Hi, everyone! Because I’ve been posting the Africa trip over our usual schedule, the last stuff you have from me was mostly written a month or so ago, with the exception of the little bit about my upcoming road trip. So I thought this time, I should catch you up on what’s going on since I got home, around the 17th of February.
To start with, I haven’t stopped adventuring just because I’m not going anywhere! Hopefully, you all know me better than that by now. My latest adventure is to “adopt” a fourth teenager. The best friend of my oldest is finally eighteen and has therefore escaped from her deeply troubled birth family. I’ve known her for several years, since she was in middle school, and always told her that when she could claim it legally she would have a warm welcome here. This week, she claimed that space and moved in. We’re all delighted to have her with us. There’s a great deal of scrambling to do things like get the queen bed traded out for bunk beds, and find out how to get hold of her birth certificate so she can apply for a permit to learn to drive, but it’s mostly the fun kind of scrambling — for me, at least — so I don’t mind. Even if I did, it would be worth it to have K with us.
As we have a kid coming in, we have a kid moving out. My other fosterling is moving to Colorado. I talked a bit about that last week, and there will be upcoming travel planning stuff about the road trip I’m taking with him to get him settled in his new home. As of yet, we are still searching for the right RV, and will be going down to Portland next week to look at several. Hopefully there will be one he likes and can afford in the mix, and we’ll have that part of the project settled soon!
It’s been wonderful to be with my family after so long away, but I truly had not anticipated how badly I would miss Africa. I think about the animals I saw there every day, and most of my video viewing these days is wildlife documentaries, that can take me back there or to places with a similar flavor. I ran into a charming little thing called Orangutan Jungle School, a series about a rehab center in Borneo which teaches orphaned baby orangutans how to be wild, so that they can release them someday. They’ve already returned about 200 orangs to the forest to live free, and given how precarious their status is, that’s a not-insignificant amount of the population! I am deeply impressed and have thrown some money at their website’s funding request.
I’m also talking to the people at My Gorilla Family, a mobile app which raises money for conservation by selling subscriptions that allow you to see what’s up with the Bwindi gorilla families as if the gorillas themselves were keeping up on social media with you. Lots of little videos — very cute, and it helps me feel like I’m back there again with the Bweza troop, who were the ones we met the day I went up the mountain. I’ve subscribed myself, and I’m discussing with them the possibility of using my writing in some way to support their work. The gorillas of Bwindi have become very important to me, as have all the animals I saw on that magical trip, and I want to do everything I can to help them thrive. If you enjoyed the tale of my gorilla trek, I encourage you to go check out https://gorilla.family/ and find out how to watch the gorillas from afar. (Note: I am getting absolutely nothing from My Gorilla Family — not if you subscribe or if you don’t. I just think they’re really neat, and I support their goal of protecting the Bwindi gorillas while still making it possible for more people to get to know them.)
I’m still accumulating wildlife trips I want to take. Current possibilities for the next one so far include:
-Borneo, for orangutan, sun bear, and a host of other island rainforest creatures
-Tanzania/Kenya, for the Great Migration
-the Galapagos, for giant turtles, marine iguana, sea lions and penguins
-Australia, for marsupials and platypus (and preferably not for any of the things that might like to kill me)
Have opinions about where I should go? Tell me in the comments! Where would you like to see me write about? It’ll be a couple of years yet, but I’ll be planning it all along in the meantime, even as I take other trips along the way. I’m traveling for myself but also for you… if I can, I’ll go where you want to hear about and bring back the stories for you.
My father has recovered well over the month since I visited him in the hospital in New York, and is now at home again, though he still needs to regain his strength. In the meantime, my next big trip is intended to include a stop in New York to see him… after my kids and I take the train all the way across the United States!
Didn’t I say the next one was going to be bigger than the road trip to Colorado? Crossing the continent by sleeper car, we intend to make stops of a few days to see Chicago and New York, and hopefully Boston and Nova Scotia as well if we can afford the money and time to extend the trip that far. I’ll have at least two of my kids with me, possibly three, and maybe also Steve. Chance, of course, always goes with me everywhere.
My cats, sadly, do not; and right now, there’s a cat sitting on me. He hasn’t forgiven me yet for leaving him alone for two solid months. I didn’t actually leave him alone, of course; he had the whole family here besides me, but try explaining that to a cat!
… so I think that, just for the moment, I’m probably not going much of anywhere at all. 🙂