I just returned from a two-week holiday in South Africa and Zimbabwe. It was an amazing, thrilling and reflective time for me. I purposefully unplugged from my iPhone and iPad. This trip has been on my bucket list for a long time. I wanted to ensure that I was present so that I could immerse myself into the African culture, its people and its majestic wildlife.
The wild life is truly special and amazing. Driving twice a day into the bush in search of the Big 5 was thrilling, scary yet peaceful. The guides and trackers are well trained professionals who understand the animals and their behaviors. I never felt I was at risk even our first night in the bush when we came face to face with two male lions and a lioness. We were literally 10 feet away from them. I was amazed we could get so close. You would think this would be terrifying, but I was strangely at peace; just watching these impressive beasts in virtual silence for 45 minutes was an experience I will never forget. We shared the same experience with Elephants, Leopards, Cape Buffaloes and White Rhinos.
I recall a morning drive along a dry river bank. Around the bend we encountered a large herd of Elephants and their babies. They were walking in our direction as quiet as a mouse. They walked in front and behind our open aired land cruiser. It was as if we could touch them. There seemed to be this bond between us and these wild beasts. What I will always remember is the vivid images of these beautiful animals in the wild behaving as if we were not even there. The stillness and silence as we watched these animals feed, play, bathe, and interact with each other. It was a life changing experience.
I loved the people at our Safari camps. Agnes, Eckston, Gloria, David, Fortune and Matt are people I will never forget. They are genuine, simple and beautiful human beings. They love their jobs, they loved us being there and experiencing their beloved Africa and it showed authentically with their infectious smiles and positive attitudes. All of them are connected to their heritage, their land, their nature conservancy and their unique African tribal customs and culture through song and dance. All of them were wonderful ambassadors for their countries.
Being away from all the noise of DC, TV and my electronic gadgets helped me decompress, be present and re-energize my spirit. I am back from Africa, but Africa has not left me.
I return a more grateful and whole person from my experience and my interactions with the people. I have committed to live my life with greater curiosity and openness about our differences and with deeper generosity.
Unplugging was good for my soul. It’s your turn. Write me and tell me about your experience unplugging for a while. You will be better for it.
Lead and live well!