Happy Birthday Me!

Every year, I try and spend my birthday at a beach. Last year, I was in Tofo, Mozambique, learning to surf. This year, I was in Tayrona National Park on Colombia’s Caribbean coast.

Tayrona is a pretty cool place for a number of reasons. First, it’s a bit remote. You can only get there via a 1-hour boat ride, a 1.5 hour horseback ride or a 2-3 hour walk. I took the boat in and was rewarded with a dolphin escort and loads of flying fish. I stayed two days and a night, then walked out with a friend, visiting several beaches, including a black sand beach, along the way.

Nighttime Treats

For the night I stayed in one of the prized hammocks on a bird’s nest perch overlooking the water. There was a pretty wicked wind storm during the night that sent the hammocks flying, but the real treat was to wake up to a glorious pink sunrise that I could see from under the covers. What a wonderful way to greet the day (and a new year)!

Another birthday treat was the time I spent in the sea mist, looking at the black night and the billions of stars overhead. I stayed outside on the perch for quite a while, thinking about the year that had just past and the year ahead.

An Amazing Year

As I thought back, I was actually humbled by all I’ve seen in such a short time. Here’s just a taste:

  • Exotic Animals: Komodo dragons, Tigers in India, Mountain gorillas in Uganda, swimming with the whale sharks in Mozambique, Orangutans in Borneo.
  • Breathtaking Landscapes: Namibia’s desert, Botswana’s Okavango Delta, the Himalayas, New Zealand’s South Island, Norway’s Fjords, Australia’s sacred Uluru, the Stromoli volcano erupting.
  • Beautiful Architecture: the majestic Taj Mahal, Angkor Wat, Rome’s Pantheon, castles in Tuscany, Dracula’s Bran Castle, Thai and Khmer palaces, Sri Lanka’s Sigiriya.
  • New Cultures: Panama’s Kuna Indians, Colombia’s Kogi Indians, Australian’s Tiwi islanders, the Sami of the Arctic, Northern Vietnamese tribes, all of Ethiopia, San-Bushman in Botswana, Lesotho herders.
  • Underwater Beauty: Sipadan diving, a string of pearls in Honduras, the Red Sea’s abundant fish, Fiji’s deep deep waters.
  • Super Cityscapes: The really fabulous international cities of Amsterdam, Istanbul, Copenhagen, Kuala Lumpur, Bogota, Colombo.

The most important part of my journey has been the people I’ve met along the way. So many incredible people, that I don’t know where to start. Except that I do, because this is what my book is about, the people — Adventure Philanthropists — I’ve met who are so inspiring.

My Birthday Gift

As amazing as the past year and half has been, I’m even more excited thinking about the year ahead. I have big plans, not only as I finish up my trip here in South America, but what’s coming next.

And THIS is the greatest birthday gift of all: to look forward and be excited about future possibilities, even after all I’ve seen.

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, October 17th, 2012 and is filed under Erin Right Now.

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