Posted: Thursday, June 21, 2012 11:28:30 PM
I’m leading a troupe of tiny people to the forefront of danger, unafraid. This group of five year olds, including myself, is on a mission. Behind the tennis courts of a community REC center in the least densely populated country in the world, Namibia, my friends and I travel the dusty and rocky terrain of a truly wild backyard.
That’s what I remember of that day in Windhoek. What strikes me today as a seventeen year old is that nature and the products of society (country club tennis courts) coexisted in Namibia in such a way that brought out the best in the country. My memories of Namibia extend to that day behind the tennis courts and to the Safari’s that a child of five was lucky enough to find herself on. They are among my most cherished childhood memories, my time outdoors in the Namib Desert. I remember giraffes and lions, springbok and kudu, many of which I only was able to catch a glimpse of through clusters of Moringa Ovalifolia, a tree species native to Namibia (of course to my five year old self I considered them only pretty trees). What I remember of Namibia is her sprawling landscape and her status as home to few people but many creatures; she was the very definition of nature.
I move from place to place, environment to environment. After Namibia, I moved to Ellicott City, Maryland, before Namibia I had come from Moscow, Russia. Being outdoors was natural to me. Whether it was in the snow in the Russian suburb of Rosinka or the forest behind an American cul-de-sac in classic old Maryland, I loved being outdoors. I’m restless, which fits my lifestyle perfectly and is probably a product of that same lifestyle. I’m easily stressed out, yet when I’m outside my blood pressure hits the floor, I feel practically giddy. Writing this out right now makes me realize just how much of a drug being outdoors is for me; a depressant by medical standards, but a stimulant by my own.
From Maryland I moved to Mexico. I remember mountains and the musky smell of pollution mixed in with rains. On the outskirts of Santa Fe, hills, valleys, and mountains reach up and curve down, as society bustles about unaware of the natural stimulus just within their grasp.
I remember a road trip to Acapulco, to the less tourist-oriented side too. I remember the beach that wasn’t white and soft but black, brown, yellow, and filled with shells. Later that same year I would leave to somewhere outside your average tourists’ spectrum of knowledge all together; Paraguay. I remember a rain forest filled with waterfalls in my backyard. Three years later, I’m in a similar situation, but in Japan. Rocky beaches and rocky mountains, snow, rain, and shine.
Now I’m in Egypt; back to Africa. The Black and White Desert, the Red Sea. I’m outdoors, why wouldn’t I be? The outdoors is me.