• DustyFootprints

It is all about the journey.

Sitting on my balcony in Bern, Switzerland, sipping on a warm cup of Rooibos tea, fighting back the biting cold and gazing peacefully out at the huge Linden Tree that dominates the space in front of me. Its branches reach out, seemingly in an attempt to touch the grey sky above. There is only a handful of leaves clinging to its barren stems, all the others have completed their journeys. These last few stick stubbornly in place, purposelessly perhaps. The value in a journey can be immeasurable.

This thought guides my mind back to the Terra-Incognito Travel Blog competition for 2020. The winning blog was a delight to read, in fact, every single entrant was. We all have stories to tell and lessons to share and the beauty in the words and feelings behind them gives life to the important voice of both conservation and self-discovery. Often it is the journey that holds the joy, the secrets and the lessons. The objective I dare say is to travel, to experience and to share. The destination is often the reward.

Life is often about journeys. Some are vitally important, others are merely unexpected bonuses, but all of them play a part in the remarkable story that is life.

I take another sip of my tea just as one of those last stubborn leaves breaks free and slowly glides downward. It reminds me of a personal journey that I took a little while ago now. I didn't travel far, in fact, I barely moved. Lying underneath a large Jackelberry Tree on a windy winters morning in South Africa, I had the privilege of watching leaf after leaf travel their ancestral route, fulfilling their last, important role in life. My overactive mind took over and I scribbled my thoughts down:

A leaf’s Perspective. Nutrient Cycle.

"I broke off and fell…

Slowly, softly, silently I sunk deeper and deeper

engulfed in the fresh coolness of the moment.

Lost in time and space apparent…

Descending down deeper I swished and swayed,

Peacefully - my body caressed by the soothing air around me.

I peered up into the dim glow and flickering light from where I came,

ceding to the draw and responsibility of my new role.

Tumbling tranquilly, a lull in the process of life.

I tentatively traveled down the same path my ancestors had.

I could feel the cold creeping in as I neared my rest,

rising up from my bed below.

Slowly, softly, silently I touched the ground.

Lost in thought, I lay in place surrounded by countless souls of my type.

I sighed peacefully embarrassing the vitality of my purpose.

The cycle was as it should be,

as it always was and always will be.

A fleeting memory fluttering by as I faded away,

becoming the very source of life itself.

My journey is my mark, an obligation to fulfill.

Generations of life based bravely on the souls of the past.

We all take from mother nature, now it is time for me to give back."

Happy Travels everyone! Live, experience and embrace nature's beauty!

Congrats to all of the entrants on sharing your special stories and a big congrats to all of the winners!

Vaughn Du Plooy

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