There is a saying “the Swiss invented the clock but Africa owns the time”… It’s hard to believe how quickly time has passed.
Elephant Ignite Expedition (EIE) was a journey I started A few years ago when I lead an all-female crew from South Africa to Kenya driving over 16 000km across Africa raising money and awareness for Elephants. Each and every crew member was specially chosen by me. I saw something in each of them that a friend of mine describes as “Fire in the Belly” – their dedication and energy towards this expedition and conservation was inspirational. Through a series of synchronistic events, I met my crew and we all become good friends. Synchronicity plays a BIG part in our lives, if only we paid more attention to it.
We were sponsored three expeditions vehicles by Avis Safari 4×4, these expeditions cannot happen without the amazing generosity of Sponsors.
Our road tripping playlists had been compiled, the cars branded and packed, ……and most importantly we were ready to turn the key in the Ignition, face our trusty steeds North and start our life changing adventure.
Before we departed, I decided I wanted to give the three expedition vehicles names. I always feel that when you give something a name it gives it a soul and I needed more than anything for those cars to take a very special group of lady’s safely over the many kilometres that lay ahead. In my mind, if the vehicle had a soul it would keep us safe and protect us from any danger. It was also a bit of a surprise as the crew didn’t know that I would be naming our three chariots. We would drive, eat, sleep, laugh and survive in those cars for the next 100 days. Sometimes the road was long and windy, sometimes challenging and frightening, but we always moved forward ….weaving our way through different scenes. Mama Africa is a fascinating continent, a land of extremes – extreme beauty and sometimes extreme pain. Some too magnificent to describe and some too heart-breaking to try and explain.
And so it was that the names Courage , Hope and Love was bestowed upon the vehicles!
COURAGE – was my lead vehicle. Driven by myself and always in the front. The definition of Courage is “the ability to do something that frightens one.” It was a dedication to the journey that we were about to embark on. A group of normal ladies that are heading out into Africa for 100 days on a mission to make a difference. It was a dedication to the game rangers, K9 Units and anti-poaching teams, that work so tirelessly taking care of our endangered and beautiful Ellies. The men and women that put themselves in the line of fire every single day to protect our wildlife.
HOPE – the definition of Hope is “a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.” We were hoping our Elephant Ignite Expedition would ignite change wherever we went and that our message would get out to the world as to the fate of our Elephants. The Hope that we could influence one person’s mindset that if they ever had the opportunity to become a RANGER or a POACHER that they would choose the right side of the fight to save these magnificent animals.
LOVE – “an intense feeling of deep affection”. It was about the love and empathy that each team member bought towards the journey and the work that we were doing, the infinite love and passion that the conservationists have for the work they do. We all know that you never lose by LOVING you only lose by holding back.
As I turned the key and fired up Courage on our departure day, the tears streamed down my face, not just tears of joy and immense gratitude for the opportunity that we were about to embrace but also tears at saying good-bye to friends and family and not knowing if anything would have changed by the time we had finished our journey. I had SUCH a sense of excitement that I knew there was NO turning back now. One thing I learnt from travelling in Africa and life is that you need to leave a bit of space for those unplanned incidences that do occur out there. Those unexpected meetings or challenges that come your way. When you are travelling perhaps your rear-view mirror might come loose or crack and make it difficult to look through. Maybe a message from life telling us not to look back at the past but to always look forward no matter how challenging the times are… a lesson that we have all had to embrace in the current situation.
Courage, Hope & Love followed us from our incredible expedition and lives on in each member of the expedition team today! Lives were changed, careers were changed and we were changed as Women with purpose! (READ MORE BELOW PICS…)