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Showing posts from March, 2019
The internet is virtually non existent, but I have a bunch of posts ready to go once I have a little more air time.

We are in Namibia, and it rained (ahhhhhhh!!!!!!!!) the first night we were here & drizzled the second night we were right. We are spending two nights near a waterhole (with lots of protection between us & the animals) and it’s like watching the Nature Channel. Giraffes, elephants, pumbas, rhinos, jackels, I can’t even keep track.

We are leaving the animals tomorrow morning and trading it in for the desert...for three or for days...so back in the oven for me.


Okavango Delta

Friday March 22, 1:11pm

Yesterday was a very special day. We left the Lando at camp and ventured off in a safari Jeep. The breeze was welcomed as we had been baking in the sun for six straight days.
We drove through tall grass, got a bit stuck in sand, and even drove through ponds of water when we had to. The terrain was bumpy to the point I couldn’t drink my water unless I wanted it all over me, and I wasn’t waisting a precious drop, since I “only” had 6 litres to last me until morning.
After two hours of bumpy roads, we were greeted by our polers. These men & women would take us in twos, with our mat and tent into a canoe-like boat for 1 to 1.5 hours until they found a campsite suitable for the night. 
Valentine from Germany hopped not-so-gracefully into the mokoro (the canoe) with the help of our poler,  Langos. We cruised through the delta slowly and carefully as to not miss any animal sightings but more importantly as to not disturb any animals, like crocodiles or hippos. 
We spot…

March 19 9:28PM

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Just going to take a shower.  Things I see: the dark. Things I hear: the noise from the bar, crickets, a small land animal like a squirrel that I can’t remember the name of, a few other animal noises not belonging to something like a lion or other huge animal. Things I will see on my way or in the shower: small snakes, spiders - of all types and sorts, and possibly another camper.
The only thing that bothers me in this situation? How uncomfortable my little camping mattress is. Oh, and the fact that whoever camps next to me will most definitely hear me sleep talk. 
March 20th, 8:41AM
Came back. No spiders seen. So snakes. And I believe I had my first night’s sleep, after a lot of praying. 
It’s easy to get caught up in the school yard here. People of all ages and more boys than girls...the popular crowd...the quiet crowd...was I getting caught up in that? Was I focusing on what I came here for? 
A bit of both. Next time someone is in the pool and I want to join, I’ll join. If not, I’ll stay s…

Well, am I going to make it?

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Tuesday, March 19th, 9:42am

Don’t have a clue. If you would have asked me last night, the answer would have been a hard no. Overheated, a bit dehydrated (the day before, in two hours, I drank six cans of soda water and never once had to go to the toilet & that’s on top of drinking litres of water a day).
Everyone remarks that I sleep talk and my back aches as I sleep. I’m always the last one to be ready, the one to eat the least (don’t worry, I’m eating enough), and the first one to bed because I am exhausted. It’s catching up with me. I knew this trip would be hard, and I’m rewarded with amazing and breathtaking sights and experiences, like the hundreds of elephants I saw up close yesterday, and the happy and friendly energy of the group (thank God), but I have to try to stay positive in the evenings, because if I had the choice, I would come home to camp and sleep. 


One thing on my list to do is have my big bag packed 100%, zipped, and ready to go the night before. I had committed …

Victoria Falls

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Blog March 18  730 am

“It is a blessed day for a visit for to the falls.” Says one of the countless locals, selling tours, trips, souvenirs, or simply asking to escort me to wherever. 
“Yes it is. Thank you, have a nice day, goodbye.” Had to throw my line in there cause buddy wasn’t gonna take the hint. I had indulged in a little conversation, I must have had my guard down, because usually, the, “Thank you, have a nice day, goodbye.” line is thrown out in under ten seconds. 
“Goodbye, Sister.”.
I started walking the fifteen minutes in the sun in the +34*C heat, ready to call it quits, forcing myself to go, despite my burning feet, my overheating body, my lack of desire to go since I had seen it from the other side years before, but I kept on. 
I got to the entry gate, realizing I forgot my passport, remembering our guide told us to have it with us when we went to Victoria Falls, secretly hoping to be turned away and go home in a taxi and go back and hop in the pool and maybe lay on one of th…

bushy-bushy

Take away from our meet and greet with the group today: please give the driver 10-15minutes notice if you need to do a bushy-bushy.

