It’s been a week since we shopped and as much as we preferred to wait until next Monday with the roads so bad, we needed a few vital ingredients. Instead of driving to Komatipoort in the rain, we decided to stop at one of the two local markets for the items we needed now including eggs, cheese, tea bags, and sparkling water.
As has been the case every night over the past many weeks, it rained all night long and is pouring now as I write this, only minutes after our return from the trip to the local market. Our garden is still muddy but it rained so hard, the uneven clumps of mud have smoothed out, creating a better base for the wildlife.
Yesterday, while peering out the kitchen window to the end of our long driveway, for the first time, we saw the ostrich family walking past, and an hour later, four or five giraffes, There was no way we could have put on our shoes and made it down the muddy driveway in time for photos. Nor could we have driven the car down there in time, scaring them off in the process.
Regardless of what some naysayers may acknowledge about Marloth Park’s wildlife being tame, they are ill-advised. Although an animal may tentatively engage with a human in the park, they are still wild and when we are not there to feed them, they care for themselves, foraging for food, shelter, and comfort in this wild bush environment.
The fear that many homeowners and park enthusiasts like us possess, is that, eventually, all the empty stands (lots) will be built upon, leaving less wildlife area for the animals to freely forage and live in the true wild. That could transpire in the next 10 to 20 years or even sooner.
The reality for us is that most likely in the years to come, should we be fortunate to live long lives, we may not be able to return to the park for the enjoyment we are deriving at this period in time. Only the unknown future will present such options as time goes by.
No one knows, once they reach 80 years old or older, (or any age for that matter) what the future holds. We can only hope to maintain a level of fitness, health, and well-being that will allow us to continue to travel as far out as seven years from now when I reach 80. Gosh, I have a hard time digesting this reality when in a mere five days, on February 20th, I’ll reach my 73rd birthday.
That in itself is mind-boggling. It was only yesterday that I was 30 years old, or even 43 years old when I met Tom in 1991. In June, we’ll have been together for 30 years. In itself, that’s hard to wrap our brains around. The past 30 years seem to have flown by. But, regardless of how much time any of us may have left on this earth, we still strive to make each day meaningful and worthwhile.
I know, it may seem easy for us to say about living enriched lives when all we do is continue to travel and to immerse ourselves in our immediate surroundings. But, even in that hotel room for 10 months in Mumbai, India, we had many moments of meaning and purpose. And, of course, even our old lives were rich in experiences, love, and purpose from which we derived great joy.
Why did we choose to change it? And, why don’t we return to that life?
We chose to travel the world for two simple reasons: that we could and that we wanted to. We could step outside the box of the “expected” lifestyle for most seniors to embrace a lifestyle so far removed from our familiar reality, with adventure, excitement and challenge, all the while sharing the story with readers throughout the world.
The second question, “Why don’t we return to that life?” We don’t want to return to the hustle and bustle of a busy life in the US, the traffic, the cold weather and snow, the negativity in the news, the constant pressure of having to live a life commensurate with what is “expected of us.” This way, we live life on our terms, all the while sharing our story, exciting or mundane, with all of you.
If and when we return to that life, based on who we know we are, we will make the best of it and once again find joy, love, and purpose in whatever may come our way. The difficult part would be continuing to be able to write here, with content that would appeal to our worldwide readers. That, dear friends, will always be the dilemma. I don’t want this part to end.
Photo from one year ago today, February 15, 2020:
This giant 108-feet-high idol of Hanuman was unveiled at Jakhoo Hanuman temple in Shimla on November 4, 2010. For more, please click here.