Initially, my “African pilgrimage” was intended to be all for me, an opportunity for a grand life experience, to see an exotic, wild part of the world that has had me hypnotized since childhood. It would be an adventure worth re-telling, a passage of pushing myself past my pre-conceived idea of limits, beyond what any tree-straddling, poison ivy dodging, Spartan race surviving could ever push me to. It would surely be an evolution. But the more I think about it, the more I want to make this something more. I want to make this big, an opportunity to do more than just see the countries and the animals; I want to give them something, too. I can’t afford to donate the funding it would require to nurse injured animals back to health and accommodate the professionals to do it, but what I can do is actually physically help out, learn from it, flesh it out with more research, and possibly attract some of the funding needed by sharing the word.
I want to help monkeys in South Africa, to sweat in the jungles of Madagascar searching for fosas and lemurs, to cage dive and look a Great White in the eye, to help care for orphaned elephants and rhinos, to tend to injured cats. I want to do ALL of these things. I can. The only thing that could hold me back is the funding that I need in order to get there.
If I have learned one thing this year, it is that with the right amount of effort, creativity and determination, anything is possible.
The gears are turning, my friends. I think it’s time to make this happen. ;)