Waking Up in Kenya with Nietzsche

The fog in my head feels eerily like a hangover but I know that’s impossible because quarantine took away such mornings long ago. The daylight can no longer be ignored so with a bit of indignation I roll out of bed.

It would take too much effort to walk over to the window, so instead I stare at the walls.

Life has become a strange, repeated existence. I had no idea how dull the world could be. Walking to the kitchen, I retrace my steps: choose the coffee, grind the beans, and press a button to signal the start of a new day.

Is it a new day? These repetitive steps all merge together, the same scene played over and over. No longer frustrating, instead replaced by a complacent feeling of comfort. Dull comfort.

Quarantine has caged the animal within.  I stifle a yawn; life is no longer lived enthusiastically, but endured. Millimeter-by-millimeter these four walls close in on me.

I slump to the floor and unconsciously reach for a book nestled under a family of dust bunnies. I turn it over and close my eyes, wishing to fall back into an empty sleep.

A wave of color floods to my face. Not sure if it’s my embarrassment of the mess around my flat or the apathy engulfing my spirit. Based on my pattern of eating, sleeping, and general slothfulness, both would be correct.

Before slinging the book back underneath the shelf, I take a quick glance at the title: Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra stares back asking, “what happened to this person who lived on the edge, recklessly, always reaching higher?” Perfect.

Nietzsche.  One of the few German philosopher I enjoy reading – his ideas mesh with my lust for life. A timely find, and perhaps through Nietzsche’s words I have the chance to escape this quarantine prison. “Become who you are…” I laugh a bit at the thought. 

My mind drifts back to when I was in rhythm with life, in tune with the basic impulses that once sparked human existence. I’m back on the Maasai Mara. Waking up with the sunrise, and the mysteries of the world coming to life. I’m a newborn kid in awe of the unlimited potential at dawn.

Kenya evokes the curiosity of a child at play, savoring the simple beauty of nature. Pieces of the world adults no longer see or experience. A spirit freed from the structure of modern life. 

Nietzsche also saw the wild child as a key piece of his philosophy, the spirit of his Übermensch, the superman, who raged against the colorless and sterile trends of modern society.

“In every real man a child is hidden that wants to play…” Nietzsche wrote, the child’s ability to forget quickly and continue moving forward in time. It is the free spirit of the Übermensch, his philosophy tapping into the childlike fearlessness to discover the magic of potential.

The haze outside my window flickers and comes alive; its piercing eyes reflect the wild side of life. Inviting me to attack.

Outside my room, the Maasai Mara glows, reminding me we are born to play, to race, and fiercely compete with ourselves. Creating friction in life to stir up the soul, and here in Kenya there is a cauldron of emotions I’ve long forgotten. 

Inside my room, however, there is decadence: TV reruns, day-old pizza, an unmade bed with empty cartons of Ben & Jerry’s scattered around ~ all slices of self-destruction further sucking me into contentment, a place my free spirit fled months ago.

Inside. Outside. Black. White.

It is a little humorous. Here I am, wrapped up on the couch, comfortable in this cocoon of safety with all this technology insulating my life. Everything is a tap away on my iPhone. 

And outside a wilderness is calling. 

I reach over and pick up the book again. 

The human spirit is a complex one, a dichotomy of two desires.

  • The first desire is of order and structure, necessary to build a world where humans and technology merge, advancing society.
  • The second is a competing desire, the undeniable urge for chaos, a place where genius and creativity is born.

When one is absent, there is an imbalance and the soul is thrown into turmoil.

“You must have chaos within you to give birth to a dancing star…” an ode to the necessity of exploring the forbidden in order to find brilliance.

In the Nietzschean world, it is the struggle between the Apollonian spirit of order and Dionysian spirit of chaos, and this year the Apollonian (confined spirit) is crushing the Dionysian (free spirit) ~ and it isn’t even close. 

Like an unhindered animal in nature, the spirit must be allowed to run free. 

The winds of Kenya break my thought, carrying spices of new experiences announcing the arrival of chaos, a migration to search and discover. 

The pieces of electricity we create define who we are, whether it’s living in foreign worlds or raising children and experiencing the world again from their perspective. 

Moments of bliss that move us up a higher level and remind us never stop seeking.     

Out on the Mara plains, I see the curious eyes of chaos staring back. Taunting me with the playful knowledge that this bizarre year is no reason to give in to indifference.

The beauty of Kenya taught my soul long ago to “become who you are…” and made me realize I am not at war with the world but instead searching for peace.

While my coffee grows cold, I get up and search for something clean to wear. I’ve been stuck in the mud too long. My Dionysian free spirit has returned with new dreams and I’m ready to tread on the edge of the void. 

Nietzsche and Kenya blend well together, and I’m wide awake. I slip on my shoes and prepare to step back into this brave new world. 

I place the book back on the shelf and hear the laughter of Nietzsche, his famous words pushing me out the door: “What does not kill you, makes you stronger…” 

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself
Any direction you choose.
You’re on your own. And
you know what you know.
And YOU are the one who’ll
decide where to go.

– Dr. Seuss

127 Comments on “Waking Up in Kenya with Nietzsche

  1. Fantastic post with fantastic photos. You even worked in Dr. Seuss in with Nietzsche.

    • Thank you, Tim, and this is perfect, and very happy both you and Liz were taken with the connection between Seuss and Nietzsche. For most of us, Dr. Seuss is the first philosopher we were introduced to, and he opens the door to many of the great thinkers. Wonderful comment, cheers and take care.

