ part of the crew!! The folks from ‘Charlotte’s Web’ would be ecstatic! 🙂

Quite the interesting place here…in addition to the sheep, the turkey’s, geese, and rabbits (not pictured) each had their own contingency 🙂 Why do I call them contingency…well, their survival is contingent 🙂 Okay…it is a farm you know… 🙂

Just a few pictures to share the environment. In actuality, being in this open space surrounded by the farm animals really added to the thoughtfulness about life I experienced then and feel now as I reflect and share. While being out here in the territory could be considered isolation, the fact is this place is teeming with life (also plenty of fresh oranges right off of the trees). And, of course…I have at least one of my personal security team members with me!

What a place to be. Where you must sit and deal with yourself, your thoughts, your life…amongst life! Not always easy to do, and not something everyone will do! However, this is one of those places for it!

As James Baldwin shares, ‘Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.’

Interestingly, the same thing I was facing then, I am facing now! The change isn’t always immediate, sometimes it takes time. And, that time is necessary! This is where I needed to be – Then and Now!!

What’s next!! 🙂

Maybe this is my interpretation of a hobbit series…in that it seems of late, I’ve had a few ‘unexpected journey’s’ 🙂 Although unexpected, it is special in its own way because I’m traveling with the behest of my mother. She just jumped up and said, “I want/need us to go to South Africa.” How many times do we look back on life and wish we would of been better children to our parents. Well, like many….not the perfect child! But, as it is said…’when I was a child I thought, spoke and reasoned as a child; but, now that I am a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me’…yes, I am a preachers kid. Soooo, gotta throw a verse in every-now-and-then 🙂

So, off to South Africa!! Now, this isn’t one of my usual trips that will be associated with a population center. Obviously going to South Africa, there is Cape Town/Coast, Johannesburg, Soweto, Robben Island, and others…basically, anything of course to do with the Sage ‘Nelson Mandela’. However, this trip is different! We are going to specifically see ‘Family’. 🙂

Sounding like a ‘Game of Thrones’ episode, we land in Johannesburg and with little delay, drive through Pretoria (love that name) and head to what is called ‘the Northern Territory’.

In particular we are in a province called Limpopo, definitely in a territory where the closest, I’ll say town, is called Polokwane! Now this area is about a hop, skip, and a jump from the borders with Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Botswana! And, the plan is to get in good family time, absorb some local culture, and reflect. So, I’ll post a few things, but mostly will just share a few experiences. This trip is more for me…and family – you get me!! 🙂

The Abode:

I love it!! Now, this is not specifically a place you come to be entertained. This is a place with solo and family time. An experience not characterized by a lot of personal delusions 🙂

There are exceptions; however, there is only so much of day-to-day culture that is going to be found in a motel/hotel room. So much to be said about opportunities to get on the other side of the world and immerse in daily life. In these places, time has a different dynamic.

As is critical in most situations, it is very important to be introduced to and become comfortable with the compound security team. With that said, meet the crew…

🙂 I believe there are about 12 of them standing post…considering the size of the place and the environment, make it happen!! Never-the-less, they were great companions and I do really love the feeling conveyed when through the look in their eyes you can tell that you have their full attention! 🙂

Like I said, this isn’t a dense population center. There isn’t a corner store or restaurant. There are things to do, but you have to know because you may not be able to see it….

Just so you can look around a bit…around the house…and the neighborhood. It has a feeling to it…some of it because of the consciousness of where you are…and other parts…that rise from allowing yourself to feel…

This gives you an idea of the characteristics of the location. For me, it doesn’t take long to develop a symbiosis with the environment. The rising sun, the weather was not hot/cold – perfect, the walks, the solitude, greetings from the security team…and the knowledge of where we are…and what that means. And, there is always something different that pops up from some place…

Walking the road, I see a few things that make me wonder! So I am familiar with the gun/dog combo to protect the home, but the snake? Thinking that also means something else! And, a cat crossing sign? Hmmmm….well, okay 🙂

It would of been quite easy to schedule a trip to the populated and most visited locations. Ahhh, to visit the sites of ‘Mandela’ and to look out over ‘The Cape’!! But, this is a different story. One of family, but also this region where Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique intersect with South Africa has a story as well (and, the Zulu Nation being not far away)!

While Africa is often romanticized in Black America, no issue there – often times we need a dream to get by, There are also some realities in Africa that get ignored. These realities remind me of Malcolm Gladwell’s book, ‘Sapiens’. Like it or not, there are some serious indicative parallels in that book about how people intersect that reflect realities throughout the world. Quite apparent here as well!! You will dig into it if you are interested!! 🙂

I’m no rookie to Africa, the big delusions departed from me long ago. So for now I will dig further into my own curiosities and explore….get into my purpose. As, I mentioned…it was not on my personal map to be in this part of the world. But, I heard a quote the other day that says,

“Life is a long journey with a map written by a fool…”…. if you have life experience, then you have played the fool before 🙂 so then that should resonate with you….update our maps continuously…. 🙂

Introspection in the ‘Northern Territory’!!!!