Posted December 1, 2021 in Adventure Journals by Jim Markel
Red Oxx Gear owners tend to be fearless adventurers. A trait we admire and live by ourselves. Here, Penelope I. packed her bags during a time of trouble and said to herself "I’ve wanted to do this my whole life. I’m not letting anything stop me". And so with this spirit of indefatigable strength we salute Penelope with the Grand Prize in our Summer Adventure Journal Contest. When she ventures forth again she’ll have at hand – a Red Oxx Big Bull Roll-up, the most versatile, thoughtful, unique, and convenient multi-purpose roll bag ever designed! One to match Penelope’s fearless attitude and verve. We enjoyed her story and all the wonderful pictures of wildlife and landscapes photographed during her travels. Well done, well deserved.
This trip happened in the summer of 2020. That’s right, in the middle of Covid! We decided to travel anyway, with our Red Oxx bags in tow.
After wanting to go to Africa since I was a little girl, I finally got the chance. My hubby and I decided to go on a private safari in Tanzania during August of 2020. It was one of the best decisions we ever made. Not only because we had the most incredible adventure of our lifetime, but also because we were still able to travel during Covid because everything about our journey was private and secluded.
Africa, Here I Come! (NOTE: Hot Pink and Lime Green where Special Edition colors).
If anyone is thinking of doing a trip like this we highly recommend using Africa Dream Safaris. They specialize exclusively in private safaris to Tanzania.
We chose the Hemingway Experience. We stayed in tented camps and lodges instead of hotels. I would go to sleep at night hearing the Wildebeest snorting all around my tent or hearing lions roaring in the not-too-far distance!
So, in preparation for this epic journey, I researched the best duffel to take.
My Bag Criteria:
Well, you can imagine the trouble I had meeting my bag criteria, that is, until I stumbled upon the Red Oxx website. Wow! I hit the jackpot.
Once I saw the Safari-Beanos PR5 duffel bags I was hooked. They were everything I wanted and needed. I ordered two for our Christmas presents – a bright pink* one for me and a lime green* one for my hubby. (* Denotes Special Edition Red Eye Collective colors that were available only for a limited time. ~ Ed.)
There was even a hand-written thank you note included when they arrived. What personalized service!
I couldn’t wait for my Safari trip to begin. I would sing the song "Africa" from Toto over and over again. Sometimes I got a bit silly when changed some of the lyrics to this:
"It’s gonna take a lot to drag me away from you
There’s nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do
I bless my bag from Montana
Red Oxx took some time, to make, this bag just for me (ooh, ooh)"
Well, I guess you had to be there to hear it, but it was really cute!
How did our bags do when flying? Excellent, of course. They look deceptively small, but we were able to fit in everything that we needed for our two week trip thanks in part to the side pockets and deep end pockets. The bags easily made the weight and size limit for the flights, too.
Packing our Safari Tour Truck.
Another enjoyable part in owning these bags was when we collected them from the airport baggage carousel. We watched other travelers as they would pick up a bag, look at the name tag, realize it wasn’t theirs, then put it back down and continue looking for their elusive, indistinguishable bag.
We, however, had none of that. As soon as our unique and colorful Red Oxx bags came out there was absolutely no doubt they were ours. We had many envious looks come our way.
Our bags did great on our road trip in the Serengeti, too. As we went on our long, daily game drives, and drove to various bush camps, our bags would get all dusty and dirty in the back of the land cruiser. But all I needed to do was a quick wipe and they cleaned up great. And not a bit of dust got inside the bags either, thanks to the good workmanship with the zippers and buckles.
One time a big, bull elephant stopped at the rear of our land cruiser and peered in. Since we could tell that the elephant was in musth (urine was dribbling down the back of his legs), our driver/guide was concerned that he might become aggressive and rock our vehicle. I had a feeling that he was just showing interest in both us and our brightly colored luggage.
My Elephant Friend.
Luckily, the encounter ended peacefully and he ambled away as we watched in awe.
What a life-changing trip this was seeing tons of wild animals in their natural habitat. The circle-of-life was right in front of us as we saw a variety of antelope, wildebeest, zebra and warthog try to elude the lions, leopards and a cheetah.
We watched a lioness take down a warthog and then have to give it up to the male lion who just had to eat first – after all that work.
Boss Lion Eats First.
The vastness of the African landscape amazed us as we watched the tens of thousands of wildebeest and zebra make their annual migration across the Savannah.
We also became enamored with the African birds. They were beautiful and had such unique names, such as the "Go Away Bird", the "Bee-eater" and the "Secretary Bird".
Beautiful Little Bee-eater.
And I swear there was a Cape Buffalo who was making it his life mission to kill me if I dared to set foot too close to his habitat. His beady eyes and arrogant attitude told me so. What a scary fellow!
Stay Away from this Arrogant Attitude.
So far this year, our bags have also been with us on smaller road trip adventures here in the U.S. – to Wild & Wonderful West Virginia, and to Bar Harbor, Maine.
I totally recommend visiting our nation’s newest National Park in West Virginia – The New River Gorge National Park and Reserve.
We had been there before to white water raft, and I’ll never forget that experience. After spending most of the day on the rapids in the New River, one of the oldest rivers in the world, my legs were shaking from the exhilaration and terror of it all.
In my defense, at one point I was tossed into the rapids when my kayak flipped after hitting a rock, so I think that my fright was justified.
Porcupine Islands at Sunset, Mt. Desert Island, Maine.
While in Bar Harbor, Maine we really enjoyed exploring Acadia National Park. Here are some highlights of that trip:
Top of Beehive Trail, Acadia National Park, Maine.
After all of these adventures, my bag has "informed" me that it wants to go on even more trips.
Flash Flooding on Cadillac Mountain, Maine.
Moral to this story: Listen to your bag!
I hope that you can tell how much I love my Red Oxx bag. I have lots of other pieces of luggage in my closet, but haven’t used them since I got my Safari-Beano PR5. This is my "go-to" bag for everything. Whenever I get it out I think, "Adventure, here I come."
~ Penelope I.
As you stated in your post script Penelope, a picture is worth a thousand words. And I love pictures. Your Serengeti sunset is nearly identical to one I took in Africa over a decade ago. Tree, sun, lighting, everything. Life on the African plains can be brutal and shocking to us civilized folk, but it’s the way nature’s been for a millennia. Hopefully your Big Bull Roll-up Prize Bag will join you on future escapades, despite being basic black.
~ Cheers, Jim Markel CEO