I am exhausted. Will eat supper & crash in my own tent because I’m exhausted.
Tomorrow will be an interesting day.
Sleeping solo because there’s an off number of girls.
Goodnight!

Welcome to Zimbabwe

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Alright, so I've spent two nights in Zimbabwe and it's been veryyyy nice. Granted, I slept a lot, but this hotel or safari lodge or whatever it's meant to be called has been quite nice, despite the fact that I argued with them that I had already paid for the room (I had not. And still they were kind until I told them last night that I was wrong, and had indeed had not. Travel agent mishap.)
I'm sure that other areas in ZB (can we just call it ZB from now on) are much more dangerous and beat up than this little town, but Victoria Falls is quite nice. I can walk into town during the day. If I wasn't alone, I'm sure I could walk into town for supper. My safari lodge/hotel/campsite has a little pool, bar, restaurant, and curio shop, and I just love the atmosphere. I haven't been on the "tenting site" of things, and I suspect it's like flying Business Class one flight and then flying Economy the next flight...but hey, I'm here for the camping.

Hooker Tired in Amsterdam

*Written March 13th, 13h00*
Currently en route to Johannesburg via Amsterdam. Amsterdam was a rude reminder of some of the different stages that I can go through during long distance travel.
This morning I experienced “Hooker Tired”. Pardon the profanity….but, well, it’s simply self-explanatory. I will literally do anything to sleep in a bed and to have a shower. 

My flight to Minneapolis was so cold that my feet were numb upon arrival. 
My flight to Amsterdam was a little big better, but I forgot that my body temperature drops 5 or 10*C on a plane and I even though I was prepared with warm clothes (and had purchased a sweatshirt in the Minneapolis airport), again, I was simply too cold to sleep. No problem, I figured. I just have three hours and fifty minutes and then I’ll be only my plane and I’ll sleep in the warmth on my way to Joberg.
WRONG. Flight delayed at least another two hours. 
So Hooker Tired Nicole kicks. I started looking for affordable options. I need sleep. 
But at that poi…
In Johannesburg, tired AF, yet somehow more alert and with more energy than I’ve had in seven weeks. Maybe it’s because I don’t have the choice, or maybe it’s because I know that my camping trip is just what I needed.


I even woke up to have breakfast before my flight this morning...

Don’t get me wrong, I can’t wait to get to Victoria Falls today and rest & put my feet up & nap, but I haven’t (yet) felt that panicky feeling that I’ve been feeling often since the breakup.

Post on my Amsterdam layover coming as soon as I can connect my computer to wifi.

Until then, let’s hope for an uneventful journey to Zimbabwe!

Africa Calling

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I haven't been blogging lately because I've just been exhausted. This trip to Edmonton started out as what I thought would be a two week visit to get myself reacquainted here (I thought I would fly home on Valentine's Day), and it ended up a whole lot more. I've made a lot of big decisions and choices about my future, changed my mind thirty or forty times, stayed at a friend's house, then stayed at my cousin's house, then moved back to my friend's house, and oh yah....booked and planned a trip to Africa for a month.

It started as me researching a trip to Oman to Israel. Then I realized that would be shaking up my boat too much. I was too unfamiliar and although it would be an amazing experience, I need something that I was at least partially familiar with. And Johannesburg and Cape Town are both places I have frequented enough to know the dos and don'ts. Zimbabwe...is a country I'm a bit nervous about, but I will have a greeter at the Vic Falls airp…

21 days can seem pretty long...here's days 5 and 6!