      • It’s great how you put it all together. I was also reminded about when I had to be deported in 2016. The only place available in the hospital that day was a children’s surgery. I read “Le Chat au Chapeau” that was among the children’s book while waiting for the surgeon. It all was a bit mystical with Seuss’s philosophy in French waiting to be deported (my port was infected and had to be removed pronto).

        BTW. I’m doing a silly travel photo challenge that is supposed to be a chain blog. While I’m not nominating or challenging anyone else to participate, I am mentioning a favorite photo blogger each post. You are on for tomorrow.

    • Thank you so much, Sue, for reading and the comment. I hope all is well and you have a great holiday season.

  2. I love that you added a Dr Seuss quote, Randall. Yes, we are the one’s who decide where we will go. This pause this year all forced us into was a challenging one. It will be interesting to see what happens when we regain our freedom of movement. If we will simply revert to our old ways, or if we will re-evaluate the way we move in the world. I love how you’ve punctuated your thoughts with pictures from the Mara. The African sun is so much part of who I am, and Kenya in particular resonates so well with me. I find my heart aches and contracts with memories and longing, when I look at your brilliant photographs. You’ve captured the spirit of the place on so many levels. May 2021 be kinder to our restless feet.

    • I think this quote is pretty much perfect for you, Jolandi. Interesting to think about what will happen when we are allowed to roam freely again and I would think with such a challenging year, we will be re-evaluating for awhile. There is something about Africa and Kenya in particular which captured my imagination like none other. With you coming from the continent, I think you’ll never be able to ‘leave’ as it will cling to you forever ~ and you are a lucky lady to have such a rich history there. Wish you a great start in 2021 and enjoy the final week 🙂

      • Elif Shafak writes “we do not give up on the places we love just because we are physically detached from them” in her book How to Stay Sane in an Age of Division. She talks about how we are made up of multiple identities because of that. I like that idea. It feels so true for me. Even when we visit places for just a short time, when they resonate with our souls, we take a bit of them with us, and allow it to shape and change us. That is why I love to travel so much. But travel doesn’t have to be to far flung places. It can also be closer to our homes. I’m thinking a lot about that these days. Wishing you many more travel opportunities, Randall.

  3. A master at storytelling Randall, your post touches the heart both through your story and your images. You weave them together beautifully. Of course the images are superb as always but it’s the way you use them to create the story that is magical. Somehow I do not see you as the slothful creature you describe…ever….no matter what! Best to you and yours this holiday my friend.

    • A wonderful comment to read today, Tina, makes my day ~ thank you very much. Ha, ha, I did have to stretch my slothfulness a bit to fit the story ~ only my work desk is cluttered, everything else my Apollonian spirit keeps in order :-). Wishing you a wonderful holiday, and the best to you and your family as we begin to enter a New Year ~ take care.

  4. Wow! Some of the images are out of this world Randall. Thanks for sharing your story of “free spirit.” Happy Holidays and cheers to pandemic free 2021…keeping my positive spirit alive.

    • Thank you very much, Balroop, Kenya really is unlike anyplace I’ve ever been. Wishing you and yours a wonderful holiday season as well, and a healthy and happy 2021.

  5. Thank you for the beautiful images and musings on life. Randall. I like the idea of a mix of order and chaos/ spontaneity to create aliveness. Sadly, my life has been mostly dull and listless for much of the last 20 years. I wonder if I’ll ever have the courage to break out, explore, and be free again. My blog and imagination are about the only traveling I do. Thanks for offering me a taste of freedom.

    • Thank you, Brad, and I think while this year of 2020 has been difficult, it also has been good because it gave us time to reassess ourselves and in a sense, we get to hit the reset button. A mix of exploration is what I miss most this year, especially the simple things to juice up a week such as going to eat at a new restaurant or cuisine such as Middle Eastern, because those small adventures would always get me dreaming and thinking. Just from what I know about your creativity and then taking into account this paradigm shift we’ve all endured, my guess you are going to happily surprise yourself in 2021 ~ curiosity and imagination is a big component of courage, and you have this in abundance 🙂 Look forward to hear what 2021 brings, and while the past is great to reminisce, there is nothing quite like living in the present/future. Cheers to a great holiday season, Brad, enjoy good health and good dreams for today and tomorrow 🍻.

      • Thank you Randall for the very kind, thoughtful, and supportive comments. I like your visions of me and hope to live up to them! To a year of curiosity, courage, and living more fully. I hope you get to travel and explore more. 🙏

  6. Brilliantly written. Thank you for your references to two of my favorite books of all time. (Both the Nietzsche *and* the Seuss.)

    Your photos are breathtaking. I cannot imagine how hard it must be to have lost the ability to travel the world with a camera as a result of this pandemic. I’ve only lost my commute to my relatively mundane job, and that was already hard You’ve reminded me today that there is so much more to me than my comfortable mundane self. That in this captivity there is also creativity surging and restless and eager to be called upon. I will remember this feeling the next time I pick up my guitar to write.

    Thank you.

