After last week’s provocative post on assumptions about Africa, it only felt right to throw in a heavily stereotypical post about life lessons I learnt in the jungle. You know, just to confuse you all.
My dearest readers, I hope you have a nice cup of tea or a drink to go with this post because things are about to get real. As a proudly African blogger, I was extremely excited to go on a family excursion to a safari. It felt like a breath of fresh air after spending so many months locked up inside, but not for the reasons you may be thinking. If you’re a blogger too, you know that the first thing that pops into mind is content. When you go to the grocery store and someone bumps into you, you write a blog post about it. If you ate a banana split, you concoct different blogging ideas based on your meal.
Well, my jungle experience made me realise a few things about myself.
When my father-in-law invited us on a road trip, I wasn’t quite aware that it included a stay in a lodge… in the middle of a safari. Now here’s the thing, staying in a lodge is always a fun experience regardless of where you are. But the minute you are warned to be on high alert for animals and not to head outside after it gets dark, you would be crazy not to freak out.
Ironically, my two-year-old was excited to see warthogs munching on the grass outside our window. She even wanted me to catch one of the monkeys in the trees and take her to pet the impalas! Oh, how nice life must be when you are so naive…
This is extremely important for two reasons:
- It sets the foundation for the life lessons I learnt.
- It might make you think twice before making assumptions about Africans
Numero uno of the life lessons: Nature can help your mental health
This one is a no-brainer. If you are stressed out and need a break, take some time out away from the city. We all know that to be the case, but most of us do it with electronics, at a beach, and take lots of selfies. You would get a completely different experience if you went somewhere less commercial and left all of the connections to modern society behind.
I don’t do camping, but there was something really nice about sitting around a fire and watching the flames burn. The fresh air and greenery seemed to clear my mind, and listening to birds chirping while I lay in bed felt quite therapeutic. I have also never slept as well as I did over the three day stay. As someone with insomnia, that was quite an interesting realisation. Maybe it is about time I lived in the jungle?
Internet takes away from bonding time
So, remember when I said we drove into a safari for a few days? Well, the place didn’t have wifi. Let that sink in.
As a millennial, the internet is part of my DNA. In fact, most times I turn to Dr. Google before I even consider visiting my GP! Long story short, the internet is really important for many components of my life. And I don’t say that in a bratty way. Without the internet, I can’t blog, work, or find quick health solutions when needed.
So no wifi – why not just use my data? Well, there wasn’t wifi because there was no signal, not because the lodge didn’t pay for it. So automatically, finding signal to even take a call became a Dora the Explora mission.
As a result of not having easy access to the internet, I spent quite a bit of time talking to my real-life people. It actually felt weird to an extent, but it was also a great experience. There also happened to be no TV in sight, so we really got to experience the jungle for what it was. Well, outside of the cabin, that is.
Have you taken some time away from the internet to just exist in your reality?
Phobias can worsen with time
As a child, I watched a movie about a black widow spider that crawled into people’s shoes and stung them. In that same movie, a little girl nearly died from the venom of the creepy crawly. Almost twenty years later, that movie is still engrained in my brain. If I see a spider web, my skin crawls and just the tough of one makes my heart race. The only spider I like is the one in Marvel… you know, Spider-Man!
When my husband and I went on a safari drive in an open-top jeep, I found myself wishing he would drop the camera and hold me. Of course, it was such a fun experience, but with spiders everywhere, I was almost certain I would return to my daughter with superpowers – if at all! I didn’t care that there were lions just inches away from us in an open jeep. I didn’t care that there were cheetahs roaming free. All that I could think about was how to keep the spiders out of my hair and away from me.
Just to take the focus away from the spiders, here’s a mama lion sizing us up for dinner. Spoiler alert, we weren’t up to her standards. How cool is that?
I don’t actually love camping
I have always considered myself to be an animal lover. In fact, I’m almost certain that I spent more time with my dogs as a child than I did with friends. Animals are amazing; they don’t judge, they are affectionate and very simplistic. If I could, I would probably even switch out my grumpy colleagues for a litter of puppies!
But I digress.
Sleeping in the jungle, on a comfy king-sized bed is not the same as camping. It is also not a similar experience when you have both a fan and an air conditioner unit conveniently placed in your room for comfort. My father-in-law must’ve guessed that about me, or shares the same sentiments because he made sure that nature did not make it into our beds.
When we actually went on the safari we were one with the wild. But that only worked in small doses.
Why am I mentioning this? Well, it goes back to the stereotypes about Africa. We are definitely living in such a nature-filled continent, but that does not mean we are happy without the common comforts of modernisation. This wasn’t one of my life lessons, but I thought I would throw it in for the few who think that Africans sleep on animals and bath in rivers.
Ok, I’ll stop being cheeky and show you another cool part of being on a game reserve… This big fella was munching on some trees not too far from our cabin!
And with that, I’ll call it a day.