2017 Year in Review

2017 went by in a flash. It was the busiest year I can remember. I can’t believe how much we did and saw on top of keeping up with an insane workload. And I absolutely cannot believe it is over, because that means that our time in Botswana is pretty much over! Which leaves me very sad but excited for new challenges and adventures to come.

Highlights of 2017 (in no particular order):

Dancing with Lemurs in Madagascar.
-Hiking with the silverback Gorillas in Rwanda and exploring the Serengeti with Garrett’s Parents
-swimming with mantas in Maldives
-seeing our first hammerhead sharks in the Red Sea
-Seeing Abu Simbel and the pyramids
-Seeing Petra and sleeping in a bubble tent under the Stars in Wadi Rum
-Seeing our first kill on safari and then seeing 5 more in one day at Mombo camp
-feeding, walking and mokoroing with the Abu herd of elephants at Abu camp
-staying in the turret of a previous arabian palace in zanzibar
-raising 6 chickens
-taking our first trip in the defender
-floating in the dead sea
-seeing the milky way over the kalahari with great friends
-being maid of honor for my sister’s wedding
-helping to organize the first international albinism awareness day campaign in botswana
-getting a grant award for my first attempt at a research grant proposal
-making delicious home-brewed beer and cider in botswana
-reuniting with friends to celebrate halloween in austin
-publishing my first paper on some of my innovative work in botswana and having people actually reach out to me about it
-successfully implementing a sunscreen program for people with albinism in botswana and getting the ministry of health to agree to continue funding it
-training a local medical officer in dermatology to become fully functional and independent
-taking a girls trip to mozambique
-Garrett going tiger fishing during the barbel run in the Okavango                                           -getting to make two visits to the RDTC in Tanzania and working with Standing Voice albinism organization

2018 is going to be a big year for us with some big changes. Our time in Botswana ends at the beginning of February..so what’s next?… First on the agenda is some time off. Some of you may know, we have been planning a big road trip since we made the move to Botswana. We will be setting off the first week of February on an overland journey in our Defender which Garrett has been feverishly working to fix up and get kitted out for this trip. The trip will be 3-4 months total…..depending mainly on how the Defender does. I’m expecting hiccups and unforeseen challenges so we are trying to keep things flexible. Our planned route will take us first to South Africa – mainly to Kruger then we will pass through Swaziland and on to St. Lucia on the far east coast, then we will cross to Mozambique and drive the entire whole coast. The main goal here is to hop along to different dive sites and make it up to the Quirimbas Archipelago. Then we cross into Malawi to chill on the lake. Then Zambia. Them Zimbabwe. Then Botswana to explore every remote corner we haven’t fully discovered yet. Then finally the northern half of Namibia. Our goals are to get to the most remote and wild places in southern africa, learn how to survive on our own, capture some amazing landscapes and wildlife, meet some interesting people, have some unplanned, insane, likely risky adventures and see what it takes to survive on the road. We won’t be totally cut off, unfortunately I’ll still be working remotely because there just isn’t anyone else to do my job in Botswana and I still have ongoing research projects…. but it will be as closest to completely disconnected as we will ever be.

We will put up our full itinerary soon, so for anyone who fancies joining us along the way for some wild escapades, feel free to drop us a line! Follow our journey here, or on instagram where we will be posting as often as possible.

Wish us luck!

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