Growing up, my parents told me countless stories of their lives that both captivated me in awe and amazement and which inspired me to do and be more. I heard about road trips and incredible jobs and travels and wild adventures. They spared few details - a fact I respected them for - and I laughed when their stories took a turn for the bizarre and smiled with every new tale. They were daring and pushed themselves. I remember knowing from a very young age that I had the coolest parents on the planet. This, I resolved, was undoubtable. I wanted to be just like them.
I wanted to have stories of my own to tell. Ones that would make my personal narrative hold memories and adventures that rivaled theirs. I wanted a glimpse at the full and vibrant life that my parents had shared with me. Their bravery to go and do and see everything gave me the strength to challenge myself too. They were my heroes for living their lives to their greatest extent. That is how I always felt, and continue to feel, about them.
Being raised by these two very adventurous and fun-loving parents who came of age in the '60s, it was inevitable that I would be a perpetual "flower child". The ideals I was raised with gave me a sense of purpose and a deep respect for community. Peace, love, and happiness were the end goal. If you could get there by dancing to the beat of a different drum (perhaps an African drum), then all the better. And it is because of them that I am where I am now and can tell so many great tales.
I am living in Africa. I have traveled halfway around the world and back. I have gotten up close and personal with elephants and lions, quad biked on the sand dunes, and out ran a hippo. I have explored Israel, sailed through the Bosporus, danced with strangers into the early morning in Istanbul, scuba dived with 300 pound groupers, and backpacked around Europe. I have lived without water and electricity and among some of the scariest creepy crawlies imaginable. And I have raised over one million pula in donations for agencies around Botswana. I have many stories to tell now... And sometimes it feels like my life is just beginning.
This post is a dedication of these stories and a tribute to my parents. They are a reflection of you and what you inspired me to do with my life. I am beyond grateful that you chose to share your exciting lives with me and pushed me to go out and live mine to the fullest. Thank you. Because of you I will never wonder what could have been but rather be able to say "This one time in..."