A Memorable Place

Who needs luggage for a safari?

By Brian Andrews


When I arrived in Nairobi, Kenya, for a two-week safari, my luggage did not.

I did not bring a carry-on bag because of warnings about lack of space on safari vehicles. The airline that lost my luggage, British Airways, said the luggage would come on the next flight and they would contact me at my hotel.

Two days and three flights later, my luggage had not arrived and my tour was departing. Could I really go on a two-week safari with only my journal and the clothes on my back? I didn't even have my camera.

I made my decision to go, even though I was worried about not having malaria medicine, worried that I had had my daily contact lenses in for four days (causing a massive headache), and angry that I had come across the world for a once-in-a-lifetime trip, only to be stewing in my own worries.

That first day was rough.

But then an Australian who knew of my predicament gave me a bottle of contact lens cleaner, and my Irish tour mate Deirdre emptied two film containers to hold the lenses. I sat the rest of the day unable to see anything, but I was ec- static that my headache was gone.

Deirdre's sister gave me a malaria tablet, and a British couple, Ric and Gill, gave me supplies and some of Ric's shirts. Everyone on the tour helped me, even if it was only to offer a smile -- when you have nothing, that can mean the world.

Despite all the hardships, I enjoyed the trip immensely -- the game drives and camping on the Serengeti, hiking up Mount Kilimanjaro, watching the sunset on the Indian Ocean from the white beaches of Zanzibar. I bought a camera and took many pictures, including wildebeest on the Serengeti.

I went to Africa for a unique experience and that's exactly what I got. It's why I love travel -- it takes you to the very edge of your comfort zone and pushes you right off.

It was invigorating to know how little I actually needed to survive, but I couldn't have done the trip without the help and laughter -- there was much laughter -- of my fellow travelers. Ric, Gill, Deirdre, Christen and Lisa, wherever you are in the world, thank you.

My luggage, by the way, arrived in Nairobi the day before I was to return home -- two weeks late. I checked it in for the flight home, and when I arrived, the airline had lost my luggage again.

Two weeks earlier, if you would have told me all that was to happen, I would have stayed home, thinking I was incapable of surviving the experience. But there I was at the end of my journey: home and in one piece. I strolled out of the airport stronger than when I went in two weeks earlier.

And I guess that's the whole point.

Brian Andrews lives in Cockeysville.

My Best Shot

Music maker

Edward Reardon, Washington

This photo was taken during a trip to Rajasthan, India, last month. I was celebrating my 60th birthday with a camel safari on the Thar Desert. The photo is of Kasnaram Dholli, one of the musicians who entertained us as we rode daily and by the fireside in the evenings.

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After a brief ferry crossing at Essex, N.Y., we were in Burlington, Vt., enjoying dinner and a view of the Adirondacks from the calming shores of Lake Champlain. While in Vermont, we spent a day at the spectacular Shelburne Museum, in Shelburne. On our trip home, we returned through the Adirondack Mountains of New York, which capped a perfect trip.

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