“The literary equivalent of a summer night, a good friend and a gin-and-tonic: Shannon is a deft writer; a natural storyteller with a wicked turn of phrase and frighteningly specific memory...”

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I’m Dreaming of Africa: My Personal Photos

My family and I are going to Africa in February, which I won’t believe until I land.

In August of 2000 I had the incredible good fortune to work on a D movie (sorry Alyssa Milano – you were great, but Sean Patrick Flannery was a bit wooden, don’t you think? Then there was the French cinematographer who kept telling me, “Your mouthe may be saying nah, but your body sez yais.”) in Cape Town, South Africa.

I was the fifth on-set writer to attempt scribing the straight-to-video film Diamond Hunters adapted from that literary classic no one’s ever heard of called … Diamond Hunters!  

My job included various location shoots and adventures. The following photos just have me in them because my driver and I were both single females taking photos of each other. I know. It’s a little sad:


Picture 2 of 15

The fabulous Roy Scheider who has since passed. We were in SA in June, their winter season, it rained a lot, but Roy never failed to show up in his swimming trunks to sun himself. He once told me, "I'll catch the sun through the rain drops." Lovely man.

I can’t believe it’s been twelve years since I’ve been to Africa. I often have vivid dreams of being there and hate waking up. So I was a little startled when my dear friend Jamie of I’m Not The Babysitter asked if I’d be interested in joining her significantly comped MORE HOTELS South Africa family trip.

Family trip. Which means … bringing my kids … and their needs … for a long plane ride -vs- Unforgettable Vacation that will insure they won’t blame us for anything once they inevitably go to therapy.

I weighed all options in both hands then talked to Destinations South Africa President Terry von Guilleaume who has planned our itinerary and is bringing his wife and three kids to travel with our group and I thought, Don’t be such a pussy!  Meaning a big cat.  They’re notorious cowards.

So we’re going for it. We’re staying HERE and HERE and HERE.  DSA recently sponsored PBS Travel 4 Kids on a 7-week tour of South Africa, Zambia, Botswana and Mauritius; which will air next year in June.

So I’ll keep you all posted about what we’re doing to prepare for our trip and will keep a travelogue throughout our journey so you can decide whether it’s something for you. Full disclosure: our trip will be discounted by DSA, but all opinions are my own. And I have a lot of them. You may have noticed.

Are you dreaming of Africa?


Write a comment
  1. Anne (@notasupermom)
    Anne (@notasupermom) 9 November, 2012, 07:42

    Great pictures. I love Roy Scheider. I just watched him in Marathon Man. I never thought of him as sexy before, but for the first time, we are about the same age

    Enjoy Africa! If you want someone to carry your bags and fetch penguins for you, I’m free.

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 9 November, 2012, 10:13

      Those little guys are mean when they’re hatching. If I see one I plan to run.

      Reply this comment
  2. Nicole
    Nicole 9 November, 2012, 07:43

    What an amazing adventure this is going to be! Godspeed.

    Reply this comment
  3. Jennifer
    Jennifer 9 November, 2012, 08:25

    When I was in high school, our most famous alumnus was Roy Scheider. I rode that wave for YEARS. Then Elizabeth Shue got famous too but whatever, more to the point is that I love this post. I’m so happy that you’re getting to travel and see the world, it’s life’s greatest gift. One of them. Okay, it’s a gift. Just like having had Roy Scheider go to the same high schol as you.

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 9 November, 2012, 10:12

      I can’t tell you what a lovely guy Roy was. A true professional, but also just sweet.

      Reply this comment
  4. Sharon Greenthal
    Sharon Greenthal 9 November, 2012, 08:52

    So exciting. Your kids will never forget this! Can’t wait to hear all about it. When do you go?

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 9 November, 2012, 10:12

      We’re leaving mid-February which means my children will also miss two weeks of school. I think they’re happier about this than Africa.

      Reply this comment
  5. McKenna Ryan
    McKenna Ryan 9 November, 2012, 09:55

    What a wonderful opportunity to go back to Africa with your family!! I have always wanted to go and I cant wait to see pictures of the trip. The ones you have here are all so wonderful.

    Reply this comment
  6. Desiree Eaglin
    Desiree Eaglin 9 November, 2012, 12:53

    I am so envious. You’re going to have a fabulous time!

    Reply this comment
  7. Anne Louise Bannon
    Anne Louise Bannon 9 November, 2012, 12:57

    Okay. Do I get to be insanely jealous? Because I am. Sigh.

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 9 November, 2012, 13:24

      You are very kind to be insanely jealous. I can be a bit of smug little thing. xo

      Reply this comment
  8. Yvonne Condes
    Yvonne Condes 9 November, 2012, 13:17

    Amazing!! You are going to have an unforgettable time!! Wish we could go with you!

    Reply this comment
  9. Tania luviano
    Tania luviano 9 November, 2012, 13:43

    What an amazing experience for the whole family!!

    Reply this comment
  10. Elise
    Elise 9 November, 2012, 15:26

    I’m so excited about taking this trip with all these cool families! I hadn’t even thought about the fact that I can use it everytime the kid throws up what a crappy mother I am for the rest of her life… “so I wore pajamas to drop you off at school, but what about the time I took you to Africa” Drop mic.

    Reply this comment
  11. Trina
    Trina 9 November, 2012, 16:07

    I cannot wait to read about you and your family taking this trip. It sounds like it’s going to be an amazing journey, but I know I would be scared or at least hesitant to do it. Following your experience will help me understand what it’s like to travel with a family.

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 10 November, 2012, 22:58

      I’m a moderately scared shitless. I do have to get anti-malarial meds. And of course we are going into the unknown. But I’ve been before (not on safari however) and know that the people there are like they are everywhere, which is mostly good!

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