The Ides of March

Celebrating my birthday in Africa was a bit surreal.  The longer I’m here, the more of it that I want to explore, since I have yet to see much of the continent outside of Zimbabwe, save for a day trip to Chobe National Park in Botswana, and a couple trips over to Livingston, Zambia while I was in Victoria Falls.  I’ve been thinking of how to include some visits to Tanzania and Kenya, in particular, to see the Serengeti, Ngorongoro, and Masai Mara while I’m still in Africa, as well as to see more of Zimbabwe, as it’s said to be one of the most beautiful countries in Africa, and from what I’ve seen so far, I can attest to that.

It’s hard to believe that it’s been exactly a month since my last post.  The last month has been both rewarding and challenging.  I’ve had moments of wondering what the hell I’ve done to spend the amount of money that I have to come here and deal with so many challenging factors, and yet, I’ve had some amazing moments as well, such as spending more time with the lion cubs, and also getting to see some friends that I made when I was in Victoria Falls during a short visit to that side of the country.  Overall, this experience is a blessing, even with its challenges, and I try to remain focused on that every day.  To do it again, I may have devoted less time to one place and incorporated more travel into my time, but I opted to spend it here to absorb as much as I can about animal management and care, with the goal of continuing on this path in the future.  And so in that sense, I’m committed to getting as much value out of my investment as possible, all while doing what I can to support the amazing work of ALERT and African Impact.

I have been blessed with the support of a couple members of the leadership team here at Antelope Park, and that makes a huge difference, and I work alongside some very dedicated and interesting people, which is great.  It can be challenging not to get overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of the issues of human – wildlife conflict, never mind the widespread poverty and community needs; it’s the gratitude of the people in the community, and the health and well-being of the animals that makes it all worthwhile.  My alarm used to go off in the morning to get up and go work my ass off to make other people wealthy, and now my alarm goes off to get up and go feed baby lion cubs most days.  Such a different world.

I still don’t know what the future holds, and I continue to be surprisingly at peace with that.  I’ve been a planner my whole life, always having a roadmap, sprinkled with a bit of spontaneity along the way.  I know that the reason that I’m dealing so well with the unknown is that I’m at peace with my life, and I know how lucky I am to be able to say that.  It’s been far from a perfect life, and I’ve known much sorrow and heartbreak, but I’ve also known incredible joy and love.  Inner peace cannot be bought, bribed, stolen, forced, or faked — you either have it or you do not.  If I’ve learned nothing else in my 45 years on the planet, I’ve learned that validation can only come from within.  Having that, surrounded by the beauty of this place, receiving so many birthday wishes from the other side of the planet back home, and spending the day with lions, all combined to make an otherwise blah birthday a little more special.

15 thoughts on “The Ides of March

  1. Craig Young

    Happy Birthday Stacy,
    We really enjoy your posts and I was wondering about you having not heard from you for a while.
    We’ve had a lot of rain and wind lately here.
    Looking forward to your next post:)

    Craig & Joyce

    Like

  2. jenndn

    Stace-What profound and true statements, no surprise coming from you but I’m so glad that your challenging and incredible experience is directly informing your words. I think of you and your work in Africa often–what an impact you are making there and on the other side of the world through your blog and FB posts. You have always been a person to live with great purpose no matter your activity and for that (and so much more) I am grateful. 🐅🐘

    Peace and love always to you.
    Jenn ❤️

    Like

    1. Thank you, Jenn, I appreciate it, especially coming from you. You’ve always been one of the people that I admire the most, and I’m so lucky to have had you in my life since we were kids. Sometimes it seems as if I’m making no impact at all, since the days are often filled with seemingly small tasks, but I remind myself to take a step back and view the whole. And that helps keep me going.

      Love you,
      S.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Larry Seigel

    Happy birthday Stacy!!

    All the best on your journey to the true meaning of life. Sounds like you’re almost there.

    Looking forward to your next post.

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  4. I think you’ll NEVER regret this, Stacy. It’s such an amazing experience. You are doing both good for the animals and learning, as you say, so much for yourself. I am so impressed with your pictures and your experience in general. I’ve shared it with my grandchildren as a possibility of something they could do that was of value. Looking forward to reading your next post and seeing some more great pictures. And I still think you should publish a book on all of this. Your pictures are fantastic.

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    1. I definitely won’t regret coming to Africa and spending time with the animals, for sure. Some challenges I’ve encountered have really tested my resolve, however, and so I just work through them the best I can. I’m so glad that my experience has inspired you to share it with your grandchildren, that’s great! I’m thinking more and more of a book someday, as one of my best friends is always encouraging me to consider it, so who knows! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Pinky

    Happy birthday Stacy!
    It’s amazing to read about your experiences, thoughts and that you have found some peace in your life. You are so dedicated to what you do, and you are truly inspiring. I’m so happy that i got to know you! 🙂
    Miss you, Stacy!

    – Pinky ❤

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  6. Maril Stratton

    Happy birthday, Stacy! I so appreciate your thoughtful reflections and your stunning photographs. Our Rick Steves buddy checks seem a lifetime away. What a trail you’ve blazed since then. Keep those posts coming!

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    1. It does seem so long ago, and yet again, like yesterday. I will always appreciate the lovely time with you on that wonderful trip! And I love that you’re following along with my current journey, it’s so nice to have such great support from such amazing people like you!

      Like

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