Monthly Archives: May 2012

Home

Where is home? Is it where we were born or lived as a child or is it where we end up? Is it a geographical place or a specific abode? Is it one place or can it be plural? Is what comes to each of our hearts when we say “that is home” always associated with the positive? Could you call something home if it were negative? What makes a location feel like home?

I left what I knew as home when I was 19. It was not the place I was born but the place I had lived as long as I was old enough to remember. The details of my leaving is another story, but my destination was Oklahoma where I subsequently spent the next 10 years. Having grown up on the Pacific Coast it was like moving to a foreign country. The land and culture was alien to me. Even after 10 years it never felt like home. I not only missed my family, I still missed ‘my country’.

I married a military officer and we spent many years traveling the world. It was exciting to experience so many new people and places. But as much as I enjoyed it none of the places we lived and traveled ever felt like home and I was always ready to move on. In my heart home was still where my childhood memories were created. Not a specific house – we lived in 4 different ones – but places like grandma’s and the beautiful wilderness that I was free to explore.

The Serengeti, Tanzania

Then one day, I traveled to Africa and something unexpected happened. The concept of home went deeper and wider than I ever imagined. I looked upon the great plains and woodlands, the high mountain ridges and the deep gorges of the Rift Valley that make up Tanzania and felt in my bones I was home. I don’t know where this strong feeling came from other than a deep primal knowing, buried in my DNA, that my roots were here. This feeling has never left me.

My concept of home has changed through the years. What is home to you? Has it changed as your life evolved? What is home?

Join me on the journey.

Becci Crowe   Adventure Artist

Categories: Life, Travel | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Going to the dogs

Jane Goodall, Becci Crowe, & Greg Rasmussen

Plans are in the works to return to Africa again this year. It will be my 10th trip and this experience promises to be like no other.  My husband and I will be joining Dr. Greg Rasmussen, Founder & Research Director of Painted Dog Conservation in Zimbabwe.  No safari for us – it won’t be necessary – we’ll be camped out in the bush with wildlife 24/7  as we track, collar, and collect data on the endangered Painted Dogs of Africa.We first met Greg 18 months ago while attending the Wildlife Conservation Network  in San Francisco.  I’d been following his work with Painted Dogs and we hit it off immediately.  Greg’s friends include many internationally known conservationists including the legendary Jane Goodall.

“Painted” patterns are unique to each dog

 

Painted Dogs, also known as African Wild Dogs, are unique to Africa and among Africa’s most endangered species.  At the turn of the 20th century there were half a million. It is estimated that only 3,000 – 5,000 still survive. The population in Zimbabwe is one of the last strongholds of the species and Greg’s Painted Dog Conservation  is committed to saving them.

Painted Dogs have long legs, a lean body and large ears.  Their coats vary in pattern and coloration mixing black, grey, gold, and white to produce a unique painted effect.  They live in packs and are very social.  Only the dominant male and female breed, but the whole pack takes care of the young.

Hyena and Painted Dog

 

 

 

A question I’m often asked is how Painted Dogs differ from hyenas.  Seeing them side by side makes the physical differences obvious.  Hyena will take every opportunity to steal whatever the Dogs kill.

Becci & her guide in Zimbabwe in 2004 surrounded by a large pack of Painted Dog

On our last trip to Zimbabwe we filmed our documentary  “As Close As You Dare – Africa” which was broadcast by PBS across the US.  During our filming we encountered a large pack of Painted Dogs and found ourselves surrounded.  We captured some incredible footage that shows what happened.  (The DVD is available) While in Zimbabwe this year with Greg Rasmussen we’ll be searching for this pack again to record how they’re doing.

My summer adventure.  What’s on your list?  Join me on the journey.

Becci Crowe   Adventure Artist

Categories: Travel, Wildlife | Tags: , , , , | 7 Comments

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