Earlier this year while on a trip to South Africa, I decided to embark on an alternative form of safari. I absolutely adore giraffes and all I wanted was to get a little bit closer than is normally possible, what with the usual constraints in the form of a car or the fence of a zoo…
As my friend and I drove into the national park, I glared at the burning sun. I hopped out of the car and let my feet sink into the scorched, orange earth. It was hot, too hot, but we didn’t drive all this way with two mountain bikes in the back of the car for nothing. Slipping my helmet on, I started to feel the adrenaline rush that I usually experience before going on a new adventure; it felt good. We set off up the dusty trail, and before long we were scraping and bumping between nearby rocks. At one point my front wheel decided to flirt with a rather large rock and I was almost thrown off guard; that was when I noticed her.
She was looking down at me with her wide, graceful eyes. I stared back at her in amazement. She ever so delicately took a few steps backward as I lifted myself from the dust. I wanted to laugh and run into the long grass, but I found myself frozen on the spot. I blinked and five more appeared on the horizon. They drifted through the reeds and formed a semi-circle, the two of us at the center.
They stood and watched us. We watched them back. No one moved an inch and no words were spoken. The clouds sweeping by revealing an undertone of blue was the only sound. Silence in all its beauty. We stood there, enveloped in the moment, not daring to move for frightening them or ruining this encounter with elegance.
The next time you’re traveling or road-tripping, why not get a little closer to your subject? If I’d been in the safety of a car, I doubt my encounter with the giraffes would have been that magical. So, put on your adventure face, grab your favorite Lomo camera and go satisfy your wanderlust. Perhaps you’ll encounter something extraordinary!