The Christmas tree that was once laden with ornaments no longer adorns the living room. The carefully wrapped gifts are opened. The thank you notes are written (hopefully!). Christmas Day 2011 and the gifts traditionally given are now memories.
Many years at Christmas-time I worry that my girls will not remember all of the gifts that they receive because the day becomes a mass of activity and a resulting blur…This year was different. This year, Matt’s parents gave all of us a gift that keeps on giving.
Our family traveled to Kenya on a safari for Christmas. This trip marked the first major family vacation in the almost 16 years that Matt and I have been married. Worry about leaving my animals and my business for a significant period of time, worry about taking my children half way across the world, and worry about the safety and logistics of the trip all plagued me in the days prior to our departure. I remember having a phone conversation with my mom a couple of days before we left where my stress-laden voice cried, “Is it worth all of this work just to go on vacation? It would be easier to just stay home!”.
I am a home-body. I am comfortable in my world that consists of my family, my farm, and my town. I am a creature of habit and normal routines are important to me. While this trait is very helpful when managing a cattle feed yard where the animals need constant and consistent daily care; the down side is that I tend to develop a tendency toward tunnel vision.
When I think back on all of the gifts that I have been given over the years, it is the gifts that bring me additional knowledge and perspective that I cherish the most. My life is a series of experiences, and each one has played a huge role in making me the person that I am. From my background in competitive athletes, to my education at Dartmouth College, to my years of learning to care for animals and run a business-I am certainly a different person today than I was twenty years ago. While I am very proud of the person that I have become, I also recognize that in order to benefit from continual growth that sometimes I need to go outside of my comfort zone.
In order to think outside of the box, I have to go outside of the box…
The trip was absolutely amazing. The culture and the animals both fascinated and captivated the psychologist and animal lover in me. I filled half of a journal with notes and asked thousands of questions. I am planning to write a series of posts to share my experiences and insights: agriculture, food and culture, and the beautiful and wild animals that call Kenya home…Perhaps by reading my posts your knowledge and perspective will be broadened just as mine was. After all, it is not every day that a Feed Yard Foodie goes to Africa!