Interview with Dana about her book "Domestic Departures"
(Interviewer) What was the tipping point that put you in the mind frame of quitting your seventeen year career and taking off to Africa?
(Dana) There was not one conscious moment that did it; several things happened. The first was a very bold and direct person who told me how I was living my life was not what he called living at all because I was literally working my life away. His comment reverberated in my workaholic head and ultimately gave me permission to walk out of my career. I quit two weeks before my 40th birthday.
(Interviewer) How did you get from quitting your job to being on a plane to Africa?
(Dana) I have always been a very responsible person so after only a few weeks I began to look for a job. As I was updating my professional resume I came to wonder what my personal resume would look like should I write one. I never made it past a blank page. That was when I knew something had to change.
(Interviewer) So you packed up and moved to Africa?
(Dana) No. I booked a three week safari to live a dream of seeing elephants in the wild. However, after only a few days in Africa I knew three weeks was not going to be enough. Twenty-four hours after returning I began the process of selling my house, car and most of my belongings to prepare to move to Africa. I left eight weeks later on October 30, 2001.
(Interviewer) You left right after the terrorist attacks of September 11th?
(Dana) Yes. My friends and family thought I had lost my mind. But I could not come up with any good reason to cancel my plans.
(Interviewer) If you don't mind me saying, you don't appear to be the roughing it type. Were you ever scared?
(Dana) I was not the type which was exactly the point. I needed a drastic change. And if I can do something as drastic to change my life then I am a shining example that anyone can do anything they set their mind to. And yes; I was scared over and over again. It's that emotion that made me feel most alive.
(Interviewer) What was the biggest lesson Africa taught you?
(Dana) There are so many things Africa has taught me and continues to teach me. My biggest gain so far was being able to strip myself of everything; phone, email, Ipad, house, car, the nice income, fancy clothes and absolutely everything materialistic then truly see who I was and what I brought to the table of life. I was afforded the luxury of having nothing except what was on my back; to become the simplist version of me. That absence of all outside influences allowed me to explore myself and grow exponnentially during my days in Africa.
"After spending hundreds of nights on the African continent I have been charged by lion and elephant, almost killed by hippo twice, been spit on by a Mozambique spitting cobra, had my food raided a number of times by thieving monkeys, attached by a vervet monkey and so much more.... You can read all of my stories on my blog by clicking the rhino image.