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Living the South African Adventure

It’s one of life’s ironies that my sense of adventure pounced on me at this stage of my existence.

Why now, when my body doesn’t want to cooperate?

Well it cooperates I guess … but, boy oh boy, I know all about it the next day!

Inside of me there is a 20 year old that wants to ride a tube and learn how to ski behind a boat, climb to the top of a waterfall, clamor to the top of a rocky outcrop, swim beyond the breakers in the ocean, play in the waves with my inflatable kayak, and ride my mountain bike through the bushveld where there are trees and valleys and hilltops with a view.

But there’s a problem. I’m not 20. Not even close.

When I was 20, I was sewing and learning how to bake and be all domesticated.

Now I’m very much on the wrong side of 40 AND I’m as clumsy as … ummmm … I can’t think of anything to describe the clumsiness that is me.

I blame it on my lanky frame. I’m tall, maybe that affects my centre of gravity.

I’m likely to trip up, slip down or drop something; more than anyone else I know.

Once, while camping with good friends, I was contemplating climbing a very tall cat-ladder to get to the top of a lookout tower which was opposite our campsite. The view over the bushveld would have been awesome from up there.

I voiced my thoughts, only to have my husband and my friends say, “No!” in sync like a well-rehearsed trio.

You see, they know me.

They’ve seen me walk into a pole, trip over a wire railing, fall out of the boat, fall into the boat, fall off the jet-ski, burn myself countless times while cooking, knock beverage glasses flying, spill bowls of food, need I continue?

They also, just weeks prior to our camping trip, saw my face a few hours after falling off my MTB.

For me, it was as simple as ‘climb up and appreciate the view.’

For them, my statement evoked images of a slip, a fall and a drop!

I sighed at their reaction and said I would be careful. They just laughed and my friend said, “You want to do all these crazy, adventurous things, but you’ve got the wrong body.”

His words stung.

He didn’t mean it unkindly. He was speaking the truth.

I do want to do all these crazy, adventurous things but my body is not performing as well as my will would desire.

Alas. I will not give up.

I’m not old enough to be too old. I never want to be too old.

I will clamour up rocks and enjoy the breath-taking view from the top of the koppie, even if it means I accidentally land with my palm in a pile of dassie poop when I have to reach out to steady myself.

Language lesson for those who don’t live in South Africa: a koppie is a small hill, most often consisting of a rocky outcrop. A dassie is an African rodent. It looks like a giant guinea-pig and lives in colonies in rocky outcrops.

I will swim beyond the breakers, even if I have to lug my boogie board along with me, because the stillness of the ocean past the breaking waves is indescribable. And maybe I will see dolphins up close again.

I will continue to enjoy my MTB adventures, despite the fact that I have fallen and injured myself several times – once in our driveway, before I had even left home.

You see, my body may be lanky, and my centre of gravity may be off tilt, but the treasures I find when I push through and live the adventure are well worth the risk of a possible mishap.

The odds are 1 in 5 that I’m going to hurt myself doing something. Whether I accidently burn or cut myself while cooking, take a tumble off my bike, get dunked by a big wave, or slip on a rock; I’m prepared to take the risk and live the adventure and occasionally it may even be accident free.

I will consider my bruises, scratches, scrapes and scars as adventure markings.

Maybe some people look at me, they see my scars and my newest bruise, and think I should try and be more ladylike, possibly a little less adventurous.

Well, I did that for too many years and honestly, life got dull.

So let me enjoy my second bout of youthful behaviour without the added stress of trying to impress the boys and fit in with the girls.

Who dictated that there are only certain times of your life that you can do certain things?

No way. Any age is the right time to have an adventure!


What do you think?

11 Points

Written by Toni Bug


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