Africa or Bust!

I’ve wanted to travel to Africa ever since I can remember. There is just something exciting about seeing animals in their natural habitat- unbroken, wild, and free. Too often I’ve stared at the lions and elephants behind a thick plate of glass as they mindlessly pace back and forth inside their miniscule enclosures. Needless to say, when I got the opportunity to purchase an all-inclusive photo-safari trip at an auction for 75% off, I jumped at the chance without so much as a second thought. Nearly an entire year has passed as I’ve anxiously awaited my departure date of April 14, 2015- after an absurd amount of anticipation, the date has finally come.

Currently, I’m sitting here alone on one of those impossibly uncomfortable airport lounge chairs, revisiting the last few days. I’ve had a long time to process and mentally prepare for this 1.5 month long adventure, but I could not completely mask the subtle gnawing sensation of what I’m equating to some form of homesickness- and I haven’t even left New York yet!

It’s quite a startling discovery to not fully realize how much you have until it’s no longer available. I say this specifically in reference to my friends and family. Last Sunday, a group of close friends and I gathered at a park for some volleyball and pizza at Old Chicago’s for one last hurrah before I left (pic below). It made me realize just how lucky I am to be surrounded by such an amazing group of individuals.

IMG_5418*Editor’s Note* I apologize if this whole post comes off as a bit dramatic- I realize 1.5 months is not really a long time in the grand scheme of things… but it is by far the longest amount of time and furthest away that I’ve ever been away from home- so cut me some slack 😉

In case you’re curious, my itinerary for the following weeks looks something like this:

Week #1: Getting settled into Durban, South Africa and helping prepare for our church’s annual convention gathering.

Week #2: Attending my church’s convention- a little more on what this entails in a future post.

Week #3: Scuba Diving, Hiking, and Deep Sea Fishing

Week #4: Hiking, Zip-line canopy tour, Horseback riding, and Ushaka Marine World

Week #5: Travel to Cape Town, Great White Cage Diving, Table Mountain Hike, Robin Island Tour, and Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens.

Week #6: Zulu Nyala Photo Safari Lodge (Near Durban)

Week #7: Dubai 4 day stopover, Ferrari World, Yas WaterWorld, the Burj Khalifa, and then head for home!

I will try to post an update at least once a week, but don’t hold me to that as I’m not sure what the internet connectivity is like there. If you would like more photos of my adventure you can friend me on Facebook or Instagram @ Bradley.Surratt. Well my 12 hour flight to Dubai is about to board so I will leave you with this jaw dropping map that shows Africa’s true size:

original

Until next time,

B

**Mini Update**  I am connected to wireless internet, typing this little update to you from 38,998 feet in the air, traveling about 542 miles per hour, in a double decker Airbus A380-800 airplane with an outside temp of about -61 degrees Celsius… Is modern flight not the coolest thing since sliced bread?

So the real reason for this mini update is that I just had to jot down this little gem about a snafu that occurred over lunch on the plane. I was just about to dig into my hot pesto chicken and rice when I, being the bumbling oaf that I am, bumped my unopened Mini Coke can off the folding tray and onto the floor. It wouldn’t have been so bad if it didn’t somehow manage to self puncture and (due to the pitch of the plane) proceeded to roll down the rows of seats spraying sticky soda onto everything and everyone who was unlucky enough to sit behind me. After hearing several surprised gasps in quick succession, I quickly sprung into action by putting my head down and pretending nothing out of the ordinary had just happened. I don’t think it worked.

IMG_5427In other news, after nagging one of the crew members I was promised an insider’s look at the First Class accommodations upstairs as soon as the plane lands- I’m hoping to capture its magnificence on video. Stay tuned!

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