In February, my husband and I took the trip of a lifetime.
We traveled to Africa.
Or more accurately, through Africa.
Journeying from Israel, our route took us along the eastern coast of the African continent.
First on our list was Victoria Falls, one of the seven natural wonders of the world, and so, after landing in Johannesburg, we endured the wait for our flight to Zimbabwe.
The aircraft was small, and as the stewardess walked up the narrow aisle, spraying copious amounts of mosquito repellent over her shoulder, we held our breaths and felt the adventure beginning.
Upon our arrival in Zimbabwe, we were unprepared for the sight that met our eyes.
In 2013, a $150 million loan from China transformed this airport—primarily used by the Victoria Falls tourism industry—into a magnificent complex, its size and modern construction belying the few daily flights it services.
The delicately sculpted waterfall gracing the arrivals area hinted at the magnificence waiting for us.
And as we exited the building, the humid heat that assailed us, combined with the sounds of the tribal chant and display by warrior look-alikes, announced quite clearly, A-f-r-i-c-a.
Our tour operator, Nkue, was waiting for us, together with Titch, a student of zoology and native of the area, who was to be our guide during our stay in Zimbabwe. We gratefully accepted the proffered ice-cold water, and after a brief stop to deposit our luggage at our hotel, we continued on to the object of our visit.
Staggering in its sheer beauty, the Falls form a natural border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. At 1708 meters wide and over 100 meters in height, it is considered to be the largest waterfall in the world, and for a few precious hours, it was ours to savor.
Titch advised us to rent ponchos to protect us from the spray, but I soon regretted this move; the coat’s rubbery texture a burden over my arm. In the sweltering humidity, I eagerly awaited the showers we had been warned to expect.
We made our way through the fifteen viewpoints on the ‘Zim’ side, descending the steps at Chain Walk, and looking across the expanse at Devil’s Cataract.
We gasped at the ever-present rainbow and the magnificent views, a photographer’s delight. We were regaled with the history of the area, stories of elephants who ventured too far, falling to their fate, and how one of the upper areas served as the local swimming pool.
We were shown Devil’s Pool, where the foolhardy toy with the waterfall, swimming at its edge, and we were warned away from the slippery stones at Danger Point. By this time, the spray of water had intensified so that, despite donning the ponchos, we were utterly drenched. As we stood at the tip of the falls, with Zambia ahead of us, we gazed into the abyss, unable to tear ourselves away from its dramatic beauty. We now understood the name that the locals prefer to use, Mosi-oa-Tunya—“the smoke that thunders”, and as I listened, I heard the whisper of the falls.
It may be difficult to comprehend, but until explorer David Livingstone came and changed their perception, considering this exquisite landform to be worthy of the gaze of angels, the indigenous population had no idea that the falls were quite unique. It was simply their reality; it was all that they knew.
In a way, we are no different, living according to our perception of reality and the values that we have accumulated over the years. Indeed, research suggests that most of our fundamental beliefs of the world have been formed by the tender age of seven.
Then, these beliefs become so much a part of us that we simply cannot contemplate change, preferring, instead, to stay within the safety—yet confinement—of our comfort zone.
(It can sometimes take the expertise of a professional to help you hear your own thoughts and sort through the chambers of your mind in order to discover which deeply-rooted beliefs are no longer relevant to your vision and goals.)
The first step is to become aware of the beliefs which you hold, as they are largely subconscious, yet they dictate the actions you take, which, in turn, reiterate the beliefs, keeping you in a perpetual loop. Once awareness has been created, it is time to remove the beliefs that are hampering your development, replacing them with new ones where applicable.
If you are struggling to close the gap between who you are currently and who you know you can be, the cause may be those subconscious, deeply-held beliefs which are preventing you from taking the steps necessary for your progress. In this case, it may be time to take action to help you traverse the distance.