RSS Feed (xml)

Powered By

Skin Design:
Free Blogger Skins

Powered by Blogger

Monday, March 30, 2009

Old Dreams and New! Welcome to my Blog!

If you had asked me the question, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" ten years ago my answer would have been hands down, "I want to be on Broadway." Performance whether vocal or instrumental has always been a large part of my life and always will be. However, while singing on Broadway is still a dream of mine it is no longer the dream. Would I still love the opportunity--absolutely, but it just isn't where my focus is anymore. Don't get me wrong, I'll still perform whenever I can, would still like to have a music room in a home one day complete with pianos and various other percussion instruments including a marimba and a xylophone, and will still jump at any opportunity to get paid to sing. However, pursuing performance as a career is no longer my main focus. It's an interesting realization to have since it has always been such a big part of me, but I also know that it always will remain a part of me.

Pursuing a professional career in music or theatre is perhaps one of the hardest tasks anyone could undertake. It requires hours of practice and single minded dedication. If I were to go down that path right this minute I would need to hire a new voice teacher, a vocal coach, take endless refresher dance lessons, prepare monologues....the list goes on and on. It would then be followed by hours of standing in line for a chance to be seen let alone to be heard by a panel of critics and endless calls of rejection peppered with the occasional acceptance....hopefully. It is more than a full time job and while worth it, just isn't where my heart is. I have always had trouble with that single minded dedication because I have always had a million other things I have wanted to do as well. For those of you who know me well, this will not in any way be a surprise to you! So, while I will always jump at the chance to perform and still have many parts I intend to play one day, I probably won't make a full time career of it...though you'd be surprised how well the skills I have learned from performing translate into all kinds of vocations.....

Over the past couple of years I have realized a new dream from which goals are starting to take shape. Now my passion revolves around travel, education, and wildlife conservation and the desire to get people to go out into the world to enjoy, learn, and protect what is out there. I have been very fortunate in the adventures and experience that I have had, and I want to share them so others can feel that joy that I have. Some of my new goals and ideas are:

1. Visit every continent...hopefully multiple times! I've already hit N. America, Australia, Europe and Africa.....3 more to go! I think Asia or S. America will be next...though I do love Australia and Africa...who knows....

2. Start a travel company that gets people out there travelling...especially those who wouldn't normally be able to afford it. I can't go in to too much detail because someone might steal my idea..and then where would I be.........:-)

3. Obtain a position in a Zoo/Aquarium or wildlife organization that allows me to educate the public about wildlife conservation and all the animals that I love. Being able to get involved with the Special Events and Travel depts. would be a bonus too! Hire me...please.....:-)

4. I saw Jack Hanna yesterday and told my husband Joe that I want to be "Cat Chiappa." He told me that I already am.....because I married him......That wasn't quite what I meant......I'd love to be like Jack Hanna and Jeff Corwin and get paid to travel the world teaching people about wildlife and geography, and voluntourism...but I'd like to bring other people with me!

5. Continue to get paid to perform....hey maybe not Broadway...but I'll take it where I can get it....;-)

This blog will be an assortment of animal information and facts, travel tips and suggestions, topical books reviews and other interesting tidbits as I see fit. I hope you enjoy my insights into our "Wild and Wonderful World!" Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Africa: An End to the Beginning

It is hard to believe that is it has been six months since I left Africa. I had a wonderful adventure and I would encourage absolutely everyone to go. I know I yearn for it every day and would go back in a heartbeat if I could afford it.

Harnas Wildlife Foundation in Namibia is a magical place. I realized it while I was there but you don't fully appreciate it until you come home. Unfortunately I made the decision to come home two weeks early, which while I felt it was right at the time, in retrospect was one I wish I hadn't made. When I arrived it was a shock to my system. I missed Joe and was concerned because I couldn't get in touch with him for the first few days. I felt old as many of the people were 19 and 20 and taking time off from school etc. The first night there was a crazy party and people were drinking and vomiting etc and I just remember thinking "oh no, what have I gotten myself into." I'm not much of a drinker and I prefer small groups to parties, so it wasn't something I was used to. It also took a lot for me to get used to (and truthfully I never really did) cutting up fresh horse and donkey meat. So, I decided that while it was a place I was glad that I was able to visit, 4 weeks would be too long. Of course, as time went on I made closer friendships and fell deeply in love with the animals and was excited to return home to Joe but sad to leave after the 2 week period. I also found out later that the night I left the 4 lion cubs had been born and that the next day they had to take them away from their mother for fear that the father would kill them, so I could have spent my last two weeks playing with baby lions cubs!

When I arrived in the US is was really hard to adjust. I desperately missed Africa and everything was so different. The smells of the city were abrasive and the noise was so loud. It was culture shock I hadn't felt before and it was interesting that I felt it upon returning to surroundings of which I was familiar.

I think what I miss the most about Africa is the sounds. At Harnas I was lulled to sleep each night by several roaring lions and the occasional horse whinny, jackal call, and warthog grunt. On one night I was even lucky enough to sleep next to two beautiful cheetahs who soothed me to sleep with their thunderous purring. In Zambia we heard hippos "laughing" at each other throughout the night and in Kruger we listened for the haunting call of the hyena.

When I got to Africa I thought, alright this is nice, but I don't love it the way I love Australia. I knew it was something I would enjoy and could picture myself going back but I didn't feel the same heart wrenching tug that I do for Australia. However, after spending 6 weeks there I found that Africa had infiltrated not just my heart, but also my soul. A piece of my soul will always belong to Africa and it is a place I hope to return to many times throughout my life. I'd love to visit Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana, travel through Namibia and take the Garden Route drive in S. Africa. I don't picture myself living there like I do Australia, but who am I kidding...I am always thinking up crazy ideas and usually execute them so I won't rule it out!

The bottom line is that while it was an expensive decision and a sometimes stressful experience (I'd probably have a job by now if I hadn't gone) I wouldn't trade it for the world and if I had to do it all over again, I would make that decision every time! As for Harnas, I think I'll go back. I hope that when I do find that perfect job, it is one that lets me take leaves of absence from time to time to volunteer with animals in places like Harnas, and I hope to be able to show it to others one day. For now I will just have to be content with my pictures and my dreams.