Part 1, Departure plan in place..Step by step process..Do we always have to be entertained? Yep!

Printing a boarding pass and tossing our stuff into our luggage to head out the door for the necessary three hours before takeoff, would be the norm in a perfect world. Traveling the world with everything we own is not perfect and, it isn’t quite that easy.

Others may say, “Oh, just do it! Throw it into the bags and just go already!” 

We get that mentality. We do. It’s not simply that both of us are organizers and planners to the point of obsession. It’s purely stress-avoidance, plain and simple.

One could quickly tire of this lifestyle if the stress was caused by one’s lack of desire or interest in planning ahead. Failure to plan ahead leaves too much to chance. Let’s face it, there are plenty of incidents that transpire that we couldn’t have predicted. We save our resources for those, as opposed to the prospect of dealing with issues we could easily have prevented. 

Luckily, we don’t experience stress in the planning process. We both thrive on it finding peace of mind and comfort as we fine-tune each step of the way.

Thus, we won’t be throwing stuff in our suitcases and hitting the road. And, although we’ve yet to pack, a lot of this preparatory work has already been started or is completed. 

Question for today:  How do we entertain ourselves during the long flights?  (More questions follow tomorrow in Part 2)

For us, a big part of the travel time is spent utilizing our technology to keep us entertained resulting in the time passing more quickly while traveling.

With a three and a half hour layover in Nairobi, Kenya after a short flight from Mombasa, Kenya, we knew we needed to plan Internet access and the battery life of our equipment carefully. 

With no space or desire to carry heavy books, we’ve used the Kindle app on our smartphones for reading (for which we don’t need Internet access once the ebook is downloaded at purchase). 

However, with many hours on the various planes on the trip to South Africa, with no power plugins for passengers in economy (we checked), we needed to plan which devices we’ll be using to occupy us during the many hours in the air and during the layovers. 

My newer (cracked screen) Android phone lasts for 7 hours of reading time. My old Android (on which I have the same books) is easier to read without the broken screen. The points where I left off on each book will sync when I go online on both phones simultaneously and select “sync”. But the old phone only lasts for 5 hours of reading time with less for Tom’s Android. 

The end result will be that Tom will run out of reading time during the layover, leaving no remaining power for reading on the plane while I’ll be able to switch to my other phone. 

As always, we have a backup plan in place. During the long layover in Nairobi, we’ll hopefully find a comfy spot to park ourselves, preferably away from the crowds, and use the MiFi’s (we each have one) and our laptops in order to be online. The MiFi charge, usually lasts for 4 hours.

Our computer batteries will last from three to four hours on each of our identical units. Plus, in checking details for the Nairobi airport, it appears that they have various digital equipment stations where one can plug into recharge. Of course, we’ll have our converters and adapters in our computer bags in case we’re able to recharge.

Hopefully, as we wait at the airport in Nairobi, I’ll be online and writing here describing the renovated state from the recent fire on August 7, 2013, and the activity around us. 

Assuming that all goes well and the flights all depart on time, we’ll have another four and a half hours in the air until we arrive in Johannesburg, South Africa. During this period, we’ll read the ebooks with, hopefully, neither of us running out of battery life. 

At the end of the four and a half hour flight, there is a 16-hour layover in Johannesburg. With no desire to wait for that extended period at the airport, we booked a nearby hotel offering a free shuttle back to the airport for one more flight the next morning to Kruger/Mpumalanga. At this point, all of our equipment will be charged which will be less of an issue on the remaining 45-minute flight.

Whew! Once we arrive at the airport in Mpumalanga, a pre-arranged driver will greet us to take us on the 97 km, 60 miles, 75-minute drive to our awaiting house in Marloth Park. At that point, to heck with our equipment.  We’ll be so busy looking out the window, taking photos when possible, and excited to get to our new home for the next three months, we’ll never give battery life a thought.

That is, not until we arrive

An extraordinary evening…Out of Africa, the movie, while living in Africa…

Watching this movie last night had a special meaning for us.

While living in Tuscany, Italy we watched the movie, “Under the Tuscan Sun,” becoming delighted scene after scene of the mention of familiar language, towns foods and customs.  Several years ago, having watched the movie On Demand, Tom read the newspaper in the background, while I drooled over its content.  He referred to it as a “chick flick.” 

