As I type this article, I’m three days into my second Kimberley trip. For some unknown reason, or for no reason at all, my parents named me Kimberly when I was born. I never thought much about it except when I got in school, I realized I didn’t like it very much. It sounded snooty to me and I was anything but snooty, so I rejected Kimberly in favor of Kim. Another reason for this choice was my mother’s insistence on calling me Kimberly whenever she was angry with me.
When I was in third and fourth grade, I had a pen pal from Africa. He told me about a place in South Africa named Kimberly. I was intrigued and wondered if I’d ever get to go there one day.
One day after realizing I was going to accomplish my goal of getting to all seven continents, minus Antarctica, as well as having been to all 50 states, I decided to set a new travel goal. What to do? I googled the phase “how many places in the world are named Kimberly?” I was surprised to discover there are fourteen. I now have my new travel goal to visit all 14. I began in February with a trip to Kimberley, South Africa. That trip was amazing! My mother and sister-in-law accompanied me there. It was very special.
Today, I’m on a boat in Kimberley, Australia. It’s a little known, seldom visited, uninhabited area in northwest Australia. This nine-day expedition is just in its third day and I can only describe it as magical and that doesn’t begin to cut it.
Let me describe some of the highlights to you… first of all, there have been no people anywhere except the other fifteen people who are cruising and the six-person crew. Can you imagine traveling, debarking every day and never encountering another human? It’s just incredible in this world of 7.5 billion people, no one, literally no one, is in this amazing part of the world. I was told that almost no one other than Australians come here. The ship’s captain said to me that maybe there have been five Americans on this trip in the past six years and three of them came together.
Getting to this expedition was quite an exercise in bravery. I was collected from my hotel on 19 September, 2019 by a van driver who took me and my travel companion to the airplane, or at least that’s what she thought she was doing. In actuality, she dropped us at the wrong place and an employee had to come find us. He piled us back in a van and took us to a small airstrip with small Cessna planes, a six-seater to be exact. Four of us were crammed into the plane and we were off at about 10,000 kilometers for a two-hour flight with some of the most amazing aerial views. We landed on a tiny airstrip at the top of a mountain, called the Mitchell Plateau. That name was not lost on me as my mother’s family name is Mitchell. From there, we were loaded into a helicopter, my first chopper experience, and flown to a beach where we were met by a schooner to take us to our boat for the cruise/expedition. It felt a bit like Trains, Planes and Automobiles!
Freedom is one of the basic human needs and I happen to need a lot of it. Whenever I describe freedom to others and provide an example, I say one of the times I feel free is when the wind is blowing in my hair. Yesterday on this trip, I got to spend at least two hours on the bow of the ship while we were traveling all alone with the wind blowing through my hair. It felt not only free, but also spiritual. I was having a conversation with God on that deck. I find when I get away from people and the stress of everyday life, I can hear God more clearly than during other times.
Last night was an experience I will not soon forget. Bob, a crew member, did something wonderful for me when he realized I was doing some star gazing. He noticed and turned off all the lights at the front of the boat so I could more clearly see the southern night sky. I say southern because the southern sky looks nothing like the northern sky. There is no big and little dipper, but rather there’s a Southern Cross and the Milky Way. As I stood on the deck, looking at this vast southern sky, I had another God encounter. The view was packed full of beautiful, twinkling stars and felt so massive, while I was just a tiny speck in this landscape. This helped me realize a few things.
I understood that while I am a tiny speck on the globe, I can still have a significant impact. Conversely, there is nothing that’s completely my responsibility and my responsibility alone. I will do my part by providing information that might help a situation but stop feeling that if it is to happen, it’s completely up to me.
With vast beauty everywhere I look, it really feels like I’ve come home. This place is spiritual for me and I’m so happy to be on this adventure.