I’ve started to watch “Wild at Heart” on Roku with my husband, and now my lifelong battle with Africa Fever is escalating with every episode! Someday, I’m going to run away to Africa with my husband and stay in a British colonial house in the wilderness.
If watching that show wasn’t enough, I’m also reading the book Unsuitable for Ladies, which is a collection of diary entries from women travelers throughout the ages. Buy a copy here.
One entry from Evelyn Cheesman (the remarkable etymologist and explorer pictured above) really struck me. She wrote the following:
“It used to be bewildering to be told when I came back, ‘How I envy you! You are very lucky! I have always longed to do what you have done’… What exactly were they waiting for? What did they lack- the Urge? Long ago I decided that such people possessed only an embryonic Urge which didn’t carry them far enough. They didn’t spell Urge reverently with a capital letter as some of us do. I repeat. There is nothing that I have done which could not have been done by others. What were they waiting for? Experience? I bought it. Health? I risked it. Adequate financial aid? I grabbed what I could and went without the remainder. But the wise and the cautious who have to make certain of all of these things before they can start will never get there.
You read a quote like that and suddenly, you are ready to pack your bags and go on an adventure- even a little one.
I know the majority of my posts seem to revolve around traveling and adventure, so I apologize if this blog seems like a one trick pony. Stick with my eccentric little blog. Today, I have Africa on the mind…
A copy of Out of Africa is essential for any lover of Africa. Karen Blixen’s house is now a museum, where all her beloved treasures remain to be admired by other fanciers of British Colonial style.
Who wouldn’t enjoy a leisurely afternoon on the veranda sitting in a cane-backed plantation chair? This variety is Ralph Lauren and the price makes me cry, but I keep telling myself that someday I’ll stumble across a pair of vintage chairs.. and have a veranda to put them on!
Cane and Rattan became the go-to materials while living in India and Africa. Upholstery rotted and was eaten by bugs; cane was durable, lightweight, and remarkably comfortable. Wicker and baskets also became staples. Bottles were covered in wicker to keep drinks cool and wicker baskets were used to store nearly everything.
Now this piece really is remarkable. I have a small night stand that is similar in design, made from bamboo that dates to the 1800s. Furniture like this was sturdy and lightweight, perfect for taking on safari or for women heading to India with their military husbands in the 19th century. Far more common to find these pieces in England than in the USA, sadly.
A pith hat, or Sola Topee, is classic and essential for life under the hot African sun. I found a vintage one at my favorite antique store and I’ve worn it up to the zoo where I volunteer. I plan to wear it far more often this summer- let them stare! We all know they’re just jealous because everyone wishes they had a pith hat, a monocle, and one of those mumbley sort of British accents…
I’d say yes more often to camping trips if they meant this sort of camping! While wool rugs were popular, they often fell prey to insect life in the jungle climates, so durable Jute and Sisal rugs became standard in many colonial homes. A mix of Persian and Sisal rugs in any home can give it a touch of colonial flair.
I really love the lead glass doors in “Wild at Heart.” Danny and the cheetah are nice too 😉