Africa, Paradise Found
We thought we would share a personal blog from our Group MD, while in Kenya with a group of Executive Incentive Travelers.
Lets face it, Africa is tricky! It is not for the feint of heart, or week of knee!
It’s a tough old place, one with as many challenges, as it has charm.
A continent of insane opportunity, wrapped in a cloak of conflict that has certainly slowed the economic growth and kept millions below the bread line.
Yet I enjoy a strangely seductive relationship with the dark continent.
Travelling frequently to most corners of the globe, I appreciate more than most the dichotomy of chaos and charm when I return home.
Yes, Africa is my home, and I wouldn’t have it any other way!
I find myself currently, in Kenya, writing on a victorian library desk, staring at the sweeping plains of the Massai Mara, on a Apple mac.
The irony of this setting should not be lost as it is exactly this contrast of new, and old – that gives Africa the unique flavour that keeps me coming back for more. I never get tired of the breathtaking vista’s, the wonderful wildlife and the people I meet on my travels in and around my paradise. And this trip has certainly been no different.
A group of incentive travellers, with all the usual paraphernalia that goes with taking a group of 20 odd senior executives and their spouses away for an unforgettable experience, is never easy. That task is even more challenging in the middle of the African Savannah where the only natural infrastructure is sunlight, and trees. Everything else has been bussed, trucked and flown in to create a temporary tented village with some 100 staff ensuring the show stays on the road.
Like the continent itself, challenges abound at every turn and that, poetically, is the reason I stay. If it was easy anyone could and would do it!
The rain hasn’t helped. Toto knew their shit when they wrote “see the rains down in Africa”.
Its bloody rained for most of the set-up of the tented camp, and virtually every vehicle on the temporary site has been bogged down, axle seep in the thick black tar like sol that sits under the green savannah grass. But none of that matters!
For the last 5 days I have been gloriously free from the tethers of mobile phones, e-mail flowing into every orifice, text messages bombarding me with special offers i don’t need from shops i don’t frequent, and the incessant and continuous noise of, well, just living.
I have found the peace and serenity of the bush a necessary oasis in my day to day life. With e-mail, twitter, facebook, instagram and Pinterest vomiting information at me by the minute (what ever happened to the good old sms) the enforced abstinence from technology, in the middle of a plain, down in Africa, is a pleasant respite from the information highway we create around our lives.
In fact, I would go so far as to say that it is only when you get the opportunity to legitimately and with good reason sever the tech-ties that bind, that you can actually open up to the real world around you.
We spend our days tethered to our phones, laptops and tablets, creating opportunities and making money, in the treadmill of life that keeps us all chasing the same carrot. Yet the world keeps turning, irrespective of instagram, and I frankly find that quite refreshing!
As I write this, I am watching a couple of Korey Bustards, quaintly disproportionate with a stabling awkward gait, happily scavenging for food. I have not once tried to capture them for Facebook.
A lone Hyena, has been heard, not seen, every night since I got here. I can only imagine his journey, hunting and scavenging for food with his strange lolloping gate, and wild eyes. Not once has the Hyena made it onto my twitter timeline.
A slowly lumbering, casually cautious herd of elephants have over the course of the last 3 hours made their way across the picture postcard horizon, smallish babies protected by 5 tonnes of motherly love. I didn’t once try and capture them in an iPhone panaroma.
I think that, sitting here, watching Africa in all her splendour, I have realised that as much as we wrap ourselves in technology, as often as we immerse ourselves in daily data streams of friends and followers, and link through degrees of separation to each other, and as often as we tag, poke, follow and hashtag our daily reality, its OK and often neccessary to strip it all away and go back to experiencing life first hand, undiluted.
The landscape may not be as spectacular in real life as I can make it look through a snapseed filter, and the only person liking the view is me, but thats OK. Its a landscape I have taken the time to stop, see and smell – and in the chaos of a daily world that has no time for downtime, thats My Utopia …My Africa …My Paradise.
Onward and Upward.