    • The is one thing about 2020 that surprised me is how easy it was to fall into the ‘comfortable mundane self’ ~ and it was good to realize this as you mention, acknowledging the restlessness of creativity inside :-). Thank you, Nicole, and it is also great to have re-connected with you. This past weekend visiting my older sister and her husband, I played them your “Songs from the Red Room” album, and she loved it and knew your music. She said she is sure she saw you play at Edgefield, her favorite place. Look forward to the time when you can play there again ❤ I think the end of the year is a good time to reminisce about the year in a creative way ~ so look forward to hearing some new tunes from you. Wish you a great Christmas, and take care ~

      • Edgefield has always been one of my favorite places to play. I can hardly wait to be able to do it again. And I’ll never ever again take for granted the opportunity to do something as simple as share an evening of live music together. I look forward to the opportunity to be able to do that with you sometime.

        We’ve come a long way in 30+ years, but it all comes full circle as we find simplicity in the profound, and profundity in the mundane. Happiest of Christmas Eve’s to you and your family.

  7. Randall, this essay is an absolute delight and I couldn’t agree more. Such a timely piece on this day of Solstice.
    Wishing you the best balance of Apollo and Dionysus! Thanks for this gift of your musings of the day ( and year).

    Blessings, Linda

    • Thank you very much, Linda, and I agree, I like the idea of the solstice being a time to balance out the Apollo and Dionysus ~ and taking into account what 2020 has brought us all, not a better time to do so 🙂 Wishing you a great holiday season and for a wonderful start to a new year ahead. Take care ~

  8. Your writing is beautiful and blended with the images makes for an exquisite sensory read. Thank you Randall, for sharing the journey and your spirit.

    • Thank you, Miriam, for these nice words and taking the time to read. Wishing you a wonderful Christmas time!

  9. Thanks for the look inside your mind…and your flat, Randall😉 I felt like I could smell the coffee beans as they were ground. It truly has been a strange year and I think the lack of adventure has put a spotlight on the dichotomy you stated; that have a need for order and structure and the idea that our creativity is born out of chaos. Is it possible this IS and IS NOT truth at the same time? Your photos are just exquisite, and so perfectly paired with the thoughts I believe you were asking us to think about. I don’t know where life goes from here…I am hopeful that enough of us put our light energies together and it opens to our wildest imagination! If that is the case, I want to be in your world!
    Many Sweet Blessings. Stay safe…be well…and Happy Holidays!

    • Ha, ha, yeah, I had to convince myself to introduce the state of my flat in disarray here, but it seemed to match my state of mind so… 🙂 I agree, the lack of adventures, especially the small ones such as trying new foods or just people watching, is a stifling feeling. I do like your optimism that the experience of this past year will bring out enough positive energy to create a whole new world ahead of us, surpassing our wildest imagination. Indeed this would be a great world to live in ~ and with our optimism, it will be a great world to live in 🙂 Cheers, Lorrie, and thank you very much for such a great comment. Wishing you a great holiday season, and stay safe.

      • You bet, Randall! It will be a great year and even through the struggles of this past year we all had opportunities to pay more attention to ourselves; to take more notice of how we react in our world and how we react inside of ourselves. Here’s to 2021!! May it ring in with positivity and hope!

    • Raye ~ beautiful to hear from you, and the elegance of your words… I’ll be waiting, see you soon 🙂
      Wishing you a great finish to the year ~ and enjoy the peace of the holidays. Take care ~

  10. What a stunning series of images, Randall. You have so many travels and experiences to reminisce over.

    It’s hard to make an attempt at some sort of normal life during these difficult times, but I make the basics of housebound living a challenge each day as I recover from hip replacement surgery and unable to do much at all. Still can’t weight-bear on my right foot 3 weeks down the track, but at least I know that one day, life outdoors will begin again and hopefully, some new photography.

    It’s a new world now and while it doesn’t look like it any time soon, I’m hoping you start to feel more positive in 2021. Wishing you an enjoyable holiday and festive season whatever you do. Vicki 🙂

    • One of things this strange year did bring, was the time to reminisce about past travels and experiences which then led to dreams of what may be… It was the closest thing to getting out. I hope you are doing better with your surgery, Vicki, and in way having it done this year was good timing as this year is a good one to settle down and recuperate properly ~ making it possible that when you are able to get out again, the world and nature will be waiting. Thank you very much for the nice comment and read, and very optimistic for what lies out there for us all 🙂 Wishing you well this Christmas season, and take care.

  11. Your posts are such a treat to see and read, Randall. Kenya is a dream of a place through your lens. I hope the quarantine was precautionary and not because you contracted C-19. Two weeks inside for someone like you I imagine would be maddening! Wishing you all the best in the coming year, and may we see the end of this dreaded pandemic.

    • Hi Eliza, and thank you very much ~ this year more than ever, Kenya is a dream place to be. The quarantine was precautionary and all is well, and even though I did have nature right outside the bad weather and news along with the quarantine was a not much fun… but it did give me time to dream a bit of what the new year will bring 🙂 I hope all is well with you and your holiday season is both healthy and happy ~ look forward to see what 2021 has in store for us. Take care ~

    • Thank you very much, Cornelia, for taking the time to visit my post ~ I wish you a wonderful finish to this year.

  12. Hello Randall, you managed to travel to Kenya in these Covid days? Well, you are probably safer in the jungle 🙂 . Thanks for the lovely pictures. Hope to see more in the New Year. More power to you!

