Archives for December, 2012

Well, my dear friends, it has been one absolutely incredibly full year of intense round-the-world travel. As you may recall, I jumped into 2012 by venturing to southernmost Mexico and retracing the history of the Mayan calendar in anticipation of the final day in the final year of year of their final baktun. All year…

Wandering Tanzania’s national parks for an entire month taught me many things—like how to stay very quiet and still when there’s a 7-ton elephant rubbing against your tent. In all my travels in all the world, I have never had such rich and fulfilling wildlife encounters as I did in Tanzania, which is why I…

I walk through the uphill dust of an ancient explosion. My boots crunch into the slope in rhythm, worn rubber upon stones and sand, and in my head, I imagine the mighty boom that formed this mountain before me. I have walked five days to get to this point—through leafy forests jumping with monkeys, then…

This will be the shortest blog post of my life. It is minus 15° C [5° F] with very strong wind and typing means taking my gloves off, BUT, I wanted to live blog my reaching the summit of Tanzania’s Mount Kilimanjaro. Yes, right now, I am typing this at 19,341 ft (5,895 m) which…

Mars

For more about my Kilimanjaro adventure, read my posts from day one, day two, and day three. There is life on Mars—I know because I am here. There is water on Mars, too—I know because I am wet. I cannot see the rain in the foggy glow of my sunglasses, but I can feel it—like…

Acclimatizing

For more about my Kilimanjaro adventure, read my posts from day one, day two, and day four. Every morning my guide Zachary asks me if I have slept like a baby and every morning I tell him yes, just like a baby. Whoever invented this expression never had a baby, because most of the babies…

Zachary

For more about my Kilimanjaro adventure, read my posts from day one, day three, and day four. My guide smokes. In fact, I suspect that when he is not climbing mountains, he is probably quite the heavy chain smoker. I have no problem with this. Up here, the wind is strong enough that I don’t…

For more about my Kilimanjaro adventure, read my posts from day two, day three, and day four. I am not athletic, I am not an Olympian, I am not a climber. I am neither Sir Edmund Hillary nor Jon Krakauer, nor shall I ever aspire to mimic mountaineering men. I am merely a traveler on…

Dear Jane Goodall, Greetings from Gombe National Park, which you brought to our attention not so long ago. I never thought I’d make it to this little sliver of mountain forest on the shores of Lake Tanganyika, but somehow, the fates landed me on the same beaches that you continue to walk ever since you…

Chère Nancy, Bienvenue à Katavi National Park! I have been meaning to write you ever since I arrived here in Africa, which is a place that I think you would enjoy immensely. I realize that your blustery Acadian home is quite different from the steamy green forests that I find myself in now. In fact, this…

Monkey Love

Dear Shelternook, We have never met, but you have been traveling with me for quite some time now. I count you among my very devoted followers on Twitter and am always grateful for your comments and interest in my travels, especially now, here, in Africa. A few weeks ago I showed you all how I…

Dear Annette, Greetings from Katavi National Park, which is about as wild a place as there is left on Earth—so wild that I feel slightly guilty entering this raw chunk of Eden with my heaping pack of electronic gadgetry. Lugging my range of manmade technology into camp, I am a cold and steely intruder in…

God’s Garden

Dear Janet, Somehow I know that you love flowers–so do I. I mean, who doesn’t? I wonder if that is even possible, since like animals, flowers are such a huge and vivid ingredient of nature–symbols of such emotional depths that where words fail, we trust flowers to transport our love and sympathy and friendship with…

Beautiful Ruaha

Dear Maxine, Hodi! Hello there! How are you? I am still in Tanzania and will remain here for quite some time. I know that I have a habit of hopping from one country to another, but despite my continual hopping around, I still find myself deep inside the endless dry miles of central Tanzania. This…

Dear @CauseAnUproar, I send you greetings from the lions that have kept me awake all night. Every time I began a new dream, they began their strange and hollow growls and unsettling calls. I thought by midnight they would taper off—but no, they would just not shut up. If there are any typos or bad…

Dear @GioPalatucci, I write you from the very dry heart of Tanzania where the ground is very brown, the grass is lion-colored and the trees look like they could all use a bit of water. I tell you Gio, it is everything you imagine Africa to be: forever skies with evasive clouds, the hot, hot…