Answering the Call

To be honest, although my life was constantly filled with love for the bushveld and adventure, I never saw myself being a guide. There was no indication to me that I was going to dive deep into the endless pool of wildlife education and I suppose that is what made this experience even more impactful.

To start, I lived in Johannesburg for my childhood. My family made a constant effort to explore southern Africa, but in the end, I was always back in the city. It made finding my bushveld connection rather difficult and ultimately it led me to become a digital marketer in a high-end marketing agency in the city.

After what felt like an eternity, I hit a wall. It just could not face going into a concrete jungle for another day and something had to change. It was a weird place to be because my career was just starting, I had the doors finally open for me and my path to marketing success was laid out and I wanted none of it. What was I going to do?

Answering the Call - Walking Safari
Photographs © Scott Ramsay

The call of the bushveld

One of my close friends took up being a field guide around the same time I started working in the city and we finally managed to have a catch-up. He was different and happy. It was a little shock to me at first and the more I listened to him the more compelled I was to give it a try.

Now being in a position like this is not unique. In fact, most people I have met in the bush have had similar pivotal moments that drew them to the bush and if they didn’t, they would soon realize that being there was something guiding them on this unique journey all along, they just were not aware of it.

It’s as if the bushveld calls you. Whether you are aware of it or not.

So, I answered the call and my life was forever changed. I made true friends, found love, found purpose, and most importantly I found my true self.

Answering the Call - Walking Safari
Photographs © Scott Ramsay

Connected to nature

Now I cannot guarantee you that you will find all these things, but what I can say, is that no matter how experienced you are, how old or how passionate about nature, once you answer the call your life will change.

There is something so special about living your life according to the sun. Waking up when it gets up and sleeping when it goes down. Being able to listen to the sounds of nature, interact with iconic wildlife, and being able to gain professional-level experiences that can eventually be passed on to the next explorer.

The call is world-changing. It offers you the chance to be truly connected with nature, to explore your passions as well as create a lineage of nature lovers with the ultimate responsibility of preserving the wild spaces that called you in.

If you hear the call, answer it. You never know where it may take you, but most importantly you never know who may take inspiration from you to do the same. I thank my friend for passing that on to me as I hope one day to hear that I passed this simple life-changing message onto the next explorer.

How to become a Field Guide | EcoTraining Courses

The African bush is calling you! Will you answer the call?

Ever wanted to know what the EcoTraining 55-day Field Guide Course is all about? Here is your chance to learn more and get an in-depth idea of what your days with EcoTraining will entail.

About the Author: 

Lawrence Steyn is a former EcoTraining student on our Apprentice 55-day Field Guide course.

About the Author:
Lawrence Steyn

Lawrence Steyn

Explore more

student sitting in the game viewer

The first 24 hours on an EcoTraining Practical Course

There’s one for aspiring professional Field Guides, taking an entire year. There’s one specifically for birding enthusiasts, taking just seven days. And there’s an extensive range of other ones in between. EcoTraining’s practical courses and experiences can cater to many different needs, but they all guarantee one thing: intense quality time immersed in nature! EcoTraining graduate Wim tells the story of his 35-day Practical Field Guide course, which took him first to Karongwe and then to Pridelands.

Read more
group of students on a birding course

Popular Birding Book Takes Flight

The newly revised Second Edition of Robert’s Birds of Greater Kruger book was released! It is a fresh and new edition, from the introduction to new chapters, habitat descriptions, checklists, distribution maps, illustrations, and photographs—and it only took three hard years to revise.

Read more
group photo of field guide students

Globalization in the Wild

My dad’s experience at EcoTraining was genuinely remarkable. It was an incredible example of how people from different backgrounds and cultures can come together to learn and appreciate nature. The diverse group of companions he met at the camp, including those from Italy, the Netherlands, Germany, UAE, and Reunion, made the experience even more enriching. He learned from instructors from various countries, explored the African wilderness, and encountered awe-inspiring birds. It was a unique opportunity to witness globalization in the wild.

Read more

Start your wildlife career

Want to become a field or nature guide? Explore our immersive courses and training programmes for professional safari guides and guardians of nature, taught and led by experts in the industry.

EcoTraining offers career and accredited courses, wildlife enthusiast courses, gap year programmes and customised group travel courses.

Join our nature-loving community.