COM0014 – Blog #1: A Life Truly “LIVED”

In August of 2019 I set upon a journey that would change my life in more ways than I could ever have imagined at the time.

My mother was 82 years old and had traveled the world, yet there was one destination that had eluded her… Africa. When she turned 80, I said “Ya know Mom, you’re not getting any younger, if you’re going to hit Africa, you might want to do that sooner rather than later”. She laughed, I laughed and not much was said after that.

Fast forward to June of 2019… I had just returned from Vietnam and was sharing pictures and stories with Mom. We compared where we had been in Asia, our likes, loves, must sees and “you should skip that” attractions. During the conversation I again raised the issue of Africa. “Seriously Mom, you’re not getting any younger”. But this time her response took me by surprise. “I don’t think I’m going to make it to Africa” she said. I was shocked. “What do you mean? You can’t skip Africa!” Her response was not at all what I was expecting. “All of my travel buddies are either dead or too old to travel now”. I had no idea this was the reason that Africa seemed to be cast aside for so long. I responded without hesitation, “then its settled, we’re going to Africa”.

In one month I planned a 4 week trip to Kenya. Mom’s dream was to travel by safari and stay in a beautiful tent with a guide, a chef and every exotic animal in the warm, dry, spectacular Savanna. I had to explain to her that at 81, while romantic in thought, a tent was probably not really a practical, or comfortable choice. I think it was the thought of getting up in the middle of the night to use an “outhouse” that convinced her that I could find something equally as spectacular, while providing running water and a toilet. (lol). Welcome to Salt Lick Safari Lodge, Tiata Hills, Kenya.

For 27 days and 27 glorious nights, we explored all of the beauty, warmth and hospitality that Kenya has to offer. After a long flight, we spent a week relaxing by the ocean in an incredible spa resort. She loves the ocean and swam in the pool every day. We explored the history, people, food and culture of Mombassa for 7 days.

Then, it was off on safari for two weeks. Words cannot begin to describe the beauty of Kenya. The warm dry air of August, the incredible sunsets, with a sun so large and so close, it felt like you could reach out and grab it.

The curious, intelligent, wild animals of Africa were the obvious highlight of the trip. We spent days and days on safari in search of the ultimate “game”, the LION. We saw elegant, swift, spectacular elk; zebras in large wild herds; the truly ugly, yet adorable warthogs; the enormous, gentle herds of elephants and so many many more.

Until one day, we finally found the elusive lion. Not just a lion but a pride of four lions including three beautiful lioness and a brilliant, spectacular, very large, very sleepy male lion with a magnificent mane arounds his strong, elegant face. That was it, Mom had come to Africa, gone on safari and found her “MGM Lion”. The look on her face was absolutely worth every moment spent planning and every dollar spent travelling halfway around the world.

Mom said, it was the best trip of her entire life… and I agreed.

For Christmas, I had a brilliant book made for her of all of her favourite pictures from Africa. She was just thrilled and told me when she went home after her Christmas here in Ottawa that she looked at it EVERY day. On June 3rd, 2020, ten months after our trip to Africa, Mom died peacefully in her sleep. When I arrived to her home, I found her book of Africa, open on her coffee table.

She was an extraordinary women, who lived an extraordinary life. I will be forever grateful that I dropped my life, took a leap and shared this extraordianary experience with her.

One thought on “COM0014 – Blog #1: A Life Truly “LIVED”

  1. Wow Caron. Equisitly written. I can see Aftica thru your words, not just rhe photos and I can feel the joy and excitement of your Mom’s time with you for those 27 days . A truly wonderful read.

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