Once we were living in Tuscany, we watched it together with a new meaning for both of us.  No longer was Tom grumbling about the “chick flick” factor.  Instead, he was pleasantly surprised by how much we related to its contents.

The replication of the house that Karen Blixen, a writer depicted in her true story, the basis
of the movie.

Isn’t that typical? Having an experience of our own we often find that we become entrenched in a similar experience presented by others; in a story told, a book or a movie.

Last night, this is exactly what transpired for us as we watched yet another timely movie, “Out of Africa,” while sitting in the dark in our outdoor living room munching on nuts, wearing our BugsAway clothing.

The household staff played substantial roles in the movie, as they do here in Kenya in our lives.

I won’t bore you with the romantic storyline of the movie.  Perhaps you too had seen the movie years ago after being released in 1985.  After considerable research this morning, we discovered that none of the film was actually filmed in Africa, although much of the scenery depicted included various parts of the bush, Ngong Hills, the Masai Mara and the Maasi people, all of which according to our experiences, were well represented.  Where the movie was filmed was of little concern to us.

What prompted us to watch the movie, more than anything, was when Anderson, our fabulous guide while on safari in the Masai Mara, pointed out an area that was filmed on site that actually appears in the movie.  And yes, last night, we recognized that very spot, reveling in its familiarity.

Although, when watching a movie we don’t dwell on, “Gee…where was this filmed?”  Instead, we focus of the realistic depiction of a place we may have visited at some point in our lives.  After all, it is a movie: A step outside of our own reality to engage in a compelling story that satisfies our minds and emotions, sufficiently taking us outside of our own lives for a short period of time.  Mission accomplished.

This is the veranda to the house that was built for filming the movie in England. It was only yesterday that Tom and I commented that we’ll have to stop calling “porches, decks and patios” a “veranda” after we’ll arrive in Hawaii, where of course, they’re referred to as the “lanai.”  It was only recently that Tom finally stopped saying “grazie” for thank you, when in fact, “asante” is most appropriate while in Kenya!

But, last night, as while in Tuscany, we found ourselves slapping each other’s knees time and again, in a sheer state of enjoyment as we watched the movie’s details unfold, so much of which has become familiar to us over these past three months living in Kenya, where the movie’s story line occurred.

Particularly, we embraced the representation of the wildlife, the Maasai people, the familiar words in the Swahili language, the traditions and the scenery bringing us back to the glorious safari in the Masai Mara, Kenya, an experience embedded into our hearts and minds forever.

Review of “Out of Africa” by now deceased reviewer Roger Ebert

Music from “Out Of Africa”

Meryl Streep and Robert Redford both played award winning roles in the movie which won the Academy Award that year for the best picture with Meryl winning best actress award.  Redford won as best actor in other awards granted to foreign films.

This link to the Youtube full video of Out of Africa can’t be played here in Africa in order for us to test it, as is the case when we try to connect to certain other websites as the servers detect that we’re in Africa or out of the US.  Please try this link if you’re interested in watching the movie. 

In the event this link doesn’t work for you, it can readily be watched on Netflix, Hulu and others and may also be offered for free from your cable company from Movies on Demand.  There are also numerous websites that offer the full movie at no cost, by using a search engine (such as Google), entering:  Out of Africa video.

As the movie was ending, the battery on my laptop indicated it was running out of juice. Quickly, we moved to the glass table, close to the only electric plugin (using our converter and adapter) in our outdoor living room, as we watched the ending. (No spoiler alert here).

This blurry photo (almost 30 years old) has significance after watching the movie.

Need I say, we loved every moment of this movie as it reminded us over and over as to why we came to Kenya.  As depicted by Meryl Streep in the film, “I had a farm in Africa,”  I was reminded of my own words notched into my memory for as long as I can remember, of “I had a dream of Africa” that now, has finally been realized. 

Never in our wildest dream did we ever believe we’d actually come to Africa.  We pinch ourselves almost daily, hardly believing this is our lives.

Three months from now, we’ll begin packing to head to Morocco.  There’s a movie we’ll be watching after we’ve been in Morocco for awhile, “Casablanca,” a movie we’ll surely watch again, with new eyes, new hearts and new minds.