Always go downhill.

If you’ve been following “Wherever you go, there you are” you’ve probably read my “About.” page. In it I wrote that posts about our travels were on the horizon. “Always go downhill” is a first glimpse of our very best trip ever!

We were lucky enough to have had some amazing adventures. Our gallivanting ended a few years ago when husband Peter’s lapsing memory made going anywhere difficult. As he jokes now, “Wherever he goes, he gets lost!”

But, no complaints!  We’ve been able to go places and see things that most people only dream of. We did a lot — nine trips in six years, plus family trips to the beach. Unforgettable all, to me anyway. My photos help Peter to remember bits and pieces.

African Safari – Part 1

We're at Victoria Falls, Zambia
Judy and Pete at Victoria Falls, Zambia.

Until eight years ago the only international travel I’d done was to England with my English husband. Well, I had been to the Canadian side of Niagara Falls when I was ten and to Nogales, Mexico, the border town south of Tucson, in my twenties. In my provincial view, those weren’t really “international” trips because there were no oceans to cross, no passports required. Oh, there was the one quick jaunt to France as part of a trip to England too — you can read “Photographic memories” here if you want.

I didn’t care if we ever went anyplace other than England.  But one January day eight years ago Peter threw into a casual conversation that he’d always wanted to do an African safari.

What do you mean, safari?” I yelped. I had never been adventurous, and he had never mentioned going any place other than across the pond to England.

I was a sixty-six-year-old brat and pitched every argument I could think of.  But when he asked if there was anyplace I might like to go besides England, I surprised both of us. “Norway,” I said. Norway wasn’t his cup of tea, but he scheduled a trip for June,  midsummer. What could I do but agree to a safari?

No sooner did he book a Botswana safari than we started getting information about the vaccinations needed, the preventative medications to carry, the clothing restrictions (grays, greens or khakis only, no blues, white or bright colors), and the limited bag sizes.

“Why would anyone want to go to a place where catching malaria, polio, hepatitis, typhoid, or yellow fever is a possibility?” I fretted.  A four-page questionnaire asked about our health history, diet limitations, and interests. One query left me panicked: “Will you be comfortable on long game drives where there are no ‘facilities’?”

Short answer: NO.  I’d never in my entire life been able to “relieve myself” in the woods.  An excuse for me to stay home perhaps? Would Peter go by himself?

I sought help from daughter Carolynn, an experienced camper who never had qualms about “answering nature’s call” in the out-of-doors. “Always ‘go’ downhill,” was her advice.  Not easy in the pancake-flat savannah we would be visiting.

In a travel catalog I found what I thought was a better answer, a Urinelle. The thing looks like an elongated paper ice cream cone, though open at both ends. It is designed for women to use when traveling in countries where the facilities are unhygienic. It’s meant to mimic male plumbing. All women know that men can be very resourceful when there are no plumbed facilities available.  However, when I tried the darned thing in the privacy of my own bathroom, my aim was off and I ended up mopping the floor.  

Going on a trip had just taken on a whole new meaning!

10 thoughts on “Always go downhill.

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