I’m going to get this tattooed on my arm someday. The three boxes (Africa, Asia, Antarctica) will be replaced with a symbol from each respective continent. It is a part of my life goal of volunteering on all 7 continents.
The large tree represents the Amazon Rainforest, which I spent a week volunteering in with Alternative Break Corps. The dove above that is the logo for Basida, an oranization in Spain that helps people living with HIV/AIDS. The bird next to that is a Bird of Paradise, the national bird of Papua New Guinea where I helped build a Habitat for Humanity House. Micah 6:8 says, “He has shown you, o man, what is good; and what the Lord requires of you. To act justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your G-d”
Over the past month I’ve gotten the chance to explore some fun areas of Hillsborough County.
I went kayaking down 8.5 miles of the Hillsborough River (East of I75, not near Tampa). We passed many turtles, birds and lots of gators – even tried to race one. The interesting part about this was that of the 4 groups that were at the kayak place, we were the only locals and 2 groups were foreigners. It is sad that most people don’t take advantage of such a great public recreational resource.
A weekend later, Matt, Brian and I went to the fourth annual blueberry festival. I didn’t actually believe that we had a blueberry fest, lead alone one that was four years old. But alas, it was a small but well worth it excursion into Thonotosassa. Apparently blueberries were started as a niche market a while back. The acreage has since tripled since the Florida growing season is longer and starts before the traditional season for blueberries. We tasted 10 fruit wines produced here in Hillsborough; all of which were fantastic. We ate the traditional festival food and even got to pick 2 pounds of blueberries for 6 dollars! They tasted amazing!
Last outdoor adventure was horseback riding in Lithia. This was probably my favorite because I hadn’t been on a horse in some years. For just 30 dollars, we were given an hour-long guided ride at the Red Fox Stables. Our guide, Nicki, was knowledgable and friendly but not the kind of person who forced conversation if you just wanted to be quiet. As I got comfortable riding Rebel (loved that name for a horse), Nicki let me move from a slow walk into a brisk trout. I’m not sure Matt liked this move. I would circle back and get a bit of distance between Nicki, John and Matt. Then with a slight tap of my heals, Rebel trotted up to the front. Since Matt’s horse was alway in the back of the group, he would start trotting alongside Rebel until we reached the guide. When I go back I’ll be trying out the canter and gallop tracks.
Good times had by all.