I blame my fear of the bush on growing up in a quiet suburban town where only squirrel’s and doves disturb the tranquillity. It’s not that I am afraid of animals, I’m just not used to them being in my backyard! After all squirrel’s and doves are predictable, bull elephants are not. I’m also used to my comfortable bed with a carpet beneath my feet and the glorious joy of electricity where my only fear during the night was the incessant buzzing of a mosquito keeping me awake. The only animal I have ever had sleeping near (or on) me is a fluffy domesticated cat that purrs (doesn’t roar). It’s safe to say my sheltered life has left me very afraid of the unknown and happy in my comfort zone.
I also love my flushing toilet with built-in seat that is the perfect height off the floor. I have seen a few bush toilets where you hover over a hole in the ground balancing with one hand outstretched with toilet paper and the other one pegged over your nose. I am sure I would eat less just to avoid that uncomfortable position. Even if there is a seat (like in the image above) I would hover over it!
And then there’s the dust and the heat, mixed together in one glorious concoction of sweaty mud that sticks with you until you reach your campsite where you can look forward to a quick shower under a bucket of water. Yay!
But surely all cannot be doom and gloom, or can it? I have failed to mention my complete ‘freak out panic button’ I have when faced with a creepy crawly. The problem with creepy crawlies, is that they creep and crawl, nothing should creep and crawl unless it is out of a horror movie. They also suddenly appear. One minute you are sitting by the camp fire sipping on a coffee and the next a spider triumphantly appears on or near your leg, you can’t just swat it like a fly. What you do is freeze and stare and wait until someone else takes care of it. Now you are expected to enjoy a restful night centimetres off the ground in the dark with no chairs to climb onto…help!
Early mornings are another reason to shrink back into my hermit hole. I’m not a morning person and the thought of rising when the world is still dark leaves me quite happy to let the early birds catch the worms. I am sure the sunrise looks just as pretty as the sunset…
I realise too that on a safari you can’t necessarily choose your tent mate or know their sleeping habits. Snoring or loud conversationalists means practising patience I don’t have and checking into a hotel room in the middle of the night is not an option.
So I have just about covered all my fears of the bush,
I have one BIG fear I have not mentioned yet – the fear of missing out! While writing this article I was realising more and more that my fears are just that – fears. Just a few things that are keeping me from having a BIG ADVENTURE. I realise too that if I don’t face these fears, how many other fears in my life won’t I face?
So I thought of all the things I would miss out on when going on a safari:
Rising to the golden hue of the morning sunrise, despite the resistance of my warm body that is snuggled in my sleeping bag, and enjoying a cup of coffee around the campfire while warming my hands and toes.
Viewing a pride of lions with cubs playing and frolicking in the bush as I snap memories with my camera.
Vast expanses of unbroken landscape.
The sunset on this boat:
Feeling proud to say I erected my own tent.
Sleeping beneath a canopy of stars with the quiet rustling of the leaves or the occasional roar of a lion.
So after ranting and raving about all those things that hold me back I am open to facing my fears! I can open up a whole new world and expand my horizons that are as beautiful as this: