Introducing Team Cantrailia!

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Hello dear friends. Well, as hard as it is to imagine, it’s been just over a week now that we’ve gotten back from Africa. So of course, you are all wondering where the heck are all the exciting stories about adventures in foreign lands, right? Well, fear not, for this post will be the first of many detailing all that happened in Tanzania on this trip of a lifetime. Yes, I consider it the trip of a lifetime as for me, it was on the life list. Summit Kilimanjaro while there is still snow on the peak. I’m happy to say that it was mission accomplished, but the journey to get there will be several blog posts in length, so you’ll have to hang in there over the next couple weeks while I write it all up 🙂 Before I could even contemplate writing about the trip, we first had to sort through all the pictures we took, and I also wanted to put together some of my custom GPS maps. So on the plus side, you don’t have to wait any longer to view the collection of pictures from the trip, or even peruse some of the maps that I created. Once you’ve done that, come on back and learn more about the trip.

The most important aspect of taking a trip like this is getting along with the people you’ll be making the journey with. As we had signed up through a local tour company, there was basically no way to know who would be on our trip with us, so showing up in Africa, there was a bit of trepidation. After all, we’d be spending the better part of 3 weeks traveling in close quarters, and having a lot of shared experiences with what amounts to a group of strangers. Well, happily, we were extremely to have a really great group of adventurers with us. As a result, I’ve decided that for the first post, I’ll introduce you all to the group of people that we shared the mountains and the safaris with, not to mention both Christmas and New Year’s!

Our entire group consisted of 5 other people besides Jody and I. We all came from either Canada or Australia, so I suggested that we name ourselves as a combination of the two countries. In the end, the name Cantrailia was selected. Not only is it a combination of the two countries, but also has a little pun in the middle. Did you spot it? “Trail”. What can I say, we had a lot of time to reflect and come up with all sorts of little things.

So, starting with North America, allow me to introduce you to the father and son team of Dylan (pronounced ‘die-lin’) and John, hailing from Vancouver, BC. Dylan was just on a break from his job as a result of being displaced by the Olympics, and John was a retired Engineer, who has plenty of experience in these sorts of trips under his belt. If I were to categorize these two, it would probably have to be the ‘strong and silent’ type. Neither made much fuss either way whether the weather was good or bad, but were always there to contribute to our conversations and let us know where they stood on things. Along with the strong silent characterization, they managed to pick up the reputation for being the rocks. John knew the pace he wanted to take on this trip, and what pace would make sure they finished the trip in one piece. After an early failed summit attempt in the trip, most of us decided we’d follow in their footsteps to make sure we got to the top as well!

Moving across the ocean into Australia now we have Sarah and Mike, another couple who decided to tackle Kilimanjaro as their wrap-up to 2010. As to describing Mike and Sarah? Well, Mike has a military background, with a specialty in logistics, whereas Sarah is an anesthesiologist. Both had a lot of great stories to share, and Sarah always had us curious to see what else she might pull out of her travel bags (umbrellas, hats, gloves, etc..). We definitely had a good time getting to know them. Mike usually looked to plod on and get things done, whereas Sarah was quite content to take a relaxed pace and make sure she stopped to smell (and photograph) the flowers.

Last but not least on our adventure was Deb from Australia. Deb came to Africa looking for answers, and was in the midst of a transition of sorts in her life. Did she get the answers she was looking for? Hard to say for sure, but she had more travels ahead of her after our part of the trip to reflect more on the things she sought clarity on. Either way, she was a firecracker in the group, and always willing to step up the pace and head to the front of the line. We were pretty sure she was actually a robot, and the jury’s out on whether that was true or not.

So there you have it. A quick introduction to the team which was about to embark on safaris together, as well as scale some of the highest peaks in Africa. Of course, the last two members of the team were Jody and I, rounding out the Canadian contingent and bringing our own stories and personalities into the mix. As you might guess, we took a ton of pictures, and I was always quite keen to head up the hikes. What can I say, old habits die hard. Put me in boots with a pack on, and I slip into the mode of ‘gotta get there’. That’s not to say I didn’t take the time to enjoy the journey itself, but I tended to always move forward with a purpose. Of course, you’ll hear all about it in my next series of posts.

First, we’ll take you into the heart of the Ngorongoro crater, the Olduvai Gorge, and the Serengeti. Stay tuned in this space for those stories 🙂

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