In that dream I was pretty much an observer, an empty vessel ready to be filled with views of animals in the wild.
Magnificent and extraordinary though animal spotting and observing was, the thing that made my time in Kenya and Tanzania so unique and special, was my interaction with the well educated, informative and often engaging individuals I encountered along the way.
These people transformed my illusions about "the dark continent" being a culturally as well as economically and educationally backwards.
I guess, somewhat embarassingly and certainly ignorantly, I arrived in Kenya and Tanzania, with low expectations of food, hygene, education levels and all sorts of cultural baggage a lot of us carry.
Instead, where ever I went, I met with at very least my equals, or with educational attainments, both formally and informally attained similar, or better than those within my own friendship and family networks.
There was hot water, electricity and supermarkets and shopping complexes were very much in evidence, at least in major cities.
The wonderful individuals pictured above, along with many, many more staff at the hotels and lodges, as well as locals I met also staying in those same hotels and lodges, that made time to interact and even include me in some truly enriching activities, totally transformed my perspectives of modern Kenya and Tanzania.
I left with human connections and experienced dynamic, highly aspirational and to a surprising extent, highly educated Kenyans and Tanzanians well equipped to keep abreast and indeed possibly lead the world on so many fronts.
So much for those preconceptions about "the dark continent, inhabited by individuals with limited access to education or possibilities in life beyond tribal demands. They are maintaining traditional ties with the land and their tribal kinship networks. Maintaining traditional knowledge, but using contemporary technologies to record, enhance and share it with the world. They are very often multi-lingual with English, German, Japanese and Chinese, as well as Swahili and sometimes a local language or dialect. How many individuals do any of us in Australia know who are fluent in six or more languages?
And yes life is not like that for many citizens of Kenya or Tanzania, who still struggle to access education and employment, or even reliable, close clean water supplies; but how perfect is our own society in ensuring all of our own fellow citizens have access to education and economic advancement and social empowerment?
Our own society is full of imperfections, our own society is persuing many of the ideals and visions my peers in Kenya and Tanzania are seeking. I left feeling connected to my new friends on a very human level.
The very best of travel serves to affirm shared humanity, breaks barriers, changes perceptions, shares, enriches and transforms, beyond borders!