Written on: January 12, 2014
I visited in August 2012
I just finished rereading my journal from my Open Heart Safari of almost a year and a half ago, and it still brings goose bumps every time I read it. I had never considered doing a safari before I heard about the Open Heart Safari. But Tom’s passion in describing the trip, the prospect of stunning wildlife with intentional personal and spiritual connection, and a desire to do something special for myself motivated me to sign up. This was a very big commitment for me in terms of time and money. But once the trip started, I never once doubted that I’d made a good decision. By the end of the 2 weeks, it felt as if the entire trip had been designed and executed specifically for my personal benefit. The heart-opening activities (sharing our intentions and reactions with the group, poems, meditations, and movement) were powerfully effective in opening my heart to a deep impactful experience of the wildlife, wilderness, and local communities we visited. I started the trip hoping to get some clarity on my career direction. At the end of the trip I felt a major transformation in my life had been catalyzed, and that sense has continued more than a year later.
Here’s a (no doubt incomplete) list of highlights of the trip for me:
Nature: The majesty of the beautiful animals, the calm, peaceful beauty of the African bush, the expansive starry night sky, and experiencing the natural order of diverse types of animals, each with its own niche in the ecosystem, co-existing and playing their role, all helped me feel part of an amazing unified tapestry.
The people: It was striking how in the rural village of Kawaza, with no plumbing or electricity and few possessions, the people seemed so full of life and joy. I saw more joy in one morning in Kawaza than I see in a year in Philadelphia.
Zebra meditation: Sitting down to meditate, and after a few minutes discovering a zebra peering at me from inches away.
The close bonds and open hearted sharing among the group helped me experience the wildlife and communities we met in a deep way.
The accommodations in and near the parks were wonderful, especially the Gilligan's Island-like creative luxury using primitive materials in Kafue Park. Accommodations in towns were fine. Food was interesting and satisfying, occasionally gourmet. Transport was fine. Safari guides were incredibly skilled and knowledgeable, and eager to share their knowledge. Trip leaders Tom and Laura are gems and they inspired close bonding among the group.
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