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Smell of Adventure

I’d been in the air for so long that I’d almost forgotten where I was going, and was starting to wonder if I would ever get there. I went to the back of the plane to stretch my legs and looked out through the window when my breath caught in my chest.

Stretching away as far as the eye can see was the endless, rippling expanse of the Sahara passing below me—I was almost there, over Africa. After that, the rest of the flight to Nairobi seemed to take no time at all.

The plane doors opened and as I stepped out of the stale, sealed aircraft, I caught my first breath of Kenyan air. You’re just going to have to take my word for it, but whenever I take my first breath after landing in Africa my mindset changes instantly and completely. I suddenly feel better and find that I have far more patience; even the long lines at customs don’t bother me, I’m just happy to be in there. Rather than an officious snort from the customs officer, when I say hello I get a broad smile as he stamps my passport and says “I am very fine this evening, Karibu, welcome to Kenya.”

Walking out into the night, the air is heavy with the kind of smell you only get in Africa. I find that there is a fragrance to the air, a nuance that you just don’t get in North America. The only way I can describe it is to say that the air smells of something devoid of overpowering garbage and gas fumes. It smells scrubbed clean after the rain; a combination of fragrant flowers, damp earth and woodsmoke from countless evening cooking fires.

Once at my hotel I take my shoes off and walk out into the garden feeling the grass under my feet. Consciously I breathe more deeply, relaxing more and more with each passing moment. I catch myself smiling and I feel switched on again. I forget all the petty nonsense that ordinarily preoccupies me and remember the plan; to bring you, dear reader, new and fantastic dirt from the wilds of East Africa.

So we come to the point of this preamble, the aim of this piece; to set the stage and put you in the right head space to think about Kenya. Keep that it mind, and over the coming weeks I will tell you all about the adventure I have just returned from.

To be perfectly honest, we never knew Dan as such an introspective, meditative fellow. Then again, we only see him behind his Toronto desk.

Whenever I take my first breath after landing in Africa my mindset changes instantly and completely.

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