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    KITHKINCAID   38,693
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The Africa Blog

Monday, September 12, 2011

I know you're all expecting an epic travelog - and I seriously don't want to disappoint, but one of the main reasons I have been so silent since coming back from vacation, is, well...I'm SPEECHLESS.

There is no beauty like Africa. Vast plains, gorgeous sunsets, wild animals, beautiful people. I loved every second of my trip and am starting to wonder already when I might go back again.

I am still working on editing approximately 2000 photos of my trip. So what I will do for those of you who want the entire travel-blog is post a link to my albums that I am painstakingly going through, editing and narrating as I go. There are videos there as well, so it's an all-encompassing look at my vacation from start to finish - "African Sickness" included.

From a Spark perspective, I don't feel like I would have been able to do this trip, nor would I have enjoyed it half as much 120 pounds heavier. In fact, I don't know that I would have even had the courage to book a vacation like this. For 12 days we camped through the Masai Mara in Kenya, the Serengeti in Tanzania, the Ngorogoro Crater, the Great Rift Valley, Lake Manyara, the foothills of Kilimanjaro in Moshi and all the red dirt roads and acacia laden plains in between. I successfully used a squat toilet for the first time in my life (and even managed not to pee on myself - which is a substantial feat in my books). I ate the local food and drank the local beer and enjoyed every ounce of it (except maybe the banana beer which is more like fermented banana juice mixed with plain oatmeal). I saw a herd of over 100 elephants on our first night in the Mara and cried at the shear beauty of it all. I saw lions mating (lots of lions mating, and elephants, and wildebeast, and zebra, and's all about the circle of life kids!), and leopards eating their prey. I heard exotic bird calls, and hyenas laughing (some right outside my tent at 2am, which is the one night I didn't sleep very well - can you blame me?) - the likes of which my ears have never heard before. I met local tribes people, and made new friends in the small village of Mtu Wa Mbu where we visited a kindergarten classroom and fed the kids trail mix for their morning treat. I noticed a small boy crying and as his sister ran to comfort him I noticed that he was wearing a torn sweater from my Alma-matter in Toronto - one of the most touching and striking images of my entire trip. I schlepped a 15kg pack all over East Africa and was amazed that my feet didn't hurt once. We helped load and unload the safari jeep at every stop - but honestly, we were spoiled by our guides so much that I didn't have to carry or heft as much as I expected. I learned a few words in Swahili and am now convinced that I want to learn the language and go back to speak it. Even though my brother and I got terribly sick for 2 days at the end of the trip - I'm forgiving. It was all part of the experience and it was the price we paid for probably being a little more adventurous than we should have been in the food/water department. Who knows. But even a trip to an African hospital was an adventure and something we will talk about for years to come.

I had some amazing bonding time with my brother and my cousins. And I no longer feel like an outsider in that group. For years I have felt "less than" when it comes to my family. Because of my lack of physical fitness, I couldn't keep up and therefore didn't feel like I was one of the gang. But this trip proved all of that wrong. Not only did I fit in, I matched the fitness level of the rest of my crew. I didn't hold anyone back. I didn't need help getting around. I was part of the team - and nothing can describe the relief and happiness I felt because of it. The only question now is "where to next?"

Overlooking the Masai Mara.

The Hippo Pool on the Mara River

A visit to the local Masai village - the kids were hungry for trail mix.

Clothing from home - this little one has on a sweatshirt from York University (my Alma-matter!)

My brother and I at the top of a Pride Rock overlooking the Serengeti.

Member Comments About This Blog Post:
KAYATLANTA2010 10/27/2011 7:27AM


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TEENY_BIKINI 10/26/2011 10:04PM

    Absolutely amazing. The trip of a lifetime.

Yay you!!


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SBHPATRICK 9/20/2011 7:45PM

    Oh, how wonderful! You have articulated all of my feelings from a few years ago. I went to Tanzania with my mom in 2003, 100 pounds lighter than I'd been just two years prior. I could not imagine doing that trip with that extra weight, much less loving every minute of it as I did. I'm so glad you had an amazing trip and look forward to more of your photos!

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KA_JUN 9/14/2011 10:33PM

    Awesome! Moshi is truly beautiful!

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GIANTPANDA 9/14/2011 8:00PM

    It sounds like an awesome trip. I can't wait for your photos. All these years I have had a limited edition print of the Serengeti on my wall and that definitely should be one of my rewards for getting down to my goal weight. I love the idea of a place so profoundly beautiful that it leaves a person speechless.

