The blonde haired, blue eyed, fair skinned woman walking through the market in Arusha stands out from the crowds of spiral haired, brown eyed, chocolate skinned locals. She wanders through the tight rows of food stalls, all stacked to the sky with their rainbow produce, weaving between the hawkers selling their wares.
That blonde woman is me. My fair complexion, cautious approach, and eyes wide with wonder identify me as a foreigner; yet I have never felt so at home as I do in Tanzania.
I call Sydney, Australia home. My childhood home looks out to the towering skyscrapers of the city on one side, and the golden beaches and sparkling sea on the other. I live a privileged life – a kitchen full of food, a wardrobe full of clothes, and a life full of opportunities to study, travel, and shape my future.
The men, women and children of the villages of northern Tanzania live a much simpler life. Often whole extended families live in one mud and thatch hut the size of a single car garage, set back from the dusty corrugated road. There is little space, or money, for lavish personal items or non-essential food, and many villagers have never travelled beyond the next village. Yet their joyful smiles and inner peace express a contented acceptance of life.
Having no regrets is all about acceptance; acceptance of your circumstances and acceptance of your choices. Coming from the hustle and bustle of the city to the natural flow of life in northern Tanzania provides new perspective. Here people live in the moment and accept life for what it offers, making the most of the haves rather than wanting the have nots.
In Tanzania time beats at the perfect pace, and the people work with the natural flow of time. There is no racing from place to place, no wishing the weekend would arrive, or begging the clock to slow down before a deadline. Africa is the only place in the world that impassions me to get up when the sun rises and enjoy the day as nature intends it to unfold.
For me, the days spent journeying through the natural surroundings of northern Tanzania are the most fulfilling. Each national park welcomes its guests into a different environment, from the luscious leafy canopy of Lake Manyara Park to the endless dusty plains of the Serengeti. Sitting in a vehicle mere metres away from a pride of lionesses gentling tending their cubs, or halting the car as a herd of elephants wander trunk to tail across the path, are some of life’s most heart-warming experiences.
Every moment in this setting is a gift. The serenity of the landscape and its inhabitants affords the realisation that each of us is just one small dot in the big picture of life. It inspires me to care more about the environment and to return to my home committed to being a better global citizen.
Flying out of northern Tanzania after ten incredible days, I leave this region full of love for this country and joy for what I have experienced. More importantly, I take away an unexpected sense of calm and belonging; full of inspiration, a renewed perspective on life, and absolutely no regrets. I promise myself that I will return, and am silently excited that one day I will again be the blonde haired, blue eyed, fair skinned woman in the local marketplace.
About the Author: Danielle Fryday is a 30 year old Learning and Development professional from Sydney, Australia. I have been brought up travelling with my parents, and have recently married the love of my life who also shares a passion for travel. Our honeymoon to Africa has inspired me to explore travel writing opportunities to share our adventures with others.
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