Hello from Ottawa, Canada. I have been a Safaritalk member for 3 years but wasn't aware of the introduction courtesy. Early days were reading trip reports and feeling - yes - intimidated. So off the forum to plan independent Africa travel; travel; and then have come back to Safaritalk for that Africa 'fix'. I feel less intimidated with 3 trips to Tanzania under my belt, and I enjoy 'off topic' and 'name that bird'....which keeps me on my game, and suggests more entries for my 'bucket list'. Experiencing Africa can be complex and volunteering there gave a perspective not all travelers gain. This creates an involvement of the heart which means a frequent (if not constant) tug of war. But for now my everyday has won the battle and though I visit Africa pages, I have no current plans to return.
Africa is where I first started a casual bird list vowing never to be a 'birder'. Second visit was for volunteering and a short safari - another bird list, but nope, still not a birder. Eventually I lost to the appeal of the showy African birds. Shortly thereafter I made it official. Birding took me back to Tanzania with a self planned bird itinerary with some safari enroute. It extended into Uganda for Gorilla and...yes, birds. Birds in Ecuador (with Galapagos Islands thrown in), Trinidad & Tobago, Florida and upcoming Texas. Being a solo traveler, and due to budget - trips are usually self organized with intermittent local hired bird guides. I prefer to support the local companies who give that extra in country knowledge and local humanity than an expensive (for me) polished international tour. I'll take a private bespoke any day.
I do love my safari and bird photos, but the quality will never compete with what is on here. I will never own a DSLR, so my bridge camera has to suffice. Africa also taught me to put the camera down and experience and 'see' what is happening....the image bank of my memories are often the ones more readily accessed than the photo journals on the shelf. The photo below is February 2015 - the rains had not come to Tanzania, so the dust is everywhere. This is taken end of day while the boys drive the cattle home from western shore of Lake Babati. To me this is 'Tanzania'. There is that adage "you go to Tanzania for the animals, but it is the people that keep you coming back".
India keeps coming to the top of my bucket list to celebrate an upcoming milestone birthday - more birds and culture; less tigers. I only have so many vacation days :-)
I know a number of fellow posters here from years on the Tanzania TripAdvisor forum and there may be more that I haven't identified yet, so rather than miss anyone - just a big 'Jambo' shout out.