The past month has been a blur. Thought I'd get the next blog post out a week after my last one on July 22nd—silly me. A million balls in the air as I get last minute things for the trip, squeeze in another riding lesson—I did my first tiny cavaletti jump and STAYED ON ( party hat and confetti ) and am loving this new 2-point going fast thing once I got used to it.
This morning I was texting with my dear friend Jenni, ( check out her gorgeous horse photography here ), who has graciously agreed to join me on this trip, asking how she was doing with packing and final details before we leave on Tuesday. We've been planning this trip for nearly six months and I confessed I was a bit panicked and felt like I was throwing a giant dinner party but hadn't even started planning the menu let alone the grocery shopping. And that I needed more wine. Another friend reminded me that we never really feel ready for anything in life, which was exactly what I needed to hear today, as I was nearly hyperventilating how I was going to get everything done in the next 24 hours.
Last Minute To-Do List
Tomorrow I try to fit 44 lbs of gear for 12 days into a waterproof duffel bag ( I got this spiffy Patagonia duffel that should work well in the wooden canoes that they transport our gear to camp ), tidy up a few client projects, pay some bills, set up auto-reply on my emails, call the bank and phone company to let them know I'll be out of the country so they don't freeze my accounts thinking it's some sort of international heist, confirm someone will be fetching us from the airport when we arrive in Maun in Thursday, kiss the horses, goats, dog, kitties, and chickens good bye, and fall asleep grateful that I have a husband who has been so supportive of this trip, as I leave him to do all the work and take care of everything and everyone at Camp Dahms while I go off galavanting on this once in a lifetime adventure—fingers crossed nobody dies while I'm gone.
I've been fortunate to have the fabulous coordinator/marketing specialist/spirit guide at African Horse Safaris, Isabel Juby, taking care of all the flight arrangements, which is no small task and for which I'm immensely grateful. It's a long haul from Seattle across the globe. We fly non-stop from Seattle to Dubai, 26+ hours then six hour layover where we'll be taking advantage of the spa and private showers in the airport. Then a four-and-a-half hour flight from Dubai to Johannesburg, followed by a one and-a-half-hour flight on a small jumper plane from Johannesburg to Maun, for a total of 32-1/2 hrs in the air, arriving Thursday afternoon.
In Maun, we rest for 24 hours at a lovely little spot I found, called the Kraal Lodge, where they fetch us from the airport, take us back to the lodge where we have dinner and try to fend off the jet lag, before we meet our guides and the ponies the next afternoon for Day One.
A Different Hemisphere
One of the things that's going to be interesting, is this is the first time I've visited a different hemisphere, and as we are just beginning to feel the first signs of autumn here in the Pacific Northwest, the first signs of spring are happening in Botswana. Interestingly enough, the temperatures are almost comparable to what we've recently been experiencing the past month here on Vashon Island: highs in the 80's and lows in the mid 50's with virtually no chance of rain. This is a good thing especially since we will be without electricity so will be relying on solar panels and rechargers to keep our cameras and devices going.
Off The Grid
From the sounds of things, internet connectivity is spotty and we will likely be out of range a good part of the time, so you may not be hearing from me much once we take off on the actual ride on Friday, but I will try to post a bit during the flight and once in Maun, to let you know when we've arrived. A few bits of last minute advice from my doctor, who will be traveling to Kenya in a few weeks: boil it, peel it, cook it, or forget it as far as what to eat. Or not. Don't pet the dogs, unless they are pets in the lodges or stables, and perhaps the best bit of advice from my old friend author of the Road Kill Cookbook series, Brian Peterson, Keep in mind that Africa is not a large petting zoo. Wish us luck!
A huge THANK YOU to my generous sponsors who've made this trip possible:
Special Discount Code for LBTE Followers
And don't forget, African Horse Safaris is offering a $100 discount towards booking your own safari, just mention "LBTE$100Discount" when you contact Isabel. You only live once!
And again, Thanks to all YOU guys for voting for me back in February—I love the tribe we've created and getting to know so many of you from around the world.