And then there were two
November 11, 2001
We started the ZebraSafari as a party of four, and now we are two.
Many readers have noticed that Gina left the safari early on, but we have never explained her absence since.
Gina returned home at the end of the South African leg of our journey. Travelling in this way was new to her experience and it seems it was too hard for her comfort. In addition to that, interpersonal dynamics in the group were not to her liking and she felt it would be better for her to leave us before we ventured into new and unknown lands.
Nonetheless, we had observed her grow during the month we toured South Africa, and she left the ZebraSafari having gained an experience that I am sure will be with her for life, as well as having seen parts of our beautiful country she had never experienced before.
Although there were tensions in the group that preceded her departure, she left with the air clear and with no grudges or hard feelings amongst us.
Gina’s departure was especially hard on Shaun, but he was committed to seeing out his dream of travelling Africa overland and he stayed with us despite the difficulty of being the odd one out in a group of three that includes a couple. He remained true to himself even though it was clear that Gina wanted him to leave with her.
But now Shaun has also left us and returned home.
We travelled as a group of three through seven countries, and finding a workable way to live together in the confined space of a car with only one another for support was very stressful for all of us. As a trio we shared many unforgettable experiences, the high point of which must be our successful ascent of Mount Kilimanjaro.
However, despite a daily group clearing, tensions had been building for some time among all of us, and all three relationships on the ZebraSafari were taking strain. Then came the attempted robbery in Moshi and that brought Shaun face to face with some of his deepest fears, and I watched him grappling with them over the following days.
Tensions came to a head on our first day in Kenya, two days after the mugging, and we began the day with a screaming match. The issues leading to the blow-up were not resolved and we arrived at my cousin Daphne’s home in Nairobi still carrying an enormous load of tension within the group.
After a few days in Nairobi we were attempting to resume our regular group clearings when another blow-up ensued. After everyone had calmed down, we sat together for several hours clearing the air and letting go of all the negative energy we were carrying on one another. During the clearing Gisela and I drew a line to protect our relationship and our space. We could not continue our journey or our relationship while making the compromises required of us to share space with Shaun.
And Shaun, for his part, was not prepared to compromise himself to avoid crossing our line. Overnight he digested everything we had said, and in the morning announced that he was returning home.
Both Gisela and I were sorely disappointed at his choice, but we could not hide the fact that his departure was a huge relief for both of us. Not only would we not have to put up with everything about him that had been bugging us, but his departure substantially lightened the load in the car, which will make it far easier for us to continue northwards, where the roads are worse than any we have encountered so far.
On Saturday 10 November we all sat down for our final clearing and then Shaun left for the airport and a flight back to Johannesburg. Despite all the tension, we parted with the air clear and no hard feelings all around. And, miraculously, we all still regard one another as friends.
Although Shaun’s departure has solved many problems for us, it also creates a new one: we do not have enough money left to return home or to reach our end point. Nonetheless, we have chosen to continue our safari. This journey is my life’s dream, and nothing is going to stop me from living it. We need to find at least another US$1000 to see ourselves through to London, but I will not allow a minor issue like money to get in the way now. We will solve this problem somehow.
Meanwhile, the journey continues ...