One of the first things I booked and planned when I decided to spend my summer in the US was a bus and adventure travel tour. The route would take me down from San Francisco along the rugged coastline of the Big Sur, back to Los Angeles. I’d then spend some time in Joshua Tree National park, Las Vegas, and Zion National park before heading back to San Francisco.
It was a week of long bus rides, new friends, camping, dirty hair and exhausting but exhilarating hikes.
I was never and probably will never be a huge fan of camping but I enjoy it every once in a while. I feel better after having been uncomfortable and dirty for a couple of days. It makes me appreciate what I have more, learn how to deal better with awkward situations and exercises my patience. It grounds me in ways other things cannot.
This is why I’d urge anyone to put themselves out there and feel uncomfortable at least once a year. Go out there, smell like campfire and have sticky hands from all the S’mores you just made. The laughter and occasional shooting star will more than make up for that. I promise you.
What can I say about the Serengeti? The wide plains? The animals? The rough roads?
For many people this vastness means the ultimate freedom. For a girl who’s from a mountainous country, it’s a bit scary. Still breathtaking, still gorgeous, but a bit unsettling.
What can I tell you about Ngorongoro, one of the most magical places I’ve ever been? There are simply no words.
This trip has been on my list of things I wanted to do for so long, it took me a long time to process that it really happened yet. I feel so incredibly blessed and fortunate.
Now, with a bit of distance I remember the moments that left me breathless. The moments that gave me goosebumps and made me tear up. I remember our first evening in the Serengeti and how I felt a bit on edge as we kept driving in the middle of nowhere, no campsite in sight with the sun slowly setting. I remember the frustration of having to set up 15 tents in the dark, not being able to see anything. I remember how I forced myself to rethink and take it as a challenge, rather than an annoyance. I remember being rewarded with a shooting star across the enchanting night sky. I remember feeling humbled. I remember cold nights, bundled up in five layers of clothes. I remember rising early and warming my hands on a cup of tea in the chilly morning air. I remember sunrises and clouds hanging ominously over the rim of the Ngorongoro crater. I remember being too cold to shower for three days straight. I also remember the dust everywhere. In the air, on our clothes, in our mouthes, hair, and on our skin. I remember the thrill of sleeping in a tent next to hyenas and buffalos. I also remember the exhaustion and how I fell asleep the second I lay down in my tent. I remember long bus drives. I remember laughter. I remember drunken confessions and heartfelt conversations. I remember the lions and elephants and zebras.