It’s around three in the afternoon on Wednesday the 11th June 2008. I’m sitting on one of the kitchen stools twiddling my thumbs, waiting (see the picture alongside – that’s the exact spot where I was sitting when the idea was born). Tanith will be arriving soon, my daughter Kim’s boyfriend’s (Luc, now fiancé) sister. She’s coming from Rhodes University and will be spending a couple of nights whilst on conference in Cape Town.
As usual I’m still full of energy after my run; I do a lot of running and gym training, a lot. As usual my mind is in overdrive; have I prepared her room ok; have I forgotten anything? As usual I’m struggling to sit still and not go and prowl the house to find something to do.
Got it, horrors, the cupboard in her room’s not totally empty. She’s going to need all six cubby holes for all the clothes she’ll be bringing for her two night stay, and there’s a case of wine lurking in one of them. I’m off like a shot, got to sort this out before she arrives and the best way is to unpack the wine, position it nicely in the corner on the counter in the kitchen (which could take ages until I get it right), put the wine box up in the rafters of the garage (for future use for something, anything) and chuck all the other stuff that comes in the box with the wine away in the recycling box. Tiring stuff living with me.
In a short while I’m back at my post on the kitchen stool but this time I have the magazine with me that comes inside the wine box. I’m not really ever interested in this magazine: I’m just a little more interested in the red wine, but sometimes I scan it and look at the pictures.
For the first time ever I read one of the articles in the magazine. For some or other reason it sparked my interest. It’s called “Adventure of Being” (by Keri Harvey) and it’s about a lady called Patricia Glyn. The article describes some of the adventures that Patricia Glyn has undertaken (to champion the cause of those without a voice) and mentions that the next two adventures that she is considering are to kayak around Madagascar before anyone else does, and to walk the great elephant walk from the east to the west coast of Africa.
I’ve been a busy boy with the reading – that very morning I finished reading an article and the book written by David Grier on his run across the Great Wall of China with his friend Braam Malherbe.
Tan arrives and we chat; she doesn’t know about the article that I read on Patricia Glyn. She tells me that a few days previously she had listened to a talk given by someone called Riaan Manser, a chap who had ridden around Africa on his bicycle, because he felt like it. Tan said that one of the things that he’d said was that for his next adventure he would like to kayak around Madagascar.
At 18h12 (or 6.12 pm) I sent an e-mail to Patricia Glyn telling her about the “threat” to her kayaking idea, and briefly mentioning the synchronicities that had fallen into place and I asked: “Could you consider the possibility of running the great elephant trail, for charity, for the elephants?”
The idea was born.
The next day I went out and bought a map book and started planning the route. Patricia replied to me four days later, she was leaving for Europe the next day, and we’ve sort of been chatting ever since.