I’ve never thought of myself as a particularly adventurous person, but lately my perspective has changed. Although I do understand how riding an elephant, getting up close and personal with lions, and bungee jumping twice in the span of a few weeks isn’t the norm, I can’t imagine coming to South Africa and not doing all of those things. Even if some of my latest antics have been giving my mom and dad
panic attacks, I have learned the importance of stepping outside of my comfort
zone. My time here is too limited for me to live my life any other way.
Recently, a friend sent me this article that I found extremely compelling and incredibly relatable to my current state of mind. I found the most inspiring statement to be, “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone,” and that is a motto I empathize with wholeheartedly. Originally after I read the article, I was going to write a blog post highlighting all of the reasons why studying abroad has ruined my life – i.e. I’ll never make friends like this again; I’ll never get to feed an elephant again; I’ll never get to be within mere feet of lions again; essentially, I’ll never get chances quite like this ever again.
But, as I was starting to compile that list, I realized I had missed the point of the article completely. Sure, studying abroad has given me a multitude of opportunities that I never thought were possible, but that doesn’t mean the adventure ends here. Instead,
if when I go home in a couple of weeks, I will think of
all of the lessons I have learned in Africa and continue to satisfy my craving
So, what has been fulfilling my wildest dreams lately? Things such as…
Feeding an ostrich. That being said, I didn’t know side effects from performing this act include pinching pain, ticklishness, and the always-attractive gnarly double chin angles. Fun fact: an ostrich’s brain weighs 30 grams, whereas each eye ball weighs 60 grams, i.e. they are not the most intelligent birds.
Meeting my new ostrich friend proved to be a bit uncomfortable! (Click photo to enlarge.)
Hugging an elephant. As giant as they may be, elephants are some of the sweetest creatures I’ve come into contact with and it was such a treat to be able to interact with them. They really are just friendly giants!
Now I know that elephant hugs tickle and these guys are as food motivated as my dog! (Click photos to enlarge.)
Embodying my inner-mermaid. The scenery along the Eastern Cape is so picturesque that it led to a mildly embarrassing photo-shoot inspired by The Little Mermaid.
Does this make me a mermaid yet? (Click photo to enlarge.)
Bungee jumping… again. If everyone jumped off a bridge, would you? I decided to answer that question with an enthusiastic, “Yes!” by jumping off of the highest commercial bungee bridge in the world. Luckily I’m still here to tell about it even after a 6 second free-fall down 709 feet. Update: severe back pain will occur as a result.
Before and After pictures from my bungee jump... luckily I was still smiling! (Click photo to enlarge.)
Watch my bungee video, if you dare. Warning: extreme whiplash involved at the 0:33 mark.
Walking with lions. Yes, you read that right. I got the chance to walk with a lion and a lioness. I was in awe of them the entire time and only slightly terrified for my life.
Just "lion" around in the middle of Africa! (Click photos to enlarge.)
I still have some last minute excursions on the horizon during my last couple of weeks in South Africa. Let’s just say that I’m bound to experience at least one more adrenaline rush before it’s time for me to
fly home to Texas. Sorry in advance, Mom and Dad!