An African journey, an experiential holiday to Japan and a South American trip

Part one: the African journey 2015: an extract from Madhavi’s diary:

You see things; you say why? But I dream things that never were and say, why not? George Bernard Shaw.

I am waking up to a typical day in London. Grey skies with a forecast of rain. It is Millie’s sports day today and I should be getting ready to play the Tiger Mum.

But my mind is on the 5 week journey that we will embark on this evening when we board our flight to Johannesburg.

From Jo’burg, we will connect to Maun and then take a light aircraft to the Okavango delta in Botswana. After 21 years of working in the City,

I am taking about half a mini sabbatical. Wanting to do something different and off the beaten track, I was getting disillusioned with typical holiday brochures when I came across the incredible Nick Matthews from Lateral Life.

After working through my long wish list, Nick came up with a great plan of travelling in Africa. But I said, that’s where I always go for work. “This is the Africa you will not have seen before” he assured me.

True to his word, Nick presented me with an itinerary that combined everything on my wish list – no 6 star Dubaiesque hotels, no German limos to pick us up from the airport, no French restaurants, no 600 thread count sheets and no glamping Africa style!

Just a journey off the beaten track and discovering part of a continent filled with passion, charm, simple people, simple food and may be just a little bit unpredictable.

And so, after months of planning, discussion, visa trials and triumphs and questions of whether I will be able to take a 6 year old with me, here I am, swapping Greek default, complex infrastructure financings and Wimbledon finals for an African adventure.

I am going through the packing list in my mind, essential medication, Deet 55, Deet 100, comfortable clothes, fleeces for those chilly mornings and evenings and a first for me – strictly no high heels. Looking at my beautiful Millie, a typical south west London child, her Cath Kidston rucksack – packed with “essentials” – an IPad, a Paperchase sketch book, twister colours, Haribos and a couple of Roald Dahl books, I realise I haven’t exactly gone through the details of our travel plans with her.

She does not know that we are going animal tracking in the delta, that she is going to learn how to make bows and arrows and that we may not have any electricity for ”a few” days.

No water parks, no kids club, possibly no pasta and definitely no pizza; just unlimited Mummy and Daddy time, animals and nature.” Part 2: Japan 2016: “We came back to sunny London yesterday.

Thought I would drop you a line to say what an amazing time we had. A magical two weeks with unique and wonderful experiences and the Cherry Blossoms were just right. All the arrangements (including the orientation and our local information pack) were perfect and your local agents left no room for criticism. Every guide looked after Millie so well – we were very touched. They also gave us some lovely gifts – it was embarrassing as I had nothing for them and you said no tips!! All in all – a memorable and unique trip and thank you so much for arranging it for us!! Can’t wait for South America now!”

Part 3: the South American trip 2016:“We had a wonderful trip with lots is excitement and adventure. The arrangements were excellent and we were most impressed with the local agents: guides in Argentina and Peru and, of course, dear old Alessandro. Our highlights were Iguacu Falls, the sand dunes of Lencois Marahenses in Brazil and Peru.

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