Carpe Diem in the Okavango Delta

spontaneous / spɒnˈteɪnɪəs – adjective:

performed or occurring as a result of a sudden impulse or inclination and without premeditation or external stimulus.
synonyms: unplanned, unrehearsed, impulsive, spur-of-the-moment

having an open, natural, and uninhibited manner.
synonyms: relaxed, unselfconscious, free and easy

Many things seem to come more easily to our little ones. As much as we try to teach them lesson after lesson, from the classroom to their own room at home, from drawing within the lines to sleeping in their own bed, they teach us. Daily. And not in an insignificant way. I see this constantly with my two bush boys. Now beach boys, being Cape Town rooted. I see their courage in a moment when I might be fearful. I see their “jump first, think later” spirit, their “play like no one’s watching” attitude and I wonder if it’s something we need to work harder at as adults.

“Why not seize the pleasure at once? — How often is happiness destroyed by preparation, foolish preparation!” – Jane Austen, Emma

On our recent safari in Botswana, the ultimate lesson came from not only my two boys, but one large helicopter levitating before me. A friend surprised us with a chopper ride during our time in the Okavango Delta. We’d have been happy with a mug, Starla. Clean socks. My Little Pony. But a heli ride over one of the grandest waterways in all the world… While I got my mind around the selfless kindness of said friend and this exciting change of plans, Carlos and Renzi were already belting up and getting ready to fly.

It is a branch in the tree of bravery to be able to leap at new experiences without thought, and it is perhaps one that children climb a little more eagerly than we, the parents.

It’s a skill life calls for constantly. In the words of Carroll Bryant, “No matter how many plans you make or how much in control you are, life is always winging it.” In the traveller’s life, it is especially essential – the ability to risk security, to throw caution to the wind, to choose curiosity over fear. It is what opens up the world for us, like a fine pewter letter opener, slicing the sealed envelope open to reveal something life-changing inside. Something a lot like this… with all the squeals and smiles of joy that accompanied it.

Thank you, dear boys, for continuing to teach Mama a few tricks of your own. And thank you, dear friends, for paving the way for those lessons. And smiles. (Boys and their helicopters…)

Read more about our Botswana safari in our blogs: