Traveling solo, the best memories are often of the people you meet along the way – many of whom you never see again but who make the experience that much better. I have met many people who came into my life for a short time period who made a lasting impression and I’m grateful to have shared my travels with them.
While waiting in the very plush common area of Elephant Camp prior to check in, I was introduced to Helen. She was also traveling on her own and like me, had just arrived at camp. We chatted for a little time before our lunch was ready and I could already tell that we had so much in common that we were going to get along. Rather than eat each at our own table, we ate together and caught up on all of our travels and background. We were presented a varied selection of breads, meats, cheeses arranged on a tea time tiered tray. Helen was funny, wry and honest in her observations. She was on a seven week journey from her home in New Zealand working her way through safari in Africa ending in London where she grew up and had family.
Did I mention that Helen is 83 and despite her cane had more energy and enthusiasm for the world than many half her age. She was ready to try anything which is why she joined me in signing up for a trio of activities during our short stay – we would do the elephant sunrise safari, the helicopter ride over Victoria Falls, tea time at the Livingstone Hotel and end the day with a leisurely sunset cruise on the Zambezi River. These would all be accomplished in one day – while it may seem aggressive, it really wasn’t. We would be up early for the sunrise safari, back for brunch and time to rest, then out in the afternoon for the flight, go to tea before the sunset cruise and back in time to get ready for dinner.
Meeting other travelers who share my passion for travel, to see the world and experience it until you can’t, is infectious – let’s all hope that we have the energy and the spirit at 83 to continue exploring the world like Helen.
Have you met your own Helen in your travels? What memories do you cherish that enhanced your solo travels?