Change your perspective on life.....
In 2014 I visited Africa for the first time, specifically Kenya where I had just under three weeks of traveling. Before I went, a couple of people said to me, “Africa will change you. You’ll feel different.” I really wondered about that concept of feeling different and being changed and wondered how a country could do that. But it is absolutely true! Africa does change you. You come back a different person. And you come back with a different appreciation of what really matters.
I remember visiting a Maasai village and on our way back from the village, I said to our guide, “Gee, It’s a tough life”. And his comment to me was, “Why do you say that?” And I said, “Well it seems very tough in terms of what they have and their living conditions.” Then he said, “But they have everything they need. They have everything they want. They have fresh water, they have food, they have a great sense of community and they’re happy. It’s an uncomplicated life.”
Those words very much resonated with me. Because when you think about our western life, it’s a very complicated existence. Everyday, there’s a lot of scurrying. There’s going to appointments, to and from work, and really just trying to fit everything into the working week and the weekend. It’s busy. And in fact it’s tough. It is interesting to look at the comparison between a Kenyan life and a western life like Australia. The level of complication is so different that it gives you a new appreciation of what it is to live. In the western culture, there’s so many things we seem to need: big screen TVs, laptops and all sorts of fancy stuff which really doesn’t enhance our lives.It's life's simple things that really enhance our lives.
Another thing that was so impactful to me was the wildlife. Importantly, the focus that is now on ensuring that the wildlife is preserved and populations restored. Many years of poaching and illegal gaming decimated populations of elephants, rhinos and other species that had been flourishing for years. I heard the word “conservancy” a lot when I traveled. Each of the teams that manage the different conservancies such as the rangers and local lodge management are completely focused on preservation. It’s fantastic to see there’s such attention to preserving the wildlife. It’s so incredible to go on a walking safari or a driving safari and just be up-close with wildlife like elephants, lions and rhino. It is such a contrast to your local zoo where you see one giraffe or a couple of elephants behind an electrified fence. In Africa, you just walk along and there is wildlife 50 feet away from you. It is just such an unbelievable experience!
Kenya and Africa does change you. It really opens up your mind and opens up your heart to seeing such an incredible part of the world. I’d encourage anybody even if they’ve got just the slightest inkling to thinking: “Should I add Africa to my bucket list?”. Make sure you do because it will change you and make you a better person.
Until next time. Travel slow, enjoy the ride. Ken