Since I last wrote I haven't been up to too much, except a whole lot of waiting. No, scratch that, I did wing my way out to sunny Southern California for a week and spent a weekend in museum and concert heaven in NYC. But other than that, it's waiting. And waiting.
As I've said before, the one thing about signing up for safari is that once you've chosen your tour operator, set the itinerary, paid the deposit and gotten your airfare, that's all there is to do until you go. At least last year with my first safari, I could busy myself with buying all the safari gear. Not now. I'm old hat now. I only need to buy toiletries and I can go.
That's not to say I'm not reading up or trying to stay abreast of things. I found all of the conservancies I'm staying at on Facebook and follow their wildlife updates. It is exciting to hear about recently born lion or cheetah cubs and know that they'll be toddlers by the time I get there. Or hear that a pack of the very rare African dogs have made their way just outside one camp I'm staying at. But still, that can't really keep me preoccupied like researching museums, restaurants and daytrips on a non-safari trip can.
So I remedied that. About 3 weeks ago I was messing around on the internet one Sunday and decided to see how possible it would be to cash in some of my 90,000 United miles for a flight somewhere. Anywhere. Not thinking that it'd be possible to anywhere remotely palatable, I plopped Rome in and some random dates in May 2014 and lo and behold, I could do it, with miles to spare. Hmmmm. Maybe there's something to this. So I played a bit more, slept on it and decided it's been 7 years since my last trip to Rome and 8 since my last trip to Florence, and I walked away with a round-trip ticket to Rome and Florence in May, for the grand sum of 60,000 miles and $85. WOO-HOOO! It's sort of nice to have that to look forward to a few months after safari.
And finally, the very initial plans of a lengthy fall trip through the UK and Ireland, with a quick stop in Amsterdam is being bandied about by my sister and me. Since it will be a Milestone Birthday for her next year, she wants to celebrate in style. Amsterdam and the Hague will have completed massive renovations on the three major museums there (Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum and Mauritshuis) so we'd start there to hit those, and then hit London, Manchester, Edinburgh and Dublin in the remainder of the trip. Still initial phases but feeling very possible.