Greetings from East Africa
It's 4AM in Nairobi, Kenya. Rachael and I just completed 20 hours of travel to kick off our honeymoon more than a year after our wedding day, flying out of Dulles International in DC to Nairobi via Istanbul Ataturk International Airport. We'll board one final flight in three hours for Kilimanjaro Airport in Tanzania, and then set off on a non-stop two-week excursion. Three airports, four continents, and several interesting airline meals later and the journey is just getting started.
There will be many remarkable memories to share after we've returned to the states, as well as valuable lessons and insights that we'll gain along the way. But before this trip came together, Rachael and I put a lot of thought into the type of experience we hoped to have. She and I have collected some amazing experiences together in the ten years we've been together, but until a weekend trip to the Outer Banks this past January, we had never done a vacation just the two of us. Our travels had always involved visits with family and friends. Those experiences are unforgettable in their own right, but we had little frame of reference for how we wanted to travel as an exclusive pair.
There is so much of the world that Rachael and I haven't seen, so we needed a method to narrow the list of possible getaways, apart from the obvious cost and safety considerations. We agreed upon a list of priorities:
- Outdoors and Active: Rachael and I love exploring attractions and features off the beaten path. Laying next to a beach or pool is relaxing and enjoyable, but not something we could both stick to for a long vacation. An exhausting, adventure-filled day is time well spent in our book.
- Roughin' It, DIY Style: Much like our wedding, we were really eager to play an active role in planning our trip, rather than turning responsibilities over to a travel agency or opting for an all-inclusive package. This preference is especially complementary to our tendency to procrastinate.
- Baby-Proof: Friends and family, please don't misconstrue this bullet. Perhaps the most significant criteria for our trip was the opportunity to experience an excursion that aren't exactly family-friendly. What I mean is that assuming little Griffins are a strong possibility in the future, we felt it important to prioritize destinations that may not lend themselves to a family and young children. These places may not be an option (way) down the line if we're rolling deep with, like, 13 or 14 kids.
After months of discussions and dreaming, consultations with well-traveled friends and colleagues, and countless hours combing through all those reputable clickbait links listing the 17 places to which you simply must travel in your 20's, we charted a course for East Africa. Between the wildlife, the diverse ecosystems, and the unique cultures that contrast with the life we know in the US, it rose to the top as our ideal destination.
Our packs are loaded, our itinerary is (mostly) set, and between us, we've got enough bug spray and high-SPF sunscreen to cover a Cub Scout trip to The Amazon. Rachael and I are excited to share stories and photos when we return. Until then, if you're wondering whether or not to toss all the extra anti-itch cream or aloe Vera gathering dust in your medicine cabinet, consider holding onto it for a few weeks. We may want to take it off your hands.
See you soon, family and friends!