I have been dreaming of Africa since I was five years old. I told my mother, looking up at her with big eyes, that I would one day travel to Africa, live on a game reserve, and save and breed endangered animals back into the wild. She, of course, told me that I could do anything, probably thinking to herself the following week I would want to go to the moon. But my dream never changed.
Growing up in a small town in California, I loved to teach myself about wildlife. My parents gave me many animal books and I printed out stacks of pages about all different creatures (little did I know the negative environmental impact of printing so many pages). I had done some volunteering at a local veterinary office and amassed many hours of charity work with animals as a teen but I always knew it wasn’t enough. I knew my dream was to impact the environment on a different level.
At 18, I made the biggest change of my life: I moved to the South African Bush to become a game ranger. I had never travelled to Africa. Only once had I flown alone. I didn’t know a single person on the southern hemisphere.
I arrived in South Africa and began my studies on how to guide safaris. I learned theory for six months out in the field. We took exams and drove game viewers. One day I would have the privilege to teach guests from different countries about my adopted land. My practical work, at a five-star game lodge, gave me the opportunity to work closely with many different types of animals and though I had always cared especially about endangered species, my love for all wildlife, big and small, grew while interacting with them.
Photography has been a hobby for several years and is now one of the ways I can show my heartfelt passion for nature to the rest of the world.
A passion I’d wanted to realize since I was a small child.
My dream remains.