Signs and Surprises: Is That a Python?May 24, 2023
Just follow the signs, right? NOT. SO. EASY. There are plenty of unexpected turns and barriers that test our courage and determination. Watch this video to see how we navigated through the Namibian unknown with resilience.
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Signs and Surprises
It’s day #3 of the Search-For-Purpose-Elephant-Tracking-Expedition and we have our next tracking (and life) tip:
You have to follow the signs. You actually have to go where they're leading you.
Some days we drove the entire day in the safari vehicle, literally just following the tracks. Which led us to another important tip in following the signs: to think about WHY the elephant might be moving in a particular direction. What resources might they be going to? Are they headed in the general direction of a specific watering hole? If so, let's just go straight there. And sometimes instead of following directly in the path the elephant was traveling, we decided to take a parallel path and cut them off at the pass.
Also, in a journey, there are sometimes obstacles that pop up. We had been following Porthos’ footprints for quite a while along a fence line. We then come to another fence and can’t go any further. So the guides and the tracker shouted for us to jump out, and “just push it over and step on it. We're going to drive over the top - it's just a small wire fence and it will spring back up again.”
And I thought, “Huh. It's a fence, but it's not a barrier. And we can push it down and it popped right back up again!”
The other big take away from this is that sometimes it really takes courage to follow the path because there are scary things that pop up. The previous week had us building a rock wall around a watering point, and we had set up camp out in the bush. All of a sudden somebody noticed that there was a giant bull elephant that had walked into camp. They are so silent; you can't hear them. And these are wild animals - if they are surprised by you or if you make a noise or they feel threatened, they can kill you.
There were also the scorpions I talked about in the previous video and in a few minutes, I’ll get around to the pythons in bug nets.
So here are the 3 parallels for us in our journeys:
1. Our journey is not a straight line.
It curves, it zigs, it zags. Sometimes we actually have to go backward in order to move forward. Sometimes we get pulled off track. Sometimes we're actually not even on the right track to begin with because of that sense of doing what you’re “supposed to do” or what you “should” be doing.
2. And things may get in the way.
Barriers pop up. But it really got me thinking: how often do we see something as a barrier that's really not? Whether it's just fear speaking or there really is a way around it - maybe it's actually just something that's going to slow us down and not exactly stop us.
3. Signs may really big and obvious. Or signs are more subtle.
And sometimes we even have to make our own signs and trust what we think they mean. Because at the end of the day, whose opinion of you really matters most? Yours.
So about that snake….
We had these pop up bug nets you could put your sleeping bag in if you wanted to sleep under the stars. One day I was in camp with another person and they were going to grab something out of somebody’s bug net that was unzipped. They suddenly stopped and called me over, “Jenny, does that look like a snake to you?”
I went over and definitely confirmed, “That is 100% a snake inside of somebody’s bug net.”
It turns out this was a really, really rare Dwarf Python. Unfortunately the python was actually dead. It had made its way into the bug net and the bottom of it was black. Again, it's hot in Africa and the sun is very intense…and the poor little thing actually baked to death.
But I don't care if a snake is alive or dead, if you crawl into a bug net and find a snake in there? No, ma'am!!! And after that, I slept in a tent. And we did not leave the tent without zipping everything suuuuper tight. No snake holes or scorpions holes here. Keep moving creepy crawlies!
Tomorrow, we talk more tracking. And more dirt. Lots of dirt.
Just how dirty can a girl get?
This is Episode 3 in a 5 part video series.
If you missed Part 1, watch it here.
If you missed Part 2, watch it here.
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