Monkey Love

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One of the coolest unexpected experiences of the Amazon and our stay at Juma Lodge was meeting these guys. While touring the resort, the guide told us that two monkeys lived in the area, and when they jump on you, it’s important to not be startled, to stay calm and not scream because you wouldn’t want to frighten the monkey. They also told us to keep our doors locked whenever we left the rooms, because the monkeys liked to ‘help themselves’ to your belongings and make a huge mess of it. He also warned that if we hear a “knock” on our door to not open it all the way, to crack it first and make sure it’s not a monkey trying to get in. We all chatted in excitement about all these little tips over dinner and tucked ourselves in for the night hoping we would get to see one of these little guys the next day.

Well… see these monkeys we did. Around 6:30 am the knocks on the door started coming! Just as the guide had warned us, it was monkey time. Up and down the resort they went, waking everybody up. They crawled on us, they cuddled in our arms, they swung from our bodies with their tails, they napped on us in hammocks, and they stole the limes from our cocktails. It was amazing. I’ll never forget napping in the hammock, hearing the pitter-patter of little monkey feet coming and then seeing his head popping over the hammock edge…and in he came to ¬†join me. It was a blast.

Monkey love – The female monkey was absolutely 100% head-over-heels in love with our travel companion Zach. Any time he was outside his room she was in his arms. As the trip progressed, the deeper she felt and even started swatting Kelly away to keep him all to herself! He couldn’t move without her attached to him and if he was in his room she’d knock and try the door knob repeatedly!

I love when life gives you these memories you can never plan for, an experience you didn’t know was possible. Such an adventure… just monkeying around.

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Safari Nights

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The people of South Africa stand as the example of everything good about humanity. They believe in peace and sharing and harmony. I like to think their souls are beautiful because they are a part of a true circle of life here. They understand their place among the animals, in the grass, with the trees, all while walking with their ancestors.

Our evening drives were the perfect decrescendo to the day. As the golden hour set and the Southern Cross smiled down from the heavens, we sipped our cocktails over the endless horizon and said good night to all the creatures we had shared in the moment with. I try to go back to this place in my memory when I lay in bed awake early in the morning. I try to remember the colors of the sky, the whites of the horns, the sounds of nature and vastness of view. I try to remember that all that is good is all that ever was.

As we boarded the plane to leave, I was planning how to come back. The great migration, Tanzania, Kenya, gorillas in the mist… I think I have begun a lifelong love affair for all that is Africa. These photographs are all that remain of our fading memories now. As the years press on and we set out to new lands, new experiences, I hope this place stays just the way it was so that future generations can experience what we have and know this love now in our hearts.

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Safari Afternoons

I will never forget hearing the first roar from a lion. My entire body filled with adrenaline, fear, anxiety, total alertness. It is a sound that cuts straight to the center of your chest, an emotional reaction that feels today the same way it must have felt to humans thousands of years ago. We would cruise around, tracking paw prints in the sand. It was always breathtaking when we found our animal, it was always the most beautiful thing.

There were these wonderfully quiet moments where we would just sit in silence among the wild and all the world felt in perfect harmony. In contrast we had other times where we were speeding through the African tundra, chasing a lioness on the run, our hearts racing! “Tattle tail” birds would scream warnings of the predator on the move while giraffe, zebras, and impalas ran for their lives. Fear and adrenaline pump through your blood, a high we felt for hours. Being in the presence of something much stronger and more powerful than you, understanding and observing the circle of life, how it is such a beautiful balance, makes you respect and appreciate the world just as it is when it just IS.

We were so fortunate to stay at this beautiful resort but even if you were anywhere else, it doesn’t change the way the sunrise looks in the misty morning, the quiet way elephants migrate past you or the feeling in your soul when a lion looks you right in the eye…

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A Trip to the Farm

So I live in New York City which means I basically think the trees in Central Park are ‘wildlife’ . I think the last non-pet animal I saw was a raccoon hanging out on a fire escape on 2nd ave, and no, it wasn’t a hipster in disguise. When I called Animal Control I got the usual New Yorker response, “what do you want us to do about it?” and click. So when I get to go places with REAL wildlife I feel the excitement of discovery like when I was a little girl growing up in Texas collecting worms in my grandma’s back yard.

The animals are apart of Alldredge Orchards in Platte City, Missouri and while running around in my overalls and red lip gloss chasing chickens, picking apples and wondering into barns I’m sure I wasn’t allowed in I felt just like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz. I can see how these characters could come to life in the imagination if left alone there (here’s where I push away from my work desk and break out into “somewhere over the rainbow”). I wonder how this would compare to the Tyson farm… which reminds me I need to see Food Inc. Anyway, please do meet my new farm friends: