by Rick Nichols (originally posted by Austin Trail Running Company)
Hello Friends, It’s Rick from Austin Trail Running again. I am doing a series of blogs this month on different companies we have partnered with, and this is a really special one to me.
I will start off by saying this was a life changing experience for me, and I have never been the same since. I had always been an adventure junkie, and traveling was a huge part of my life. I was a flight attendant for 20 years, and have traveled the world many times. I retired in May of 2015, and thought I was done with traveling. Boy, I was so wrong! I actually got my love of travel back, and once again started to enjoy it. I guess not having to hand out peanuts, and cleaning up puke in the seats makes a big difference in your travel experience. Who knew?
I had met one of the founders of this company many years ago. We were on the same race team. Allison Macsas was considered on of the great elite runners in Austin, and still is today. I pretty much knew her best from behind since I was never fast enough to be able to say “Hello”. Let’s face it! If I had by some chance been able to catch her.I probably would been so close to having a heart attack that I doubt “Hello” would have been my first choice of words. I can be quick, but not that quick! Well, that’s not true. I do remember a time in college running for my life from an ex-girlfriend. I think I clocked close to four minute miles that day! Anyways, back to the story:)
I had just retired, and was looking for my new adventure in life. I just happened to stumble across Allison one day, and she told me about Rogue Expeditions. I was a bit skeptical at first. They wanted me to pay to run all over some foreign country, and enjoy it. I love to run! I have my whole life, but lets be honest! Running was not my first thought when vacation came to mind, and I had never thought of one centered around running. So being the well balanced, and totally logical person I am. I signed up that day:)
I arrived in Africa, and was met in baggage claim by Allison, and two other guides who I would soon call friends (George and Melly). I was taken aback right away at how kind the people were in Kenya, and how it was such a slower pace than anywhere I had ever been in the world. I was taken to my hotel, and greeted with fresh juice, and a cup of coffee. I could do a whole blog just on African coffee alone! Best in the world! My mouth is watering right now just thinking about it. I was taken to my room, and warned several times not to leave my windows open. People don’t realize that monkeys are just little thieves in disguise as cute little furry things! They will steal everything you have, and come back later to steal the stuff you replaced it with.
So, that evening we were introduced to everyone else in the group with a huge African feast. The food is incredible! I didn’t know at the time, but I was meeting people I would adventure with many more times. They are my close friends, and the greatest travel companions! We wrapped up the night early to get some rest, and get rid of some jet lag. We had our first run in the morning with some elite athletes. I mean elite! If you run over a 2:10 marathon in Africa your considered back of the pack! Luckily, for me, they were on their third run of the day, and kept my pace. So they pretty much walked beside me as I ran!
I ran with giraffes, and zebras! I ate lunch within a 1000 feet of lions. I met the local tribe, and ran in parts of Africa few see. This was a true adventure trip! You have no idea what was gonna happen during the day. What you were gonna see? Who you were gonna meet? What adventure lay around the next corner? Have you ever seen a cheetah teach her young how to hunt, and kill their prey? I did, and it was amazing! Well, not for the water buffalo:(
I will never be able to describe Africa to you in just words. It’s so much more than beauty, and exotic animals. Africa is a way of life. They have a saying “pole pole”. It means slower slower. That’s how life is there. People enjoy the riches of life even if they don’t have any wealth. They take each moment, and live it to the fullest.
I could tell stories all day about my experiences in Kenya. I am not the kind of person who enjoys being in a resort for a week or two. I want adventure! I want my heart to race with excitement, and really become a part of what surrounds me! Rogue Expeditions delivers that, and much more! I ran the famous dirt track in Iten where the fastest runners in the world train. It took my breath away! I could tell you about my adventures on Kilimanjaro, and how I passed out at 17,000′. Yeah, I did that! I could write about my Patagonia trip where I swam nude in the “Sea of Magellan”. I can’t really recommend doing that! It was super cold!
This company is a diamond of a find! Take it from a professional traveler. I have been so many places, but never really experienced the culture. Yeah, I can book a resort or pick a local place to eat. Buy a few souvenirs at a store. These trips make you part of the culture! They do trips all over the globe, and some close to home. This fall they have one of their most popular trips which is to Morocco. It’s also guided by Anna Frost which is one of my heroes:) Check out Rogue Expeditions and maybe I’ll see you somewhere around the globe!