acclimatize/əˈklʌɪmətʌɪz/verb: become accustomed to a new climate or new conditions; adjust.

I’m acclimatizing to the altitude, which is why Aaron and I are here a few days before the climb. Arusha is at 4,600 feet above sea level. There’s a mountain outside my hotel so tall that my incoming Kenya Airways flight from Nairobi had to fly around it. Kili towers at 19,400 feet. That’s the elevation of Denver added to the height of Mt. Whitney, the tallest point in continental USA.

Tanzania seems easy to slide into. Aaron and I are drinking beer with eminently marketable names like Kilimanjaro and Serengeti. We tried our first plate of ugali with nyamo choma (corn flour porridge – though in a consistency that you can cut with a fork or almost break off with your hand, and grilled meat). We have level zero Swahili down – keeping our asantes and karibus straight in a culture where people are constantly thanking or welcoming you.

I’m also acclimatizing to amazing weather – lows of 55 °F. Living out of my duffel bag in hotel rooms. Excellent coffee. Strangers. And knowing that different is the new normal for a while – which is slightly daunting but pretty thrilling.

Leaving Austin

When you live exactly where you want to, why would you ever leave? But it’s time.

Our dear friends, neighbors, and family sent us on our way with sweet goodbyes. Eleanor hand baked and iced (is that an acceptable short for “applied icing on”?) those cookies. And as my aircraft hurtles towards Iranian airspace, the cake’s wisdom is impeccable.

The kids and Jo still have a few days to go. They are frantically having sleep overs and soaking up the last bits of time with their friends.

After spending tonight at an airport hotel in Nairobi I’ll be looking at Kilimanjaro by tomorrow afternoon. I’ve heard the first view of the mountain is breathtaking. If my checked-in duffel bag doesn’t make the connection, instead of sight-seeing with Aaron I’ll be hitting the markets of Arusha! Kwa heri.

It’s about to happen

Nine years ago one night my wife had a brilliant idea just as my head was about to hit the pillow. “Let’s move to India for a year” she said. We did. When we finished that epic trip I recorded our experiences in a post titled Vacations Never End. We said that we will most certainly do it again. It’s that time.

We are busy packing. Packing up the house because we are renting out the White Wooden House while we are gone. And packing for the trip, though we are traveling light. We’ll have about the same amount of luggage as when we went to Nebraska last month for a week. Though we’d be lucky to meet as many people around the world as we did in Nebraska – here’s a photo of some of Jo’s family – children, grandchildren, and great grand children of Carol’s parents.

Here’s the map of where we are going, but be warned that our plans will be fluid. As of now we only have stuff booked to when we arrive in Cape Town on September 13th. We’ll stay longer where we like and skip out of what we don’t. If you have a hankering to see some place we are going, tell us and we’ll firm up the dates and meet you there. As long as you bring me some Salsa Doña from Austin. Adios till next year and we leave you to deal with the Donald. Bwahahahaha.