“Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.” ― Dr. Seuss.
We were very excited now as we were only 7hr from home after a very long 36 weeks away. The mobile phone calls were already flowing freely. We left early and were home by lunch. I had jokingly remarked that my dogs would not recognize me and that we were in danger of being bitten. After a short period of suspicion their reaction was exuberant to say the least. It was fantastic to see the kids and Anne’s mom after all this time and the rest of that day flowed by in a feverish exchange of updates and reminiscences. I jokingly told my daughter we would be spending our first night sleeping in the rooftop tent in the driveway to allow us time for adjustment.
Ahead lay all the visits from friends and all the packing up of the vehicle and kit, with cleaning to get it all ready for our next trip whenever and wherever it may be. Further trips there will definitely be. This is the beauty and privilege of being retired at a relatively young age whilst still fit, able and willing. We have the very exciting event of our daughter Kate’s wedding lying ahead of us in a few months time. I am grateful that we returned safe and sound, as well as timeously enough for Anne to play her full part in what is a highlight in a mother’s life, preparing things for a daughter’s wedding!
Thanks go to my ever-serving, loyal and dogged wife Anne. Thank you for your support and constant encouragement in enabling me to fulfil my dream. There must be a special place for someone like you! When Anne says she will travel to the ends of the earth for me she truly means it!
Thanks too to our two daughters and son, fortuitously at home for our time away, for managing our affairs and home so efficiently during our prolonged absence. For long periods we were very far from any lines of communication.
It would be appropriate to give heartfelt thanks to those 2 British ladies who so willingly gave of their time and knowledge in helping us in planning this trip. Their suggestions were inspirational and absolutely accurate. I had spent in excess of 6 months planning this trip. Especially Morag, but also Lisa, I wonder if you truly realize how indebted we are to you. To our erstwhile travelling companions Mike and Tony, you also know who you are, you made us realize that such a trip was entirely feasible. To all those that published trip reports over the years, let me assure any of you that ever come across this blog, that the information gleaned from your reports remains invaluable to many.
As time goes by I will publish summaries and assessments of what worked for us or what was less of a success. I also have many thousands of photos to select, edit and gradually publish in the Gallery section. This blog had two aims. A record and memory repository for ourselves, but also most importantly, a means to assist and encourage others planning similar adventures. In deciding the format, tone and content of this blog, information and potentially helpful detail were a top priority. This was no doubt at the expense at times of a more entertaining story line. To our faithful followers thanks for bearing with us.
To have the time and resources to carry out such a marathon expedition will not be the fate of many and we feel deeply privileged to have been in the position to indulge this seemingly impossible dream. Greetings and thanks to those kindred spirits we met and befriended during our travels. I hope many of you will take up our firm invite to stay with us as you continue your journey south. A special mention must be made of our regular and inspirational travel companion Wayne Josselsohn, who against all odds made it through to Israel. “Not your average privileged Johannesburg Northern Suburbs kid”. Wayne it would have been very lonely doing the entire trip on our own.
IN TOTAL WE COVERED 43,617km. To put this in perspective, the circumference of the earth is just over 40,000km, so we travelled the equivalent of just more than once around the world! . At the last count we visited over 50 national parks, game reserves and conservation areas, depending on what criteria are used in counting them up. I do not want to even think of the costs involved in this. We fulfilled our wish list almost entirely, not visiting Egypt was always on the cards because of the severe restrictions on independent travelers there at the moment. Instead we travelled almost the length of Africa and what is different to many suchlike trips, we travelled in our trusty Slow Donkey Toyota Land Cruiser ALL THE WAY BACK AS WELL.
My only envy is for those that have such trips still lying ahead of them.
“Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory”. - Dr. Seuss