Updated: Dec 9, 2021
“A Russian, an American, and a Swiss were driving through the bush…”
This was our running joke as we toured Zambia with KLA – Kuzmina, Lockwood, Anita travel – our affectionate collective name for the dear friends we visited in Zambia.
|Could tell all the logistics. Sasha planning, hunkered over her computer, maps, tour chats, emails to various venues, etc. Her easing us into it from local reptile farm - featured in the lead image and below -
- to 12 nights in tents in 6 different locations. Six chests on the roof of two off road vehicles named Moby and Dick, etc etc.
Featured Moby & Dick, the vehicles who sported us around Zambia in various stages; on the red Zambian 'road', across water on twig rafts, at coffee break in the bush, plus us at a campsite at sunset.
|Could tell all the sordid details of 15 total nights in a tent, hundreds of kilometres traveled off road, all the locations visited. Meeting the grandsons of the second Zambian citizen, a British subject. Then there is the list of animals spotted. Claudio hit the jack pot, on his first safari ever we literally saw all the big African 5, minus one, the rhino.
Lions at sunset.
When asked if he would join us two days later for another safari drive, his response, ‘I have already seen everything, leopards, lions, buffalo, wild dogs, etc etc’. Hippos, zebras, and elephants as common as flies.
Kudu at sunrise.
|Could recount all the experiences. The immense gratitude, intense respect, and pure joy.
However, the real reason I went to Zambia was to visit friends and self. The real reason I go anywhere. Even in my wildest dreams I could not have predicted the impact of this visit. The reminder to keep life simple. To prioritize, to let go and not sweat the small stuff. Little do Sasha and Glen know how they inspire and embody what life CAN be. In their very essence they are living lighthouses shining the beacon of what is possible when one is clear, focused, and in a grateful frame of mind. Like fish living in water, they swim about not realizing the very magic of their existence.
Glen, myself, and Sasha on the Zambezi.
Friends from the very beginning of my Russia life, we all met in Vladivostok in 1996. He, an American, was working for an NGO. She, a Russian, was in her second year of medical school. From the minute I met them, their light was clear. Different in its expressions, and still from the same source – Live life. Be grateful by waking up every day and living life 150%. No time to moan and lament, regret, or punish. Live. Open to the possibilities of life, committed to living fully. Living life every day with integrity. Mistakes, disasters, equally as valid as joys and miracles. All life. For me, they are the poster people for living life on purpose.
I am not sure they would see it the same way I do. They do not sit for hours meditating, or twist into yoga pretzels. They are neither abstemious with alcohol nor in any way pretending to perfection. They are simply living. Like fish swimming in water, with no idea what water is, they are completely unaware of their own extraordinariness. They circle in a world with people like them, and when people are not like them, as a matter of course they shine their light all the brighter to invite them to be, literally to be. They do not preach how people need to be or judge how people are. They leave space for everyone to be who they are, to fit into life as they do.
Us with Sasha and Glen after a private tour of Shiwa Ngandu. After 3 days in Kapishya hot springs where we ate like royalty, lounged in the springs at sunrise and sunset, and enjoyed the company of the owner Mark and his band of loveable dogs.
They are so living their own lives on purpose that they do not have time, or need, to comment on or fix others. Being with them is the definition of living on a high-flying disc. The air is clean, light, and fully oxygenated.
KLA travel, until we meet again, wherever that may be. Thank you for being.
This post serves as thank you letter and inspirational reminder to self. Between the four of us we have hundreds of photographs and videos. Here, the scenes that moved me most, still and on video. If, like a dear friend of ours recently indicated, you enjoy viewing every detail of every picture in a ‘serata diapositive’ (evening slide show), give us a ring and we will make some popcorn and do a formal viewing. Otherwise, take a moment on your own to be inspired.
ENDANGERED. The African wild dog also called the African painted dog and the African hunting dog, is a wild canine which is a native species to sub-Saharan Africa. They are not domestic dogs gone wild. We saw them three times in two different places. Super lucky!
Playful, clever, thieves. Baboons equally amused and tortured us. At the end of the day, their character touched me and the photos here give testament to them. Note, bottom right, there is a wart hog opposite the prancing baboons.
Elephants. Elegant and nearly silent. They dot the vast landscape with their enormous charm.
We brought along our own wild animals too. Claudio and the kids had the backseat all to themselves. He set them up in their throne and together we traveled hundreds of kilometres, Sasha driving all the way.
Top hippo pod with mom and baby sunning on the sand. Bottom, hippo sat in this spot all day totally blissed out, his yawn was a sight to see.
This massive, powerful beast slid into the mighty Zambezi light as a feather, totally awed us.
Rescue mission complete. Top, three amigos after puling out a public transport from the sand and up a hill - as seen bottom.