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The next morning on the Africa trip, we wake up and head into our Lando and drive five hours or so as we make our way to the Okavango Delta. I had been here again in 2010, but wow, it was full of…well, drama and the lodge that we were staying at was targeted to mega rich, old people…and it lacked a bit of authenticity. Since I’m camping…I’m guessing authenticity will not be an issue…

The Lando: 




Some will have a chance to take a flight over the Okavango Delta. It’s quite pricey…and I did take a brief helicopter ride when I visited in 2010. So I’ll take the time to rest and walk around and do whatever I fancy. 

The campsite seems nice enough, has wifi to check in with the fam, and has some showers which will be great after a five hour lando-ride. I’m not expecting a lot of “hot” water showers, but at least a few warm water showers…

The next morning, we will be leaving most of our luggage as we will be camping in the bush and have to walk in and walk out. There will be no water, electricity…

Camping plans days 3 and 4

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I'm certainly going through a different and new phase of the breakup. Many sources call it different things, but this site described it bang on:


Thankfully, I live with my cousin and his significant other, and I still get out from time to time, but with a pretty limited group. I'll get through it, I just have to keep trusting myself...and knowing that, if I'm sad, I'm sad. It's a sad thing. If I stop having any happy moments, then, I should start to worry. 
But, how about we move on to the next couple of days of my trip? That's something that I'm looking forward to.
After I spend four nights at Victoria Falls (two on my own, and two with the group), we make our way to Kazungula, Zimbabwe, and I'm pretty sure this is where we cross the border into Botswana. From there we drive to Kasane...where I had one of my most memorable funny moments there. Here's where I wrote about back in 2010: The $10 Bitch Tax. From there we'll make our way to Chobe Nat…
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So, I'm not okay. I've said that while I've been all warm and cozy at the lake with my ex...and wow, now I really know what not okay is. Breakups are hard. I know, Captain Obvious. Breakups in winter, like -40*C winter, are even harder. I have lots to be grateful for. But shit is getting real, and real is shit. 
Sleep is not great.  Socializing is not great. I don't feel like talking about it...because...what is there to talk about it?  My heart hurts, my brain is tired of making decisions, I feel like a loser, I'm tired, confused, feeling great one moment and then trashed another, all the while, keeping it together, because that's what you do. 
Grief is a series of phases, and this phase sucks. It hates sleeping at night. It hates that I got used to having a partner. It hates that I got used to have help when I needed it. It hates that I let my walls down. It hates that I had dropped my walls and dreamed happily ever after, and now, when I go to bed, I have em…
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If grief is accepting my new reality:

It’s Friday night, I’m watching a B movie, next to a space heater, fighting to stay awake at 19h30, and one of the dogs comes to check on me from time to time.
The worst part, is that this is the easy part. This is the time where little is expected of me. All I have to do is prepare for my time in Africa.

When I’m back, the real work starts, like finalizing the move, flying to Montreal to pick up Maggie, finish everything. Oh, and find a job, be focused at work, and rebuild my life, and all that.

My new reality is alone. I was used to alone. I did alone even in my previous relationships. Then I got used to not alone.

I know, I’ll survive. I’ll ger through it. Blah, blah, blah.
Winter has seemed to give me a bit of a break for a few days. There are still the -44*C nights thrown in there for good measure so I don't forget where I am...and of course my skin is still adapting to the dry Alberta weather...but this move is starting to feel like a good one.

There are some days, where I feel like I see the sun more often than others. I haven't yet gone "out" with a group of friends, but I'm doing that this Saturday. It's amazing how that can feel scary and exciting at the same time. The smallest of things can make me feel anxious now...like I'm a shy person that I never was before, like I need to rely on people that I didn't need to before, but I guess that's how things go.

I had a doctor's appointment yesterday (Yes for the Alberta medical system!!), and she said, Grief isn't about getting over something or someone, it's accepting your new reality. Which is very true. While my new reality isn't necessarily livi…