    • I was able to travel to Kenya only in my mind this year ~ but it was still a refreshing visit 🙂 It has been a crazy year, although strangely I was able to travel for business between Czech – China – USA, but a lot of testing and quarantining. I’ve been huddling down recently so I could make it back home safely to be with my family for the holidays. Wishing you a great finish to the year and a great holiday season. May the New Year bring us both more opportunities to dream. Cheers, my friend, and take care.

  13. I love this post Randall and your honest reflections about the restrictions of isolation. Often it is in these dark quiet spaces of restriction that deep transformation can occur, if we allow it. As you mirror the freedom and unique places you have experienced against your current reality, all of us are reminded to feel grateful for our privilege to be free. Thank you 😊

    • This year truly has been one to reflect on both ourselves and the world outside ~ I’ve never realized how important some of the simple freedoms I had were until they were taken away. As you say in your wonderful comment, it is the time in those dark quiet places where we begin to grapple with these things we do not understand (about ourselves and the world), and it is surprising to where it can take you. Wonderful to read your words, Karen, thank you very much. Wish you a wonderful holiday season and take care.

      • Happy holidays Randall! 🎄✨🎄✨🌲 and May 2021 be filled with abundance for you.

  14. It is lovely to see you again on here, Randy. Always love a post from you. As usual, poetically written, articulate musings and wonderful photography with that wonderful work you do with your art. What stood out to me in these photos are the life in them: wild animals look alert and on the ready and simply being themselves out there in the wild. I think that is what you are trying to convey through your words, that we shouldn’t be afraid to be ourselves and take on new forms of productivity in these new normal times.

    You seamlessly weaved your anecdotes of past and present together along with words from Friedrich Nietzsche and Dr Seuss, and they are a stark contrast to each other. As Tina said, you are a master storyteller with your words and images. I was quite jealous when you mentioned you had day-old pizza lying around…I would have put any leftovers straightaway into the fridge and the next day heat them up on a pan to enjoy for breakfast or lunch 🙂 Just as we desire a night out, we also desire waking up feeling refreshed the next day.

    It really is funny how we desire both order/structure and chaos/creativity. Many of us want to be stable but at the same time we might also want to explore paths we’ve never been before. Agreed the soul is thrown into turmoil where there is an imbalance of one – both are needed to see different perspectives. I guess this year for many of us, one or the other is missing. Personally this year wasn’t too bad for me. There was much change over here but it was a year of learning and growth, and to be honest I don’t think I’d want to go back to the way the world was before this.

    Hopefully you are doing well over there with many nice cups of coffee at home. It is the festive season once again…a season that some of us love but also one that some of us genuinely don’t like. Hope it is a good end of the year for you and wishing you well for next year, Randy 🙂

    • It is always great to be writing again (or doing a bit of photography), and now back at home for the holidays it is great to enjoy a cup of coffee and be with family for the start of the new year. A special time, but this year even more so because it will be a quiet time. I think what you say is very true, this year has been difficult because we had to find ways to be productive and it is always a challenge to create positive change. The one thing both Nietzsche and Dr. Seuss teaches us is “the movement you need is on your shoulder” (I stole that line from The Beatles 🙂 ) ~ they push us to understand that we need to pursue life at times.

      It is interesting to hear you say how this year wasn’t too bad for you ~ and then you point to the year of learning and growth, and that is awesome. This is the very thing that is important when a crisis occurs, to understand where the danger lies and then to find and take the opportunities it provides. It makes me happy to hear you write this, and I agree I think this year could be a paradigm shift in the way we live and work with nature. It would be great to read more about your ideas on this (hint, hint, a new post about this perhaps?). Wishing you a great holiday season for you as well, and thank you again, Mabel, for the wonderful comment and taking the time to read me ~ cheers to a great year ahead 🙂

      • It is lovely indeed to see you back writing. Hopefully you get some time for photography back home now…as much as you can safely go out. Enjoy all that time at home with your family and have a lot of fun. This year has impacted so many of us in such drastic ways, and many of us are still coming to terms with that. A positive attitude goes a long way.

        I think we all have to be prepared for a crisis – and when a crisis actually comes we are prepared to adapt. In many ways I wasn’t prepared for this year but I will say I am luckier than others…and I am thankful for that and adapated as this year went on. Agreed this year is a paradigm shift on the way we both work and live…I honestly think you could write on this topic better than me. After all, I am inspired by your writing and hope to write like you one day 😜

        Wishing you well for the year ahead, Randy. Take care and save travels 🙂

      • Yes, I think your ‘luckiness’ is part due to a flexible mind and a touch of optimism 🙂 And very much look forward to seeing more of your writing in ’21 and the inspiration you provide 🙂 Take care, Mabel ~

  15. Absolutely spectacular. I feel like you’ve struck a deep seated chord in my soul. For I feel exactly the same. I have lost all creativity and desire to write. I have felt like I have nothing to say. What a weird time in our lives. This virus and the destruction that accompanies it. It has certainly been quite an awful, heart wrenching year on so many levels. I feel the virus, the riots and the increase in every day violence, and overall hate has really really brought me to a point of numbness. Thanks for this inspiring, achingly beautiful piece. Perhaps it is time for me to read a new book! 🙂

    • Wonderful comment, Nicole, and I agree this year was such a difficult one to find any inspiration because we spent all our time just trying to stay afloat with the waves and waves of negativity 2020 brought into our life. And it was every single day… never-ending and it became mind numbing which makes picking up a pen & paper to write almost impossible. There seems to be some hope returning during the last quarter of the year, and while I do not think ’21 will be all roses, I do think many of us will be stretching our legs (physically and philosophically) which should make it a year to remember. 🙂 The optimist in me has returned. Wishing you well, and enjoy the holiday season.

