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New Beginnings

“You don’t always need a plan. Sometimes you need to breathe, trust, let go, and see what happens.” – Mandy Hale. On that note, this is how my Professional Field Guide Course with EcoTraining started. The new beginning with a memorable quote written on a wall where we students met for the first time. I felt it with all my heart.

I’m not going to tell you about the excitement rushing through my veins, and I will not waste my time writing about incredible places and landscapes. And no, I won’t tell you about the beautiful animals. You’ll now think, “So… what’s this article about??”. There would be many words to describe everything, but you already know that the bush and the animals are beautiful. I’m sure you love nature and want to be part of it. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be here right now.

A favourite life quote by Mandy Hale – Photograph © Luisa Auletta

Imagine waking up early in the morning with the smell of grass and soil in your nostrils. Your eyes are still closed, but all your senses are already awake. I will tell you about feelings, emotions, people and the power that knowledge gives you.

Try to picture in your mind the thousands of emotions that run through your soul as you watch the sunrise in the bush, surrounded by the myriad of bird calls you don’t know yet. This would raise just a little bit of anxiety in yourself because you have to learn those sounds for your basic birding assessment. You might need another coffee and probably more cookies to feel better. But you’re still in the bush and undoubtedly have already had some exciting sightings, and it’s not even 8 o’clock! So, all the anxiety disappears, and everything is still worth it.

Sunrise in the bush with the smell of grass and soil in your nostrils. – Photograph © Luisa Auletta

I mentioned people, and what amazing people! You will be impressed by the variety of human beings you’ll find out there. Everyone has an interesting background and a different culture. In the blink of an eye, you have just found new friends, and your days will be full of long speeches, laughter and songs around the fire, study hours and volleyball games. It’s not always about peaches and cream; there will also be discussions and fighting. But we learn and grow from that, too, right? 

Two friends in Botswana – Photograph © Luisa Auletta

And now, open your mind to knowledge. It’s not related only to animals, the food chain or their interaction with each other; it’s about every living organism that surrounds you, the terrain you walk on, the ancient mountains around, the rivers and the sky above your head! Whether in camp or on a game drive with the other students and instructors, you’re in hundreds of living books, and the instructors are there to teach you how to browse through them! 

You will also learn how to be part of the surroundings responsibly. Living organisms tolerate our presence much better if we respect their spaces and comfort zone.

Our group of incredible individuals – Photograph © Luisa Auletta

Last but not least, I would like to talk about time. Time is so weird while you’re in the bush. You lose track of it and barely know the time of day. While I was in camp with my group, it seemed like weeks were months, but trust me, positively! You realize that you’re fully living your time there and enjoying yourself! Every day was full of all those things I was talking about. But then, as soon as you get this concept, that time has gone in seconds! You will probably sit in a plane or a car, still shocked that you spent the last day in the bush, not even a few hours before. After several moments of shock, your brain starts to work again! Don’t worry, it’s normal! It’s just trying to figure out how to get you back there as soon as possible!


How to become a Field Guide | EcoTraining Professional Field Guide

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

Would you like to know more about the EcoTraining Professional Field Guide Course?

This comprehensive and unique one-year course has been designed to supply the safari industry with high-calibre FGASA and CATHSSETA-qualified professional field guides. Students live and learn at four different wilderness camps, exposing them to diverse ecological and geographical terrains, wildlife species, climates, and more.

Here is your chance to learn more and get an in-depth idea of your year with EcoTraining.

About the Author: 

Luisa Auletta is a former EcoTraining Professional Field Guide student.

About the Author:
Luisa Auletta

Luisa Auletta

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