HOW: Denise and I are Machatunin. That is Yiddish for two mothers-in-law. So far, it happens to be the only known name for such a relationship among the languages we have looked up. It started with a wedding (her son to my daughter).
We’ve shared some get-togethers, a few holiday celebrations, a small trip to San Francisco and a bigger two week trip on the Viking River Cruise to Portugal with excursions into Spain. We both have celebrated BIG DECADE BIRTHDAYS recently (eg. important decade life landmarks) carrying us along into “senior land”.
WHO: I (Linda) am a retired choral director, piano teacher and still keep a church job as Organist and Choir Director. As I started babysitting when I was 12, I have been working ever since, just shy of 60 years. I have held my teacher’s certificate for 50 years. I lived in Spain and appreciate how close people are when they can communicate together. My daughter once told me I have the “largest box” to hold all the people I admire and call my friends of anyone she knows. That box has almost limitless boundaries for diversity. I love people, therefore I love the travel.
WHERE and WHEN: It was a mix-up—probably the only time we started on two different pages. Over three years ago we planned a big adventure trip together. Denise has connections to Portugal and as I lived in Spain.
My big birthday was a little over a year later, but Denise was already booked on another trip with a close friend. I have a friend, a Retired Marine Lt. Col who is a marathon runner and all around never-sit-still kind of a guy. He did a tour of England and walked Hadrian’s Wall. Hey! I could do something similar. Surfing the Net brought me to a site for ACTIVE ENGLAND – a small group company for bikers and hikers around southern England. I booked two two-week tours of Devon/Cornwall and Windsor, Blenheim, Stratford-Upon-Avon, the Cotswolds and Bath with layovers in London and Oxford . . all by myself and going to travel!!! In just over two weeks I hiked over 100 miles. (**This is where I tell you that I was just diagnosed with sufficient damage to be eligible for knee replacements in both knees. More about that in the chapter on senior issues and health care.
Well, Denise still wanted to plan another trip. I thought of the customary destinations: France, Germany, Scandinavia et al. — even Canada But, we weren’t on the same page. “Guess where I really REALLY want to go” and before I could guess she blurts out “ AFRICA!” Not in a million years of dreaming would I have seen the possibility of going to Africa. And, Africa is a continent, NOT A COUNTRY!
But, I am a good sport and I have a fabulous travel agent, CAROL FLAX OF MCCABE TRAVEL IN McClean, Virginia (see chapter on WAYS TO PLAN). One can never say no to one of Carol’s adventures And before you knew it, we’d paid the deposit and were getting into more trouble by adding on exciting things to explore. So, as first time travelers on an African safari we chose Kenya with an add-on to Uganda to go gorilla trekking. I’ll let Denise tell you about how we arranged to see the Gorillas. Suffice it to say it will be the trip of a lifetime, which is why we want to share a blog about it.
WHY BLOG? • To let friends and family take a virtual trip along with us • To share thoughts on who, how, why, where and when to plan travel adventures • To showcase our exploration of the new, ancient, unusual and rare • To inspire our BLOG BUDDIES to share their travel dreams
The following three images are representative of what I’ve been doing to prepare for our 2020 trip to Africa. If you’re not already aware of my great passion for photography, it will be apparent with the reading of this post.
This is an image of all my gear – everything I own except for the Nikon 500mm f/5.6 lens which is wait-listed. Supposedly it will come in June. It will be worth the wait, as it will allow me to get up-close-and-personal with the wildlife. It was my big lens purchase for my new mirrorless full frame Nikon Z6 camera. I took the Nikon with me to England last year where I got incredible shots. I added a Tamron 100-400 mm lens to bridge the gap with my older Nikon 5200. Yes, I am taking 2 camera bodies. The green Mindshift bag is a dedicated camera bag with all kinds of organizational nooks and crannies. That, along with my orange REI duffle, should hold all of my cameras, photographic equipment and clothing.
These are just a few of the photography and travel books in my self-imposed curriculum. They include a catalogue from the Shangri-La of Photography: B and H Photo in NYC. For me, B and H is every bit as much of a temptation as a fine ladies boutique. Their tech assistants can answer any question and give really great recommends. My slogan? Never travel without B and H!
This final picture, taken with my Nikon Z6, is probably over Newfoundland. I was on a flight to England that left Dulles around 6:30 PM. It was August and the sun was above the cloud cover so I had amazing views as the sun dipped below the horizon. One of my photography books actually has a chapter on taking photographs out of airplane windows! Carol, our Tour Agent Extraordinaire,* arranged a window seat for me, so my camera will be ready!
*Carol Flax Luxury Travel Advisor An independent affiliate of McCabe World Travel Virtuoso Member firstname.lastname@example.org