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FINALLYBEINGME 9/14/2011 10:25AM

    Wow, this sounds stunning! GReat blog.

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KRAWRS 9/14/2011 9:53AM

    You are AMAZING! It looks like a truly incredible trip. I forgot/didn't know you were going! Was this a "just because" trip, or a missionary trip, or etc.?

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JANIEWWJD 9/14/2011 12:06AM

    Wow, that was amazing. I sounds like you had a wonderful time.

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MILLIE5522 9/13/2011 3:18PM

    Thank you for sharing your trip....sounds amazing! emoticon

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FYREDRAGYN 9/13/2011 3:06PM

    Wow, what an amazing trip. I am so glad you are back though. I have missed your blog. It is amazing the pull Africa has for people, all the people I've known who go always want to go back. emoticon

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MOMASAURUS 9/13/2011 1:11PM


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VIMVIGOR 9/13/2011 12:42PM

Fantastic trip, fantastic pictures, fantastic you!!! Way to go girl. Thanks for sharing. emoticon
P.S. Can I go with you next time???? Pretty please.

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JENJESS48 9/13/2011 11:55AM

    What an amazing trip! I'm so glad you enjoyed it as much as you did - and were so fit that the whole adventure was physically easy. Woo hoo! Good for you!

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SLFRISBEY 9/13/2011 9:08AM

    Amazing! I am so happy you got to go on this trip and a little jealous still :) Can't wait to see more!

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-POOKIE- 9/13/2011 9:06AM


you should be proud of yourself for changing yourself for the healthier so you could do something as amazing as this.

Im so glad you had a wonderful time.

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JENNIFER_67 9/13/2011 8:59AM

    emoticon This is my dream trip. It's still a few years out for me. (Have to finish paying for my kids' education.) But I will be going someday. I can't wait to see the rest of your pictures.

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STFRENCH 9/13/2011 7:25AM


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    Wow...what an amazing trip! I want to go to Africa so bad.

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CHARLENERAE12 9/12/2011 10:27PM

    It's been a while, and all I can say is HOLEY SHEET LADY YOU LOOK AMAZING! What an amazing trip, and what an amazing transformation you have made.

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WYND10 9/12/2011 10:14PM

    Wow, your trip sounds amazing! I can't wait to see the rest of the pictures. And that first picture of you is breath taking, and not just because of the vista behind you. You look gorgeous!

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TETICH 9/12/2011 10:04PM

    It sounds like you had fun and I am so pleased for you, getting sick and all, lol.

And I'm sure everyone there told you how welcome you would be if you went back again. Karibu tena!:) emoticon

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LOTUSFLOWER 9/12/2011 9:44PM

    I am so glad you had such an amazing experience, and you are such an inspiration,doing things you wouldn't have done previously, and having the energy to keep up with all of the trekking, camping, you are just super woman!!!! I love the pictures,they are so great. Thanks for sharing your journey with us!!! I sure did miss you while you were gone, girl.

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MIQUEY73 9/12/2011 9:11PM

    Your trip sounds AMAZING! So glad you enjoyed it!

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CHEEKY1000 9/12/2011 8:53PM!! If I ever have the money to do my trip of a lifetime (well, frankly it'll be to Scotland for a couple months), but if money weren't an issue, I'd love to do a safari as well.

I love that you can see the...uh...gastrointestinal mishap as an experience. LMAO!! Hey, it may have helped you lose any weight you might have gained. lol

I think it's great that you also got to bond on equal footing with your brother and cousins. To quote Mastercard: Priceless!

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LAURIETAIT 9/12/2011 8:43PM

    What a great trip! I look forward to seeing all the pictures.

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HOPE2011 9/12/2011 8:37PM

    So cool! Thanks for sharing - I look forward to seeing more!

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JENNSWIMS 9/12/2011 8:35PM


I so want to do a trip like yours... if you booked through a tour company would you mind giving me the details?

Anywho, it sounds like the trip of a lifetime, and how fantastic is it that you were able to enjoy it fully because you have been taking such good care of yourself? It's like a giant reward to you, for taking care of you!

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KT-NICHOLS-13 9/12/2011 8:25PM

    Thanks for sharing. What a wonderful experience and memories that will last you a lifetime. I'm looking forward to seeing more of your photos.

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MOCOHOLO 9/12/2011 8:13PM

    I'm so glad you had such a great experience and can't wait to check out your pics!

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JEREMY723 9/12/2011 8:10PM

    What memories to last a lifetime!

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FTHOODBABY 9/12/2011 8:08PM

    Awesome! Sounds like a great trip.

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