From a young age, I’ve enjoyed the thrill of exploring new places and spaces. Seeds of the adventurer had an early stirring for me. I recall the excitement as a young boy of watching my uncle board the Union Castle passenger liner in Cape Town harbour to begin his career on the seas. For me, it is not just the excitement of seeing new places. It is also about absorbing the new natural environment, observing the local culture and meeting new people. It is a lot of in vivo learning thrown together in a delicious breyani: geography of the location, history of the place, environmental studies of the flora and fauna, studying how people interact and their local customs, and other ingredients like the food they eat.
Some call this a wanderlust – a passion to wander, to meander, to explore, and to discover. For me, the external observing is not sufficient; I can do this on a daily basis. The external observing has to be accompanied by an internal observing as well. How does what I have observed, learnt, and noted (and perhaps the questions that surface for me from my observations), impact my sense of who I am, and my understanding of my interaction with the natural, social and spiritual world? This internal reflection is important for me in considering if my experience is to be only for my own benefit or for other purposes as well.
As I write this first musing, I’m sitting in the forward lounge of the MV Kennicott, a US ferry, on a five-day adventure bound for Whittier, Alaska, embarking on a bucket list experience. For the moment, I am intrigued by the serene azure blue setting with rolling mountains, channels, verdant islands, placid waters and cloudy sky that dominates my senses and my reflections.
I’m blessed to feel the excitement of being a wandelvogel, engaging with nature and wilderness in a unique way.
Food for thought:
- What is one of the childhood dreams that has inspired you and your life’s journey?
- How are you living out that dream?
- How can I turn my dream into reality? What are stepping stones to help me move in that direction?