I've always wanted to travel and see the world. So, when the opportunity came up to go on The Game Ranger Conservation Experience offered by African Conservation Experience (ACE), I jumped at the chance!
This is because it combined two things that I have always wanted to do - travel Africa and work with wildlife.
Sitting in the bush writing this I feel very calm and content which isn't normally like me. I'm a very fast-paced person and here I feel chilled, like I can just sit by myself and be present instead of in my head. I've always liked being outside but this takes it to a whole new level and it's incredible.
I think a real highlight of this trip was seeing elephants up close for the first time. That was a bit daunting, as you sit there thinking: "Oh my gosh, there's an elephant two feet away from me."
To any potential travellers thinking about this, I say go for it! Do not worry about any concerns you have. Most things that I was worried about, were all taken care of by the ACE team. Just go for it, because these opportunities are few and far between. Depending on where you are in the world, it can be quite far to travel, but there's a lot of support and reassurance from the ACE team. All the questions were answered and it felt very organised and planned. Everything's taken care including your food, transfers, and accommodation.
The most important thing I have learnt from this experience is to slow down and take in everything around you.
Volunteering at The Game Ranger Experience and having time away from social media and my phone has helped me as a person. It has also made me realise a lot about myself.
I thought I was set on what I wanted to do in the future. I had recently changed my career path from zoology and ecology to youth work. However, since coming here, it has confirmed that I want to do both and I don't want to sacrifice one or the other. I want to find a career where I can merge the two. I'm starting to think about running school groups, where I get to interact with youth and help them to engage with conservation.
This has been such an inspiring experience not just for my personal growth but also for helping me get onto the right track for my future.