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My Big, Huge, Unbelievable News

Well, those of you who read this often probably have noticed a good deal of distraction on my part, over the last many weeks. I have a goal of 28 posts a month, and I missed a good handful in a row, though I made up some of them after the fact. Some months I don’t miss any days. Sometimes I even have multiple posts in one day.

So what could be distracting me so much? A sort of miracle has happened. I am going to be traveling with my dear friend Altu to three countries in Africa. We leave in less than two weeks. I’ll be gone five weeks.

Altu was born and raised in Ethiopia, although she has been here in the US a long time and has been a US citizen longer than I have known her. Her parents and a sister still live in Ethiopia (I have met them all when they have visited here). We are going back “home” to visit her family for about three weeks. We will also visit a friend of hers who lives in Nairobi, Kenya. And last, we will visit Egypt for a week as tourists… we will be staying in Cairo but expect to do a day-trip to Alexandria, which is about a two-hour drive from what we have been told by our Egyptian friends in Lansing.

I love the world, I hunger to know more of it. And for the most part, I have chosen a life that has not allowed me to pursue that hunger. Well, this time a miracle has happened, and my friend and I will be leaving for places I can not even imagine in my mind. Very soon.

Brian will stay home, as will Altu’s family. She has kids who need to stay in school. (Her restaurant will be in the competent hands of her Brother-in-Law, Charles.) Brian was a competent bachelor until we married in our mid-to-late 30’s. He will be fine. Oh, yes, we’ll miss each other, but we’ll do fine separated for a while. We have traveled separately before.

This is the longest trip I have ever taken. I’ve never been gone from home more than 10 days in a row. I have never needed a passport, either. I have been to Mexico, Jamaica and the Bahamas, as well as Canada… none of which has required a passport. Most of those trips were because of a job I once held, where the boss would take us on great weekend trips if we made sales goals she set. (I loved that benefit, let me tell you!)

Most of my independent travel has been within driving distance of my home. I put 250,000 miles on my last car and I’m up to nearly 90,000 on the current one. Most of those trips I made alone, and I would not have had it any other way. But for international travel it will be wonderful to be with a comrade and most of the time stay with her friends and family. I think I will get a better sense of life there, by doing it this way. (Altu’s husband suggests that I will need to learn how to slow down when I am there. I hope I can learn that, I think I am ready for the lesson.)

I realize that saying “I’m going to Africa” doesn’t have real meaning to me at this time. I don’t even know what that really means. I think it may take me some time after I return to process all I have taken in. While I am there, I will no doubt be living in the moment.

I’m taking my camera but not a computer. I understand that there are cyber-cafes in all the big cities we will visit, and we will do our best to post photos and commentary when we can. But I have no idea how regularly that will happen.

I’ve been distracted with doctor’s appointments, passport photos, all sorts of things that must be done before a trip of this sort. I’ve had a series of immunizations and I’m not done with those yet.

And for those who must tell me to be careful, I really do hear you. All travel is a risk, and perhaps more risk than being in familiar territory. However, something could happen to me in my own home and staying home is not a guarantee of safety.

In the end, we are all mortal and fragile. We must embrace the love of life and the world, and do what we can do to feel alive while we are here. Since I’ve lost loved ones very young, I think I have an urgency to experience things even more intensely than others. Every day is a gift, and I am aware of that as I live my life.

I have traveled alone by car to New York City, Boston, Chicago, Washington DC, Baltimore, Montreal, Minneapolis, and other cities whose names escape me right now. Most people would not do that, yet I would do it again in a heartbeat. At no time did any harm come to me in any of those trips. (More trouble has happened to me in my own “safe” hometown than anywhere on the road.) This time, my trip is by airplane and I will not be alone.

OK, back to the unbelievable list of tasks I must complete before my trip. Yes, it is a high-class problem to be this kind of busy! I’m not complaining, I assure you.

8 Responses to “My Big, Huge, Unbelievable News”

  1. Charlotte Says:

    Lynne, I’ve traveled overseas several times and can assure you that you see a different level of life when you stay with or visit for a meal, etc., with someone who lives in that country all the time. You’ll have a great time and come home with wonderful stories to tell us. The one caution I would have for you is a mite morbid but it is a suggestion that you make a will if you have not already done that. It’s a worthwhile thing to do so if the unthinkable happens, at least your things go to the people you want to have them. Given the world we now live in with a recognition of the possibility of terrorists around us anywhere we go, I even wrote out some instructions for my funeral before my last trip and gave it to my minister and left it on the bulletin board in my kitchen. I have definite choices for the music etc. and knew that leaving written instructions would take a burden off my sister at what I would hope will be a stressful time. I’d hate to think she wouldn’t miss me. But I went on my trip with the full confidence that I would be coming home again and had a wonderful time. You will too.

  2. Howlin' Hobbit Says:


    Much of what you and Charlotte posted was about safety concerns. Staying safe can be done without spending every moment worrying about it. Mostly it’s just common sense. You know… “sounds like a firefight to the east… head west”.

    Party on! :)

    Howlin’ Hobbit

    P.S. Needless to say, I’m jealous! ;)

  3. Emma Says:

    How fantastic ! You’ll have a marvellous time,filled with exciting new experiences.

  4. max Says:

    Ahh, Life is a banquet, and you my friend are definitely partaking of the feast! I can not wait reports from the road, as it were!

  5. ANN Says:

    Lucky you!! Have a GREAT time! I’ll look forward to reading about your adventures.

  6. Lorie Konopka Says:

    I’ll be thinking about you and your new experiences, but even more, I know you will get to see such wonderful things, and more colors to give back to us in words!!!
    Have a wonderful time!
    (Did I tell you that my first husband was from Nairobi, and that’s why I am soooo thrilled for you? He told such wonderful stories about growing up…)
    Enjoy it!!!!
    Lorie Konopka

  7. Kitty Says:

    I know you’ll have a wonderful time – and what a great opportunity! Can’t wait to hear about your adventures. Be safe.

  8. Ruth Says:

    You will have a wondeful time. What a great opportuity! Just watch your surroundings. I am so happy for you. Have a great trip. Will be interested to read about your trip.

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