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Today is January 22, 2019


Planning with anticipation and reality

Planning with anticipation and reality

The author’s custom-built 9.3X62. Photo: Tony Kinton

Summer is generally a time for vacation travel and outdoor activities. While some of these pursuits may occasionally be spontaneous, an even greater portion of them will follow much planning. And wise it is to plan adequately in preparation for those more protracted and significant doings. A flippant approach can lead to complications once the trip gets underway.

An integral ingredient that accompanies planning is anticipation. In fact, daydreaming and researching and making ready for a given adventure are grand parts of that adventure. Envisioning what the surroundings might be like or what side trip might present itself can be rewarding, as can those casual conversations where plans are highlighted and discussed with friends. Indeed, a vacation is more than just going.

That said, it is also prudent to embrace anticipation’s potential nemesis —reality. In no way should this statement be viewed as an attempt to dissuade one from making a given trip, but such matters should be considered as possibilities. Doing so can help any of us better deal with situations that are not a part of the plans.

Take weather for instance. That planned hike in the mountains could be marred by a rainy day of sitting in the camper. Far better it is to think about this beforehand and take along a good book for some relaxed reading, or you could explore during the planning some indoor excursions that rain would not impede. Failure to do so could result in a dour disposition and much complaining—which will solve nothing and only serve to damage an otherwise pleasant experience. A great deal of enjoyment depends upon the mindset of participants.

I am now in the final stages of anticipation for another trip to Africa, likely my last. By the time you read this I should be back home. Planning has been ongoing for a year; things are coming together quite well. And while these next few sentences regarding specifics will mean nothing to many readers, to a rifle crank such as I they are significant.  

Writer friend Bryce Towsley built my rifle for this trip; I was the “here-hold-this” guy on that build. Remington 700 left-hand action, Shaw barrel, Boyd laminated stock, Timney trigger, Talley mounts, Swarovski scope—it turned out a thing of beauty and superb function.

Anticipation has run high for the past three months as I’ve reloaded and burned a couple pounds of H4895 and H4350 behind Barnes bullets for my 9.3X62. Reality was that not everything worked, nor did I expect such.

Then I found some combinations that did. These are clustering in the 1-inch category with monotonous regularity, and I anticipate perfect performance from them. A tiny quirk here. The 9.3X62 is not common. It is an old German round dating back to 1905, and that makes it old by today’s standards. Perhaps that’s why I like it so much, for I, too, am old!  

But what of reality that could temper this anticipation I’ve entertained for a year? Weather will be no issue. June is winter in South Africa, so skies will be vibrantly blue during the day with temperatures in the 60s or low 70s. Nights will be cold but dazzling, with the Milky Way appearing to be at fingertip height and the Southern Cross prompting reflection and reverence. The campfire will play host to jovial conversation among friends, both from the U.S. and the RSA.

Bird call will wake us each day. The hoarse roar of impala, high-pitched scolding of baboon, guttural cough of leopard and nasal snort of wildebeest will punctuate the quiet. These are positive realities that enhance anticipation.

A negative reality, however, is that the trip will be arduous. Twenty hours, give or take a couple, on airplanes. Customs and TSA clearances. A five-hour drive to Sofala from Johannesburg. Crowded airports. Implausible traffic—all on the wrong side of the road! These issues will arise. But they pale when weighed against the anticipation. Still, it is advisable to know they exist.

So, are you planning a trip? If so, good for you. Time moves quickly and opportunities may diminish with that time. There are adventures, great and small, to be enjoyed, many of them terrific teachers. Whether simple family gatherings or visits to exotic environs, teaching can occur and valuable treasures added to living. I have written several times in various columns, magazine articles and books that experiences are the finest form of wealth. In that context, perhaps we should continue to build wealth.

Will reality occasionally infringe upon our anticipation? Yes. Must that reality completely blight that anticipation? Apart from truly tragic occurrences, no. In total, if God blesses us with health and safety during those adventures, we really have no cause for consternation.

Tony Kinton has been an active outdoors writer for 30 years. His newest book is “Rambling Through Pleasant Memories.” Order from or Kinton’s website:

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