      • oh beautiful comment. I am so glad the optimist has returned. I am feeling the heaviness of it all but am sure once the vaccines start truly rolling out and we finally get a new administration that things will start perking up. I always love your incredible words. Thank you

  16. Your ending with Dr. Seuss pulls the worlds of Apollo and Dionysius together. I spent two weeks in Kenya in the major game parks in 1994. I recognized the trees silhouetted against the dawning sky immediately. Thanks.

    • I thought the same 🙂 This specific quote of Dr. Seuss fit so perfectly as it matches the theme of Nietzsche so well. It is great you mention the silhouetted trees against the sky, as it is a sight I too can recognized quickly when I see similar photos elsewhere, Kenya is such an amazing place. Wishing you and your family a great Christmas ~

    • Thank you very much for reading and the kind comment, Georgia. Kenya is the cradle of nature and humankind, and I think this is why we are all drawn to its beauty. Cheers to a great and safe holiday season.

  17. I spent a year contemplating the balance of order and chaos, that rich combination that makes life sustainable while inducing creativity, spontaneity, and explosive joy. This year has even been hard on old recluses like myself. At the same time, it’s awakened a longing for adventure and a commitment to follow a few rainbows, climb a few mountains, explore new sights, smells, and tastes. I love your photos and reflective words, Dalo, and how deeply they resonate. Must find my Nietzsche and tuck it in my backpack. Wishing you a year filled with the imagination and wildness of children. ❤

    • This has been a perfect year in the sense of being able to take the time and contemplate both the world and ourselves. There has been times this year where I have enjoyed being isolated and confined, but like you say when taken to the extremes this year have brought to us – we want to get out and just explode and explore everything around us 🙂 I think all these emotions sets up ’21 to be a very special year ~ and I love your idea of packing up Nietzsche in your backpack and heading out somewhere, destination unknown! Wishing you the same, I love it ~ to a new year with the imagination and wildness of children 🙂

  18. Wonderful post! Your fantastic photos interwoven with the thinking of Nietzsche works beautifully.
    Your hut compared with the wild is equally such strong opposites.
    May we never loose the child within.


    • This year with all the restrictions and isolation, it seemed a perfect time to reflect on the freedoms and wilderness of nature we take for granted at times. Thank you very much for the nice words, Miriam. And I am with you, let’s never lose the child within. Take care this holiday season.

  19. Dalo, how true this is that you just pointed out those two conflicting desires. We need them to keep moving forward. Lacking them as some of us who are staying home during the pandemic have the same feeling as yours. Your mind seems to shrink even with virtual connection with others who work with you just holding the effect on for a little..

    I like that you choose mostly wild animals in this post. They symbolize free spirit. We need mental break during this time to feel less confined at least mentally.

    Please stay safe.

    • Very much agree with you, YC, keeping a good balance of these two desires is always important and the increase in isolation make it harder to stretch the mind and body. This could have been the most limiting part of the lockdowns for me, because if I stop moving physically then my mind will follow (and vice-versa). Balance is the key in everything. The one thing nature offers us, is when we decide to go out and wander in nature, both needs are fulfilled 🙂 We need to free the spirit and mind regularly, or we will become less flexible and less optimistic. Stay safe, YC, and thank you again for reading and your great comment. Take care ~

  20. Your writing is exquisite and your photographs are divine. Or maybe it’s the other way around. Either way, the photographs were a delight for the senses, and the writing was thought-provoking. I find chaos inhibits my creativity. I need external order for the internal freedom and wildness to break through.

    • Hi Liz, and I am very much intrigued by your comment “I need external order for the internal freedom and wildness to break through.” In a sense, I work the same way ~ I cannot sit down at a desk and be creative (writing, photography, or the work I do), I must be moving and in the flow of doing something to ‘free my mind’ so to speak… and then once I have the creativity, I can sit down and put it in order 🙂 Wonderful comment, it has me thinking and also appreciating another side to creativity. Wonderful, and also thank you very much for your compliment. Wishing you a great year ahead, and enjoy the final week of this unique year.

      • Thank you for your thoughtful response to my comment. When there is chaos around me, my mind shuts down, and I can’t think. I find that the best activity for freeing the good stuff from my subconscious is taking a shower. I will have no trouble enjoying the final week of this unique year. I’m off work and the president of the college has ordered a moratorium on work-related email. I’ll have no trouble obeying that particular order! I look forward to reading more of your posts in the new year.

    • Thank you, Edwin, and I think if there was a place to enjoy and to roam around during this time, Singapore would be high on my list. Wish you well!

