Every year, after months upon months of planning (sometimes longer), I take an awesome, month-long vacation; every year, I always have friends that ask me if I will be blogging about my trip; and, every year, I always say “no”. I have always assumed that people would be completely uninterested in hearing about my trips, so I have contented myself with posting highlights here and there as my status updates on Facebook. Well, in the interest of pushing my boundaries and trying new things, I have decided to finally blog about my vacation this year: two weeks of safari in Kenya and Tanzania, five days on the beach in Zanzibar, and a week-and-a-half backpacking in South Africa.
I know the exact date when I decided to take this trip: February 27, 2010. It was my second trip to one of my favorite events of the year: The New York Times Travel Show. I was checking out the exhibitors in the Africa section, flipping through safari brochures. I stopped when I reached a picture of the Ngorongoro Crater. A panoramic sweep of blue sky stretched down into a vast valley, carpeted in green. The image did more than just engrave itself in my memory–it reached into my chest, grabbed my wanderlust by the tail, and shook it fully awake. It was done. I HAD to go.
I spent the rest of the day talking to various trip operators and then spent the next few months doing a ridiculous amount of research. After many additional months of thinking and planning (what can I say? I’m somewhat fanatical about my travel), my trip finally crystallized. I would spend two weeks on safari in Tanzania (so I could experience the Ngorongoro Crater for myself) and Kenya (because I wanted to see the Maasai Mara), leaving me with two more weeks of vacation time. I had been itching to get to South Africa, so I figured, why not tack on some backpacking in Johannesburg and Cape Town? Getting closer.
Finally, I had been wavering back and forth between spending more time in South Africa, in Durban, or using that time to visit Zanzibar immediately after my safari. I shared my difficulty with a South African co-worker and asked for her advice. She rolled her eyes at me, laughed, and assured me that I was safe skipping Durban this time around in order to make it to Zanzibar. Great! I made the Zanzibar arrangements with G Adventures (formerly known as Gap Adventures), who are also handling my safari, and then booked my flights and, finally, my South Africa accommodations/lodgings. Done.
So. Here I am, frantically trying to make it out of my apartment, onto the subway, and over to JFK to catch my flight to Nairobi, via Dubai. Hopefully, things will go smoothly. Hopefully, you will like my blog (or, at least read it). Most important, hopefully, I will see you when I get back!