Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Destination Africa!

A nine-to-five job has its advantages, the most obvious of which is a predictable income, but unless you're one of the lucky few whose vocation is also a passion, it's simply a means to an end when all is said and done. I know that view will be interpreted as either sad and cynical, or honest and realistic, depending on your own disposition and world view. Or perhaps I just need a change of job! 

My wonderful partner Sandi provides the love and support that forms the bedrock for a happy and fulfilling life, but as those of us with an artistic temperament know, we're also driven by the need to seek out the kind of experiences and inspiration we can transform into something concrete to be shared with others, regardless of the other positive elements present in our lives. I suppose I feel some guilt at feeling this way, knowing that many people the world over would envy my circumstances, but I also acknowledge that the need to create is not something that can be turned on or off - it's part of our DNA. No, this is not news!

Photo by Sandi's daughter, Jane, from her recent African trip.

I've grappled increasingly with this issue in recent years, and live with a constant, gnawing sense that time is running out if I'm to ultimately achieve any of my personal artistic goals. True, I might live for another thirty years, but it would be foolish of me to take good health - and good eyesight especially - for granted. Despite the fact that my output of paintings has come in fits and starts, with years sometimes separating bursts of enthusiasm, I still have an unshakeable belief that by broadening my experiences, and with the right sensory inputs, I can produce the paintings I see in my mind's eye. I'll leave it to others to judge whether this faith has been well-founded.

With the foregoing thoughts in mind, I've finally made up my mind to visit Africa, with Botswana my chosen destination. It's hard to ignore the appeal of the Serengeti and Masai Mara, with the annual mass migration of wildebeest and zebra a huge drawcard, but with a budget to consider, the trip I've selected offers diversity as well as value for money. I'm not terribly fussed about travelling in luxury, and I was careful to seek out a package that wasn't focussed on luxurious accommodation and fine dining, as so many of them seem to be. The basic, grass-roots packages are more appealing, but seemed more difficult to find. 

This is what I can look forward to:

"This trip provides a comprehensive travelling experience throughout Botswana for those with
an adventurous spirit looking to see the wild side of Africa. Few trips can offer such a diverse
and stimulating experience as we traverse the country from the vast and Kalahari, home to
the San Bushmen to the magnificent game reserves in the north. Continuing into the world
famous Okavango Delta we explore this wildlife-rich region by traditional Mokoro canoe and
on foot. Whether you are a wildlife enthusiast or on your first African safari, there are few
places on earth that are as impressive as Moremi Game Reserve and the Chobe National
Park, where huge herds of elephants roam. To conclude this spectacular adventure we cross
into Zambia to visit the thunderous Victoria Falls."