Those who know me well, and particularly my family, will be the first to tell you that I am not one who has any intention of sitting around idly when there are places to explore and things to see. This has been the case with me in Africa since the very beginning and I cannot recall for the life of me a day in which I had decided to just stay put and relax. Well, mostly relax I should say. The typical work schedule here has always been six days of clinic and then we would have “safari Sunday” in which I would take all of the residents and whoever else we could fit into the Land Rover to one of the game parks nearby and spend the day on safari. That would typically mean leaving FAME at around 5-6am on Sunday, arriving to the park bright and early so as best to catch all of the animals before the sun was too hot, and then driving around the park typically until late afternoon and then back home. That would mean a 12+ hour day of driving for me along bumpy roads while keeping my eyes peeled for animals the entire time and constantly starting and stopping the vehicle when we were viewing lest the engine noise or rumble distract from any photography or videos. Don’t me wrong, now, for this is perhaps my absolute favorite thing to do in the whole world and it will be a cold day in hell before I ever plan on giving it up. Had anyone ever told me that I’d be doing this at some point in my life, I would have immediately started evaluating them for an encephalopathy (inside joke) or thought they were psychotic with a complete lack of reality testing.
So being here alone, with not only my residents, but no other volunteers as well, for the first time in forever, I had the rare opportunity to spend the day in the Raynes House, by myself, mostly relaxing or at least not spending my day at the wheel of an oversized SUV that seats nine comfortably, or more if needed, and drives a bit like a tank with wheels. The prospect of this possibility, that is to have an entire day to myself in this amazing place, was a bit overwhelming for me, though I knew with firm discipline and planning I could probably pull it off successfully.
I was up quite early, for I wished to text with someone back home who I knew would likely be fading fast in the twilight hours given the seven hour time difference. I knew that I would be able to take a nap later given my lack of a schedule and despite the fact that I didn’t think life was actually possible without deadlines or an agenda, I somehow managed to accomplish all that I hadn’t really planned. I played my classical music and opera that no one I usually travel with would tolerate and after several cups of tea, I finally decided to have my breakfast of avocados, tomatoes and bell peppers with scramble eggs and toast. Yes, it was truly a glorious morning and I was going to make the most of it. I followed up breakfast with my very first nap in one of the three hammocks I have here as I immediately discovered that I wanted a to every just lay in a hammock, there would have to be more than one when living in a household of five or six individuals.
Now don’t get me wrong, a day of total relaxation for me does include some busy work on the computer, but it’s still relaxing for me when it’s not on a schedule and if something doesn’t get done, it’ll just get done later. I managed to work a bit on my blogs, took care of some of my patient messages back home, read, and just basically did some busy work that needed getting done. I had originally planned to go to Gibb’s Farm for lunch by myself, but ended up deciding that even that was more of a chore than I wished and ended up cancelling my reservation. For those of you who know Gibb’s Farm and my love for the place, you can imagine the significance of my skipping an opportunity to visit this spectacular place with it’s fantastic gardens and lovely veranda with view of Karatu and FAME far below. I will admit, though, that part of my decision was also based on the fact that Gibb’s has been particularly careful about allowing outside guests who are not staying there with the hope of reducing the risk of someone bringing in coronavirus, and I felt a bit selfish going there just so that I could relax and have a nice lunch.
All in all, it was a wonderful day and even though I didn’t leave FAME in search of adventure for an entire day when I had the opportunity to do so, the world didn’t come to screeching halt and life continued on as normal. I was also grateful that I had some time for self-reflection that is all too often missing from our lives. And, oh yes, that nap in the hammock was truly awesome and I look forward to doing it again soon.