Tracks of Giants: Personal Reflection

The TRACKS team were due to cross the border into western Botswana today, 27 May,  at remote Dobe and to meet PJ Besterlink, old friend and conservation “giant” of Botswana.  As the Logistics Manager for the expedition, when I had heard nothing from the team by 6 pm I had to confront just how much I have invested in them being where they should be at the right time!
All six of the core team have had to take a large step outside their comfort zone and are facing both internal and external challenges. Such is the nature of true challenge.  But, I have also taken a step into the unknown.

So, here are some reflections on another kind of journey – from the “logistics lady”  –  hearkening back to the words of Robert Frost that I recently posted on Facebook.

The woods are lovely dark and deep
But I have promises to keep
And miles to go before I sleep……

These lines are more about me than those actually undertaking the expedition. They reflect my sense of where I am personally in coping with the demands of the expedition. The challenges are “24/7”, and my sleep is often disturbed by logistical nightmares (sometimes even good ideas!) that have me sitting up in bed with my notebook and pen so as not to forget in the morning.

I promised (to myself, mostly) that I will look after the logistics of the Tracks project so that it works and, as far as possible, is on time  so that plans can made around the schedule. I knew there would be constant challenges and little hiccups –  too much/too little food, missed flights, ill-health and accidents,  miscommunications and other curve balls.  And, when I am on site with the team and Ian asks that I stay as long as possible to make him happy – I have to respond that everything I’m doing is “to make him happy,”  and to keep the project working and on time I need to be here in Cape Town at the beck and call of my computer.

Emerging out of the stress is the sweet thought of a place or a time – a refuge – a sanctuary – where no-one can reach me (not even my own obsessive thoughts) and there are no demands, no permissions to seek, no requests for help or logos or pictures or changed flights or transfers or sweets or maps.  I have a special memory of the hazelwood forest around my sister’s home in Cornwall, where the woods are lovely………

Three and bit months before I sleep!!!!

However, I do not want to make this sound like I have no-one backing me up.  While I am not sleeping   — and even when I am — I cannot forget the support that I receive in so many ways. Andrew and Claire of the Wilderness Foundation, PE, Kim (Anton’s mom), Kelly (Elephants without Borders), Craig (Peace Parks) – and many more –  thank you for being there and for doing what you can to help whenever I ask, and a big thank you to my understanding family and friends.  Thank you all!

At 6.30 pm today, 27 May,  Ian called from 8km outside XaiXai to say that they had all arrived (where they should be),  all are in good spirits  – and all is well!!  Perhaps I will sleep tonight…

>Visit the official Tracks of Giants website

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