A compilation of life changing memories…Triggered by a stunning documentary…

We took this photo of Mount Kilimanjaro from the window of our tiny plane on our way to the Masai Mara for a photo safari, one of many great experiences in our three years of world travel. 

With no TV and staying “home” on rainy days, it’s not always easy to entertain ourselves. Even with the number of books I consume each week from Kindle Unlimited at Amazon for USD $10, FJD $21.46, a month, the all-you-can-read, no-more-than-10-books-at-a-time program, I can only spend so many hours a day reading.

Not one to sit in one spot for hours on end, I find myself busy doing “this and that” when I’m not chopping, dicing, or cooking.  With no housecleaning or laundry to tackle, exterior windows to wash, or yard to maintain, the days we stay home can easily turn into a mindless blur of unimportant trivia. 

With the best of intentions yesterday, I never got around to working on the spreadsheet when more online research for our future foray to South America distracted me for hours. 

During those periods when our brains are deeply engaged in researching a location for which we’re very passionate, the time flies by. Before we knew it, 3:00 pm rolled around. 

We’d planned to watch a documentary we’d recently downloaded, Earth’s Natural Wonders at precisely 3:00 pm to take a break from the research to become entrenched in one more series that are literally mind blowing in their photography and content.

Most often, we watch David Attenborough’s phenomenal series about life and the mystery of our planet. With dozens more of his episodes downloaded, we stepped outside the box to check out this other documentary for which we’d recently downloaded two episodes.

In our old lives, we watched similar documentaries from time to time but, not with the fervor we do now. It was an episode of a Natural Geographic episode that eventually brought us to the Masai Mara and the Serengeti in Kenya to see the Great Migration, of which we only witnessed the tail end, off in our planning by a week. 

We were in awe of this herd of elephants on the road as we drove (self-drive) through Kruger National Park.  Seeing animals in the wild has truly changed our lives.

Instead, we spent the most exhilarating days of our lives on a photo safari, never for a moment regretting we hadn’t seen more of the Great Migration when nature’s bounty lies before us in the savanna, overlooking the flat topped acacia trees.

As if living in a dream, the Big Five was in our view and in our photos in the first 10 hours riding in the open vehicle with our dear friend and guide, Anderson with whom we’re still in touch yet today.

As we watched the documentary in high definition scanning the globe, our mouths were agape at how many of the locations and wildlife encounters we’ve had in our travels.

From seeing Mount Kilimanjaro from the scratched window of our tiny plane to the giant herd of elephants we encountered on a self drive through Kruger National Park to another larger herd walking by our open camp at night while having dinner in the bush, it all remains in our hearts forever.

The series showed the story of the giant California Condors from the egg to fledging the cliffs of the Grand Canyon, bringing to mind our months of taking photos of the growth of the Laysan Albatross in Kauai, an experience we’ll always treasure.

“Pinch me,” I said to Tom as the show ended, who was as equally entranced, “Did we really do all of this?”

He looked at me and smiled that same smile I recall from almost 25 years ago when we first met, “And just think, we’ve only just begun.”

After those few hours of searching (many more hours/days of research to come) for future explorations to Antarctica, the Amazon, the Pantanal, Machu Pichu, and more, watching the video further confirmed that this life we’re living is definitely for us. We long for more and more.

We have no regrets for the many years that came before our travels. Therein, lies almost a lifetime of experiences and memories. Leaving that life behind in itself elicits a memory, albeit it is painful in some parts, joyful in others. 

How did these two over 60’s individuals, living a relatively “average” life in Minnesota manage to break away from it all as if driven by some unknown force we mutually shared?

To go against everything we knew and loved, to face the dangers and challenges of life on the move, often to not-so-safe places, still baffles us. Was it in our DNA generations passed or was the wanderlust embedded in us based on our life experiences in our distant past? We may never know the answer.

From seeing the newly hatched albatross chicks from the parents sitting on the single egg to them almost ready to fledge by the time we left Kauai after a four-month stay, it was an extraordinary experience.

Perhaps, we’ll never need to know the “why” instead of focusing on the “how” and the “what” that we continue to find thrilling and exhilarating. 

As we quietly sit here in calm and relatively easy living on a beautiful tropical island, we know more is awaiting us down the road. After posting the photos of the house in Costa Rica yesterday, we also researched wildlife tours in that country of considerable wildlife and eco-diversity. Surely, we’ll explore while there.

For now, here in peaceful Vanua Levu, Fiji living in a quaint quiet village, with sounds from the rainforest, more than the sights, calling us to alertness many times each day, we easily languish knowing full well what lies ahead.

And most of all, recalling the wonders of these first three years bestowed upon us by good health and good fortune, we continue to feel grateful for every moment of our world travels including these quiet times.

If it all had to end now, we’ve experienced more than we ever dreamed possible, more than we ever expected from our lives, as individuals and as a couple. For this and more, we are grateful and above all…in awe.

Soon, we’re taking off with Ratnesh, returning with new and fun photos tomorrow! Please check back.

Photo from one year ago today, November 5, 2014:

We’d made dentist appointments in Maui for teeth cleaning. But, once we arrived, Tom felt uncomfortable with the less than professional setup for the dental office. After asking us to wait for an hour for our two pre-booked appointments, we decided it was an omen that we cancel and find another dentist down the road. For more details, please click here.

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