  21. Dear Dalo, thanks so much for this fabulous Christmas-surprise! You always deliver such thought-provoking posts and superb photography, it´s just mesmerizing, my friend. I always feel that it´s truly time well spent whenever I read your posts. I loved the kinda juxtaposition between the 2020-vibes and feelings, and the hopeful sentiments that past memories of wildly alive wilderness and exploration can bring. Love all the photos, too, I mean: Hello Kenia, here I come! (Hopefully in the future, lol). I could not agree more with Nietzsche and his notion of “Become who you are”, as well as his focus on resuscitating the child within. The best way to more zest for life, I find! And a perfect ending to your post with Dr. Seuss´s upbeat lines…” and YOU are the one to decide where to go.” Love this!!! Thanks for sharing your genius with us! Much love, big hugs, and a very merry Christmas, amigo

    • Hola amiga, very happy this post struck a chord with you Maria Elena, and thank you for the very nice words. This has been a very strange year, and I think for travelers like yourself the isolation of staying in one place is not an easy one, it makes it tough to explore life. Hopefully you are enjoying the last week of the year, I would think your location in Spain is perfect place to be ~ and I wish you a very Merry Christmas and the best wishes for an amazing New Year ahead. Take care and be safe ~

      • Hola amigo, it´s my absolute pleasure to celebrate your work! It needs to be celebrated as it truly is thought-provoking. I have actually felt quite ok with not moving too much in 2020 as I was so lucky to really travel and move like crazy in the decade, or really almost 15 years, before. So, it felt good to enjoy the pleasures of a more settled life for once:) Yes, it´s quite a lovely place here, thanks for your well wishes, my friend. Hope you had a beautiful Christmas-time, and wish you a Happy, Healthy, and Magical New Year 2021 already! Big hugs and be well

  22. Well, well, well. He’s back again with another treat for the eyes and soul. 🙂 I could feel the sense of being a wild animal in a cage, pacing back and forth while images of Kenya flash outside the window and the words of Nietszche echo through your mind. Surreal, maddening, transcendant. “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” Uh huh. 🙂

    “Become who you are…” Even in the midst of indifference and listlessness, especially in the midst of it, you are becoming who you are. When everything is stripped away, we have no choice but to turn within. We can’t drown anything out anymore. I believe that one day some of us will look back on this time with gratitude. This has been one of the most painful years of my life, but as it draws to a close, I feel purified. When the dust settles, each of us may continue the journey in ways that we never could have imagined. (Maybe the days of hangovers are over for you?! Haha.)

    I wish you a holiday filled with love and serenity, dear one. And may your 2021 bring magic and miracles into your life. Thank you for shining your light, always.

    • Isn’t it something how this year made it feel as if we were just pacing in our cages… just wondering if we’d ever be freed again. Fortunately, the last couple month has given some optimism, and I’m a bit anxious to get back in the saddle and moving again 🙂 I too have gotten this feeling that for as difficult this year was, it made us look deeper into ourselves, nature, and those around us and learn things we otherwise would miss. As Socrates once said, “true wisdom comes to each of us when we realize how little we understand about life, ourselves, and the world around us.” And this year was one I think hit everyone with a surprise or two.

      This is a wonderful and insightful comment, Julie, and for you specifically I think a year that will be so cleansing as well. As you wrote above, what lies ahead for everyone is something new and something we could not have imagined just one year ago. This too is a feeling of adventure ~ a little bit of fear in the wonder is part of the excitement. I think my days of hangovers may be limited a bit more, but far from over 🙂 Wishing you a great holiday too with your family, and cheers to the wonder and excitement ’21 brings. Take care ~

  23. Stunning photos, as always. That’s why I hope one day you will go to Afghanistan and I can drool over the photos you’ll take that I could never capture 🙂 It’s a wonderful post – teaming Nietzsche with Dr Seuss works so well. If chaos is where creativity resides, then I’m ready to welcome some chaos in my so structured, ordered, confined life.

    • Thank you very much, Mary. From all your great stories and photos of Afghanistan, there is no doubt I will visit ~ a mysterious part of the world, and your experiences show it is a place where chaos is a part of life 🙂 While you deserve a more ordered life after all the chaos, I hope 2021 gives you new strength and optimism to bring in a bit of chaos every day 🙂 Wishing you a wonderful holiday season, and time to reflect on all you’ve been through with those you love. Take care ~

  24. “In every real man a child is hidden that wants to play…”
    Ooooh, I like that one. It’s full of wonder when that spirit is let loose.
    I seem to have fallen into a dreamlike state. Only to wake up to the fact that it’s Xmas eve, the day my mom was born, the very same day she died… she was 96. This anniversary date now has become bitter sweet.
    I do love your images and the words that go with them! Thank you for them. ☯️ We will come out the other side! 🙃

    • I think next year will be full wonder for most, because in ’21 when we are able to let the child out and enjoy everyone again our spirits will fly. Very much looking forward to how next year will play out. This year, overall, has the feeling like it didn’t really happen, so it does feel like Christmas just happened a little while ago… I hope you are doing well, and have many memories of the past to think about 🙂 Wishing you a great holiday and yes, see you on the other side 🙂

  25. The breathless beauty of Kenya was more than enough to stir the mind and heart.
    Plus the absolute stirring of thought form a great thinker (besides yourself).
    Raising us up higher and higher finishing us off with words from Dr. Seuss.
    Oh did I mention your photography? WOW! memorable! Wish I was there!
    In all, this is great work my dear friend.
    Celebrate life every day, love, Eddie

    • Coming back to these photos I had shot years before was very relaxing and uplifting, as you say they stir the mind and heart. Thank you very much, Eddie, for both your great words over this past year and also your friendship. So much to see and experience in life, and it all lies outside the doorstep ~ celebrating life every day. Take care ~ and wish you health and happiness in the new year ahead.

