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When The Coast Is Clear, Come Join The Elephants & Me In South Africa!

Well, it’s April 15th in this wild ride called 2020. Ordinarily, it would be dreaded Tax Day but, as we all know, this is no ordinary year. To me, April 15th means we’re exactly three-and-a-half months into our New Year’s Resolutions. How are yours doing? With nothing but time on our hands, maybe it’s time to freshen up our resolutions …


Since everything is all catawampus right now, I thought I’d share a few random thoughts about things I’ve realized or re-realized while being sheltered-in-place, safer-at-home, quarantined or otherwise turned upside-down, inside-out and every which way but loose. I call ‘em Torii’s Springtime Resolutions. In no particular order, here goes …

Things we hold dear will endure.

It’s an interesting time for those of us turning 30 this year. We’re old enough to remember Y2K, 9-11 and the 2008 financial crisis. And guess what, we’re still standing. So, we know, indeed, this too shall pass.

One thing I hold particularly dear is my love of travel. I have always been infused with a sense of curiosity and adventure, if not full-blown wanderlust. My hunch is, once the world comes out of this unexpected hibernation, we will all travel with a different mindset. Instead of hopping off a plane and immediately posting “look-at-me” pictures on Instagram, we’ll instead look around, breathe it all in, and savor our surroundings, wherever our feet may have landed. Y’know, the way it used to be before every handheld a cellphone camera.

The world is, always has been, and always will be, a beautiful and fascinating place. My resolution is to have an even deeper appreciation for its vastness, diversity, geography, jaw-dropping vistas and simple little villages, each with their own cultures and lifestyles. From cosmopolitan to clay hut, it’s all so spectacular!

Girl looking at Hot Air Balloon in Sky

Love Mother Earth-like she loves us.

Beyond beautiful, the world is a living, breathing thing that needs a break from time to time from the things we do to her. There’s nothing like having something taken from you to make you appreciate it as you should. I resolve to cherish the planet we’re so blessed to live on and to treat it with even greater respect.

I mean, look at what’s happening. A few weeks ago, with Venice’s famous canals free of Gondola boats and tourists, it didn’t take long for dolphins to swim into the canals like they did before all the traffic and trash. Lockdowns in India have helped clear the air of millions of metric tons of pollution. One province reported seeing blue skies through the thinning haze for the first time in months. In Scotland, with people sequestered in homes and off the streets, herds of sheep and goats are wandering into town to look around and explore. Yes, this is likely only temporary but maybe, just maybe, there are lessons to be learned that will endure long after all this is but a distant memory.

Live life a little bit slower.

People of my age group – the much-maligned Millennials – have suddenly been forced to live with less. And we’re not used to that. As kids, we were raised by two-parent-working households and we were used to being hauled all over God’s green acre for soccer or dance class or gymnastics or baseball or lacrosse or whatever other activity that probably cost our parents way too much, both in terms of dollars and quality time spent together as a family. Back then, the formula was simple: If you do more stuff, you increase your chances of success.

Or not.

Maybe we don’t have to be busy all the time. Maybe it’s OK to power down the smartphone and the iPad and the laptop. Maybe social media isn’t as essential as breathing is to life. C’mon, who really cares what I’m eating for lunch or the funny way my cat sleeps?

My fiancée, Matt, and I have talked a lot about the duality of our age group. We were both born in 1990 and, in our earliest years, things were still simple in a Mayberry sort of way. Then along came the internet explosion, faster processing speeds, more and more gigabytes and terabytes, cool new gadgets that we could take with us anywhere and, along with it all, higher expectations that we are “on” 24/7/365. No, no and no, we don’t need to be!  Slow it down a bit.

Lean into tomorrow … today!

As a result of what’s happening these days, I’ve learned to appreciate some things all over again. Honestly, waking up is something I used to dread. Not anymore. You see, every day I survive the barrage of fear-laden news, grim statistics and foreboding predictions is another day I have to remind myself that positivity is mine to claim and mine to put forth to the world.

It’s also a time for me to really think about what I want to do and where I want to go when the coast is clear. I recently saw a trailer for the new Disney movie Elephant which chronicles Shani and her spirited son as their herd makes an epic journey across the vast Kalahari Desert. Despite brutal heat, dwindling resources and persistent predators, they remain true to their quest to reach a lush, green paradise where water and sustenance is abundant and they can live in blissful peace.

Bingo! I can start planning today for an adventure to South Africa.

See others eye-to-eye.

I am, by nature, someone who enjoys listening fully to what others say whether I agree with them or not. The simple act of looking into another’s eyes while they speak is so easy to do … and so rarely done. I resolve to seek out the foundational moments in conversation; to not just hear another’s words but to feel them and consider them and appreciate them.

Deep inside all of us is a great spirit. Let yours out and allow others in.

Recently, we moved into our first new house and we’re still up to our elbows in boxes as we try to create a home. One day, when we were inside unpacking, a neighbor of ours was outside mowing our lawn. We didn’t even ask him to, he just did it as a gesture of kindness. I will always remember that simple little favor and cherish the memory he created for us.

Look around and ask, “What can I do for you?” It’s one thing to play along and post a pretty picture [sans comment] and flood social media with beautiful images, it’s quite another thing to intentionally and purposefully do something for someone else.

Everything worth having is worth fighting for.

We’re all unique. We want different things. Some want more, others need less. But all of us have dreams and goals and aspirations and things we cherish most. And all of us are being reminded right now that our freedom to roam and explore and interact socially and hug and hang out together is curtailed. Whatever it is you value most, persevere, power-through, lean into it, or whatever other catchy saying you want to toss in. If it’s worth having, it’s worth fighting for.

In closing …

Right now, we have the opportunity to restructure our lives and reshuffle our priorities. Out with the useless and inane, and in with the good stuff, the things that truly matter to us – whether it’s relationships, experiences, career-related or something deeper and more spiritual. Take full advantage of this unusual lull and build more depth and profundity into your life. Take the time to live your life from the inside out.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I must look into booking a trip to Africa to cavort with some elephants!

Be safe, everyone … and smile.




In her role as dynami group’s Business Development Specialist, Torii [no, that’s not a misspelling] “finds the people who need us most then works hard to accommodate them in a unique and memorable way.”

Prior to joining dynami, she worked for seven years at The Manor Golf & Country Club, an exclusive private club in suburban Atlanta, in a variety of roles – most recently as Captain of Servers after working as a Beverage Cart Attendant, Cart Staffer, Pro Shop Attendant and even coach of the club’s swim team. Members appreciated her friendly, professional personality, as well as her keen ability to observe and anticipate needs, meticulous attention to detail, and photographic memory. [“Don’t ever tell me something you want me to forget because I won’t!”]

Prior to working at The Manor, Torii worked as a Social Media Specialist at Georgia Film Festival but found working behind-the-scenes a bit isolating, preferring instead to be “hands-on” and engaged with others. Her “edge” is being incredibly genuine and truthful with others and having a knack for selling a product or service. and exceeding clients’ needs and expectations.

A self-proclaimed ”Air Force brat”, Torii was born in Japan [close to Torii Beach in Okinawa, hence the unique spelling of her nickname] and has lived in Austin, Chicago, Dayton and now Atlanta. She earned her degree in Communications with a focus on Public Relations from the University of North Georgia and is a “Dog Mom” to Zeus, her beloved Rottweiler.