Stop Often and Experience - Prepare to be Amazed

Something that is a bit of a mantra when I’m out and about whether walking or driving. Stop and see what happens around you - it’s as if after about 5min, ‘normal’ activity around you resumes. This is especially true when out in nature, whether a large national park or just your garden - your movements have stopped, creatures perceive the danger or risk to be over and resume their activities.

The photos of the horse are from an encounter in Rooisand Nature Reserve in the Overberg (Cape Province, South Africa) where wild horses roam the area. This individual started walking to me after I’d been sitting on the grass for awhile, eventually grazing about 2metres from me.

In cities and towns, it appears that everything that is happening at a pace, slows down especially for your benefit - all that’s happening though is that you’re noticing details, seeing faces, gestures and reactions. This is one of the reasons that when there’s a coffee shop/restaurant with tables and chairs on the sidewalk, you’ll find me sitting there watching the passing parade - not reading or even like some, facedown to their mobile phone. You’ll be surprised how relaxed you become watching, listening and becoming the proverbial fly on the wall. A bonus is that you’ll very likely end up learning something new about the place and people where you’re at.

Out in nature the stopping and watching has directly resulted in some of my most amazing encounters, albeit nerve-wracking at times, with wildlife wandering to a spot within meters of me, or right up to me. Even when scuba diving, settling in one spot culminated in one of my most memorable wildlife moments ever; a Giant Manta swimming a half meter from me and after what seemed ages, but were probably a few seconds, moved away and that was when I realised I’d not even been breathing for that moment!

Sitting next to a trail with clients and studying some small insects or tracks in the sand, I hear a sharp intake of breath from one of them and look up - a bull elephant had walked right up to us, well 2-3m away from us. The soft sand had made enabled him to walk up unheard till the client happened to look up. We sat frozen in time, me saying very softly through my teeth “Don’t move!” Trust me, this is the hardest thing to do when your mind is telling you to get the hell out of there although admittedly, the legs would probably not be working all that well.

This is also something which photographers will usually subscribe too, especially wildlife photographers and filmmakers who can all attest to the rewards of days and weeks waiting for the animal to appear, for the hoped for interaction to take place.

When something large/obvious is not turning up next to you, the therapeutic effect of momentarily merging into the surroundings is more than just worthwhile. Anybody who’s sat quietly around a campfire, on a rock watching the ocean breakers or atop a peak letting the panorama absorb you, will remember that moment of tranquility that slowly envelops you.

Had any experiences while sitting quietly somewhere? Share it below in the comments.


Expedition Logistics, Travel Planning And Tourism Product Development

A diverse portfolio of services with the tourism and hospitality industry as basis, include travel planning, expedition logistics and support, tourism and hospitality product development, and product/destination marketing.