travelling is transformative. it transports you to another world, another culture, another perspective. and when you return 'home', home all of a sudden feels less complete. less exciting. less fulfilling.
i've recently returned from a two and a half week trip to Zambia with my family and i'm currently experiencing the aforementioned feelings. whilst away, i was injected with a richness that wasn't monetary. it was a richness for a different way of living. although part of the richness was undoubtedly due to where we went and the people we met, a lot of the richness came from who we went with and how we spent that time.
every day was much the same in structure - 5:15am wake up, 6-11am safari, 11:30am lunch, 12:30pm-2:30pm read/swim/nap, 3:30-7:30pm safari, 8pm dinner, 9:30pm bed. so it would be easy to become bored, especially once those more elusive animals (leopards, lions. hunting dogs) had been sighted. but this is where one's company influences your experience. i was fortunate to go with my family - something i was admittedly more excited about than seeing wild animals. my family cared about seeing those elusive animals, as anyone does, but they had what many others didn't - an appreciation for all animals. an excitement for all animals. 14 days on safari can easily become mundane, but when there's a genuine excitement for a baby puku, or two impalas fighting, or a giraffe sitting down, or a hippo running, or the 30th squirrel, the monotony is never experienced.
a lot of my fondness from this trip is attributed to my family. to seeing the way they interacted with others. the way my brother embraced and learnt the local language. the way my other brother kept things fresh by implementing 'odds' of seeing certain animals. the joy and sparkle in my parent's eyes as they saw things they had yet to see on previous African adventures. but i think the best part about all of this was their presence. minimal wifi meant we were all there, all the time. we were content with just 'being'. there wasn't a rush, nor a need to share what we had seen with others back home - all of that could wait. we were fully immersed in our African experience and i think that is what made it what it was.
i've been home for nearly a week and i find myself constantly questioning; is this it? is this what every day of your life is going to look like? i've never been one to crave travel; i've always enjoyed the stability of being in one location and the company of my cats. but having travelled with my family and having enjoyed the immersive experience, i feel itchy for more. there's so much to learn and discover from other parts of the world. things that cannot be learnt from books or from others. there's a richness in travelling that cannot be substituted with money. a richness that is fulfilling. a richness that is transformative. a richness that i now crave.