  26. I hadn’t really thought about it, but yes, I suspect many of us are feeling that dichotomy at the moment. You’ve expressed it beautifully. I admit I fall into the homebody routine very easily, thanks in part to having a soul mate to live with – but my camera keeps giving me that abandoned look. Oh well, guess I need to read some Nietzsche. Or maybe just some Dr. Seuss…

    PS: awesome pics, as usual. I didn’t know you’ve been to Kenya too.

    • Thank you, Dave, and I agree the homebody routine is actually very relaxing and comfortable ~ and I think it was a great time for all of us to review the reasons we had to do it and think about what we miss in the outside, and also what we love about this life. As you describe, having your soul mate by your side during this would make this year very, very, special. Wish you a wonderful Christmas season and take care!

  27. I’ve not read Nietzsche but I think I’d enjoy him. I love the chaos of travel, of Africa, of change. I think change is my middle name, or perhaps it’s curiosity, but it was only later in life that I gained some stability and I’m deeply grateful for it.
    This is a wonderful piece Randall, and your photos are magnificent. Now I wonder where did you go and what did you do once you got outside?
    Merry everything

    • The chaos of travel, this is a very good way to put it. And I think travelers appreciate the challenge of the chaos for the payoff at the end, and their curiosity keeps pushing them forward. Interesting to think about both “change” and “curiosity” and I think the latter does push us through life and its changes. If we allow our curious mind to run free, we can find that change comes much easier. Wishing you a Merry Everything as well, there should be many opportunities arriving in the new year. Take care ~

  28. The inner child of my heart wants to forget much of what 2020 brought, however, without it I wouldn’t be the one I am now. Charging forward with hopes of what may be. Merry Christmas, Mr. Collis. Thank you for, once again, taking me with you.

    • Wonderful to hear from you this Christmas morning, Aud, and thank you for your words and always happy to have you along. May your Christmas be beautiful and the New Year holding the happiness of your dreams 🙂. It is a bit exciting to wonder just what 2021 has in store for us up ahead. Take care and be safe ~

  29. Very nicely written, unsure what a coincidence this is, but I actually had a dream in regards to being in Kenya. This definitely was worth the read.

    • Thank you very much, and I expect your dream was something special ~ there is nothing quite like the feeling of freedom Kenya and Maasai Mara can bring. Wishing you a great start to 2021.

  30. 2020 was so unexpected. Its dangers, its losses, all the instability strengthen us for future challenges. We are better prepared for the tomorrows ahead.

    Terrific photos Dalo!

    • Agree, and while 2021 will have its difficulties as well ~ there is a sense of optimism that is born from the strength we gathered this past year. Wish you a great start to this year, John, and thank you for the great comment. Take care ~

  31. Hello Randall,
    Hubby and I hope you had a safe and Merry Christmas. What a year it has been…
    May you and all your dear ones have a safe, healthy and happy new year, and may there be more opportunities for good (safe!) photography 🙂

    • Hello Takami, thank you very much for your wishes and I too have optimism for this year ahead. Wishing you and your family a year of great celebration, health, and happiness. Take care.

      • Thank you for your reply, my friend. The year has been off to a rough start all over, especially your country 😦 Keeping you in our thoughts. Please do continue to stay safe and take care.

  32. Spectacular images Randall. I can feel your frustration through your words, but also that sense of surrender to the inevitable. I found myself wondering what this year has been like for those with the Maasai Mara on their doorstep – did they feel just as caged as many of us have felt or does the environment make a difference…hoping that the coming year is a better one and sending you warm wishes.

    • Thank you very much, Andrea. The feeling of a new year, even though in reality it seems it should not, allows for the mind to begin fresh and once again all the hope of what ‘can be’ has me feeling that this year will be a special one. A breath of fresh air so to speak 🙂 Wishing you well ~

  33. Mzuri sana Mzee Dalo. I lived a good part of my teens in Kenya. my African childhood part 2. Beauty indeed. I don’t think there are man other places so beautiful as africa is, or was. Mara in particular. Your shots of the migration are fantastic. I had never seen a zebra chase a gnu.
    So yes we are a tad caged in. So? The entire universe is inside your head. Merry Christmas and a happy New year. Kwaheri sassa. (Goodbye soon) 🙏🏻

    • Wow, you have traveled and lived around the globe ~ at some point it would be great to sit down with a bottle or two and talk about all that you’ve seen. And yes, Kenya is something special. It goes beyond the beauty of nature and the animals, and I hope to be able to return again and take it all in. This year, it will feel great to break free from our cages and roam around once more. Take care and Kwaheri sassa 🙂

      • Man, I’m the ultimate expat brat. I was born in India, raised in Asia and Africa, west and east. Went to college in France, grad school in the US…
        Yes, Kenya is shere beauty. Kwaheri sassa Mzee mkubwa.

  34. Loving your thoughts woven among the images, like dreams of another world. Such a surreal time. Your thoughts of dull comfort and chaos both struck a chord with me. Chaos has such appeal! To be out in the world again someday will be exhilarating. Cheers to a better 2021!

