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Great Big Beautiful World

The Great Migration (Serengeti)

Growing up in rural South Texas, I traveled the world through the books I checked out at the Alice Public Library. Back then I knew in my heart of hearts that someday I would visit those faraway places.

I was already in my 20s the first time I set foot on an airplane, and although I don’t enjoy flying, I gladly get on airplanes several times a year because within a few hours of boarding I reconnect with family and friends, and I know that new and amazing experiences await me. I realized early on that travel nourished my heart and soul, and squirreling away funds for this purpose has been a priority my entire adult life.

I’ve been out of the country much of the past three months: Six weeks in Cuba, and most recently two weeks in Tanzania. Ernest Hemingway wrote about these places with great love and affection, and it is easy to see why. The people are warm and welcoming and natural beauty abounds. Although I’ve visited both these countries previously these new visits brought additional discoveries.

The wildlife in the Serengeti and Ngorogoro Crater is spectacular: we saw and shot (pictures of) elephants, zebras, giraffes, lions, gazelles, cheetahs, baboons, hippos and even the rarely seen black rhinos. And although I’m not a birder, the variety of birds is astounding. Learned so much about nature and the adaptations created by environmental conditions. Saw bits and pieces of the great migration of wildebeests, zebras and gazelles. The sunsets and sunrises are breathtaking. If you’ve ever considered taking a photo safari, do yourself the favor of making it happen. It is not a relaxing vacation, it is exhausting adventure travel, and so well worth the effort. These memories will be with you the rest of your life.

On a name related note, it was interesting that Swahili-speaking Tanzanians and Dutch-speaking folks from the Netherlands said Irma beautifully without any hesitation and needed no coaching. Although there are Irma's in The Netherlands, no Tanzanians knew anyone from their country who had that name.

The final leg of this journey was a visit to Amsterdam (my first time here). In spite of the bitter cold I am charmed by its beauty and the ingenuity that keeps this city intact in spite of it being below sea level. The city teems with creativity and art; its residents among the most polite and considerate people I’ve ever encountered. I was offered a seat in every crowded tram I rode, which I politely declined.

It’s now time to return to my other great passion: storytelling. I am looking forward to a very active year of performing with fellow storytellers as part of The Marsh Theater’s Times Unseen Project and in my one-woman show, Why Would I Mispronounce My Own Name? Details to follow in later posts. And super excited to join forces with Theresa Donahoe in A Brown and A White Mexican Share the Stage in Marsh Madness Weekend in San Francisco’s Marsh Theatre on Saturday, March 10th at 1 pm. In back to back 20-minute segments Theresa performs a 20-minute excerpt from her play, Confessions of a White Mexican, and I will debut new material in a stand-alone piece, Your Name is What? Look forward to seeing my Bay Area friends at the San Francisco Marsh Theatre on Saturday, March 10 at 1 pm. Tickets at the door ($10) or you can guarantee yourself a seat by purchasing tickets online ($12) at:

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