Yellow moon arriving

Whenever I am anxious or afraid of a future journey, I just need to think back to this day. 

What amazing people I've met so far, and it's technically only the first 'day'... Even though it must have been two at leas.  I mean, I've eaten four dinners, slept three times, had five rounds of wine-bubbly, watched two movies and all of the latest season of The Mindy Project (which, by the way, I believe is the best show on non-tv, and not only do I have a girl crush on her, but find myself actually wanting to BE her.  Well, maybe not, but I do love the show.)  Anyways, this kind of adventure is what I live for.  Starting off, I thought this journey was going to be so long and so difficult, until I would finally reach my destination of Ulusaba.  What became clear over the past 24 hours, and what I probably knew deep down to begin with, is that the journey really IS the magic, not just the destination.  Meeting Nicole from Melbourne in the stand by line and loving her to bits and pieces, laughing out loud in the Etihad lounge amongst the room full of austere men, having Peter the barman run over to keep our glasses full and snap shots of us with our iphones, waiving a cheerful goodbye to everyone as I bolted out the door, running late because I couldn't tear myself away from the fun we were having with conversations about travel, life, growing up, and being kindred spirits;  the luck of being seated next to another Nicole from the US/Portugal/Brazil on board the flight, (she was supposed to be working the flight but had a cold soar, and had to call out sick because of the strict appearance standards that Etihad holds) chatting about the flying life, Abu Dhabi, and adventure;  striking up conversation with Jason, a native South African from Durban who's job is to deliver boats across the seas and was on his way home until his next assignment;  feeling the camaraderie from the beautiful mixture of international souls that made up the flight crew, all of us finding ways to send little treats to each other...chocolates, bubbly, tea, stories...

I'm so excited to be in South Africa when I step off the plane, happily far away from everything familiar for the next three weeks, surrounded by possibility.  Away from the usual, my heart beat is energized by the little gems of each turn.  I feel wonderfully vulnerable and open, yet admittedly still slightly nervous.  This is a good beginning, and I cheers this last glass of bubbly as I watch the deep, yellow moon outside the window as the faint lights of Africa start to appear below.  Hello again...

Day One of the Africa Project!

First leg of my journey, and already it has taken me on swings and dips that have taught me my first lesson.  Loosen the grip. 

As I sat in the passenger seat last night on my way to SFO, Rob asked me, "So, are you excited?"  I realized that I wasn't really showing signs of being so, and admitted that I was just anxious about making all of my flights and worried that things would go haywire.  I was flying standby the whole way, and I had an incredible amount of luggage, at least for my standards.  Was I getting myself in too deep?  Should I have left the lighting equipment at home?  Were they going to let me on with my heavy carry-ons, or my  batteries?  I couldn't relax through these beginning stages of nerves.  After all, I had been planning this in my head for over a year, and the day had finally come.  I was actually doing this crazy adventure, and my self doubts were creeping in.  I had planned, yeah, but not really.  I've never been one to outline an idea, make bullet points and excel sheets, budget, or line all my ducks up in a row.  No, unfortunately for my sanity, I am the fly by the seat kind, trusting that things will fall together if I just lay down the right pseudo foundation, and I believe that things morph anyways so why plan too strictly? This doesn't fare well for stress when things come down to the wire. 

So, it didn't help when the first flight I had booked was full and I had to come back home, tail between my legs.  But worse, I had a little devil appear on my shoulder whispering that this is how the whole trip was going to go now.  I found myself talking to it, agreeing that maybe I should just scrap the whole thing, I mean, it was so far to go, and did I really know what I was doing, and I am just getting over being sick, and... On the BART ride home, I WhatsApped my friend Luke in Abu Dhabi, pleading to see if he could find out more certain flight loads from AUH to JNB.  He calmly and lovingly told me that it was still up in the air as to what would happen, but hey, if I got stuck there I could stay with him and have a fun visit.  All of the sudden the little devil disappeared into a poof of thin air as I texted back to Luke. "Well, la aventura es la aventura!"  It's all an adventure.  And with those words, I found my excitement.  Because now it was not about succeeding or failing, getting thrown off path or having plans work out perfect, it's about the adventure.  This is MY adventure that I created and nurtured, and now I get to step into the vision and just see.  Just see what beauty walks with me, just see how I feel in this place, just see about me, and feel the emotions that only come by stepping out of your comfort zone.  I still have expectations, hopes, and fears, but they are all enveloped now by the excitement of possibility.  And that's what is making my heart beat with excitement today as I soar above the country on the way to my first stop:  New York.