    • There were more than a few times this year when looking through photos my mind went off far away into another world 🙂 It was strange how the quarantine didn’t bother me too much at the beginning, but then when we could not do the very simple things like going out to get a coffee or beer and getting comfortable with not doing it was strange… a little chaos can be good every now and then 🙂 Cheers to a great year for you ~ may it be healthy and happy.

  35. Dear Randall, gorgeous photos and thank you for the inspiration to move forward. Most needed and graciously accepted! Wishing you well as the new year approaches, may 2021 be a wonderful year for all! ~ Mia

    • Thank you very much, Mia, and I hope that the beginning of this year has started out well for you ~ although it does seem like ’21 will not be any cake walk either. Still, I think we’ve been strengthened over this past year and are awaiting for something to sweep us all into a wave of chaos and optimism 🙂 Wishing you a healthy and happy start, take care ~

  36. Great post that most of us can relate to this year. I had a similar struggle during lockdown but solved it (for the most part) by pushing forward with my writing challenges. Growing up in an environment where I felt trapped is much of what made me develop art and writing skills in the first place. The projects and goals of completion created that friction and led to the wild child enjoyment of creation – even within tight confines. Covid or other obstacles can confine us physically, but there’s very little that can actually confine our spirits and minds…other than fear and other internal constructs we allow to sneak in and rob us of our joy. That said, the inertia of depression is a very real thing. I’m glad you made it out and hope you can remain free! I’ll continue the ever-present struggle…and shout with vigor every time I win. Happy New Year!

    • Thank you, and yes I fully agree that while quarantines and restrictions can limit us physically and creating discomfort, our spirit and mind will always be able to find a way to escape ~ and it is wonderful to hear you are able to do so with your writing 🙂 Wishing you a great start to ’21, and hope it is a year of creation for you.

  37. ” Become who you are”
    I like the Author Nietzsche’s words already. 🙂
    The best of us this year have been challenged as we have paced to and fro within our little boxes.

    But as your words testify, we have been challenged to explore our inner world within that box..
    We can either remain in black or white.. ( as your beautiful photos show us ) or we can explore in full colour the depth Nature has to offer and teach us.

    The world of nature is often chaotic and challenging, raw and intimidating. Nature thrives on a knife edge. But she is always present within the moment… For as those animals know on the Maasai Mara plains… They live via their instincts..

    Something we humans have forgotten to do along the way as we have forsaken our inner instincts to rely upon others to tell us what to do, when to do it, and we expect everything at the push of a button.

    We are seeing how we Humans have lost our balance within Nature.. We have thought ourselves capable of thriving without her, and yet we are an integral part of her.. And nature is upgrading us to remembering.
    Just as we have thousands of virus’s, living organisms within our bodies… We are being reminded we cannot survive as separate beings, even though there are those technologically minded beings who want us to become separated, who are wanting to squash the natural rhythms of our ancient ancestors from our veins, as they think to eliminate compassion and Empathy as they seek to divide and conquer..

    But the animal kingdom wake up with no expectations.. They know not how their day is going to unfold… Whether they will eat well, or starve another day until the hunt is successful.
    But they survive…
    Because they Trust in the Now.. They live in the now.. Knowing all is provided..

    We are now seeing those who trust! In the power of themselves.. And those who are living in fear… The chaos of their own uncertainty as they battle within their own BE-ing

    And until those who are confused stand within their own BE-ingness, their own power of certainty, their own Sovereignty…
    Then Chaos will continue to surround them, for they will always be the hunted, the victim…

    But when one is prepared to Roar! Like the Lion… And allow their voice to shout out to the rest of the world… They become King of the Jungle…

    And when they know their power from within… Balance is restored… for there is no greater species than the Homo Sapiens … When we unite in harmonious union with each other..

    Many thanks dear Randall, I so enjoyed reading your thoughts…. And each picture told its own story merging perfectly with your narrative..

    Have a wonderful New Earth Year…. You are already living within it…

    Blessings your way..
    Sue 💚🙏

    • Thank you very much, Sue, for your insightful and thoughtful reply ~ the last year was truly one that tested us in many ways. The quietness in the way the year engulfed us all fooled us a bit, the comforts of our modern life did make the short term social restrictions bearable at the beginning but as it kept (and keeps) stretching out, it does upset our balance and we need a little chaos and adventure to escape. A challenging year, most definitely, and I believe better days are ahead. The small space we’ve been pacing around will open up again, and once again we can fully participate in this brave new world. Wishing you a great start to ’21, and hope it is a year of health and happiness for you and your family. Take care ~

      • Thank you Randall, I know better days are ahead.. Though the start of the year until perhaps May time may still be a bumpy ride.. 😀 But I have faith all is well in my world.. I hope all will be well in yours also my friend..
        Have a great NEW YEAR… 🙂

  38. Isolation, because the pandemic it’s turning philosophers, to many of us now day. As living beings, we are social beings, by nature, and we all cling to life, until life becomes unbearable, unless by chance, like death by accident, thank you for sharing your reflections, I enjoyed them, along with your pictures. 🙂

  39. Randall, I needed to savor this post several times before responding. Your images and prose are so arresting that I couldn’t absorb it all in one fell swoop. Congratulations on another brilliant post.

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