A Safari from home

For someone used to taking up to six weekend trips a year, being blessed to live within four hours of the Middle East, Europe, Africa, and Asia, the COVID-19 pandemic has been less than joyful. Travel has always been part of my life, but I’d never noticed just how much. I have found myself compensating in strange ways, like signing up to zoo cams from animal sanctuaries across the world, watching drone footage of random waterfalls, buying glossy paged publications featuring expensive travel reviews, and signing up for safari Instagram postings. I am in a state of “missing and wanting” not of the human kind it turns out, but of nature, freedom, the natural world, a sense of movement, and feeling the wind in my hair.  

Too many Zoom calls, too much time staring at my screen, too much time sitting on what is now a numb backside, I close my eyes to mitigate the burn and travel back to what was one of my most exhilarating trips. Chosen deliberately because I knew what it would bring, a solitary safari trip to Kenya taken during midweek, with literally, the plain to myself. 

I’d planned for the absence of tourists during the low brush season to see animals up close and without fuss: it delivered. These photos kept me going during the pandemic. 

Unapologetic morning sun brings a timid breeze and smells of dry, parched earth. The grass rustles an independent dance. A cheetah’s quick panting breath is revealed. My own heart rate quickens to match. Flies dance by. 

Majesty reveals a tick covered belly. His eyes are distracted by screeching, jostling birds avenging the scraps and remains of last night’s dinner.  

A roller bird lands and naughtiness awakens; the bird wins, its twitter gone in an instant. The freedom to observe and the absence of something to which I need to respond is delicious.

Might micro travel in the present, reminiscent travel of the past, and anticipative travel in the future comprise new forms of intervention that are (re)designed for a more sustainable and COVID-19 friendly life? Pull out the slide carousel and picture boxes; we’ve found a solution for sustainable happiness!

Louise Lambert

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