I grew up with a love of the outdoors that can only come from being allowed to explore it from a young age. Coming from an active family I barely sat down as a child and spent the large majority of my time outdoors, taking full advantage of my rural surroundings. Travel was the only natural progression from this upbringing so when I was 15 I started planning my first adventure. Two months after my 16th birthday I would set off for the Yukon River in Canada where I would canoe the 570 miles between Whitehorse and Dawson City, following the route that the gold prospectors would have taken during the gold rush. During this time in the late 1890’s it is estimated that over 100,000 people attempted this journey and less than 40,000 survived so, although this seemed like a normal thing to do at the time, I now have a much greater understanding of why this was considered slightly unusual for someone my age. There were a couple of close calls during this adventure including a couple of potentially life-threatening situations, but we all made it to the end in one piece so overall the expedition was a resounding success. Through this I started to build a reputation as a ‘Young Explorer’ and having been awarded for my efforts by the Royal Geographical Society, I was spurred on to see more of the world.
Exactly one year after I set off for the Yukon I found myself on a plane headed for Namibia with the aim of trekking some of the extraordinary landscapes and taking the opportunity to get involved with the small community of Schlip. I am incredibly grateful to the people of Schlip for welcoming us so openly and helping us to understand their way of life. Despite obvious poverty the people I was lucky enough to meet were some of the happiest I have ever met and I still live in hope that one day I’ll be able to go back. Namibia took my love of the outdoors to a whole new level. The landscapes are the kind that cannot be captured in photos and are therefore destined to be butchered by my lack of descriptive skills. If you ever get the chance to go, snatch it, as only then will you truly understand the honestly on the previous sentence.
Since then I have been lucky enough to work in both America and South Africa and continue to satisfy my wanderlust whenever possible. Working both as a vet and in the TV industry has allowed me to explore a lot of the world that wouldn’t have been open to me otherwise so I’m lucky to get to travel relatively frequently.
One of the most fascinating parts of all of my travels has been the spectrum of animals that I have had the honour of witnessing in their natural habitats. One of my aims for the future is to find a way of inspiring others to learn more about the world around them and what they can do to help preserve it so that future generations can share the beauty that we take for granted.
I have recently taken up photography as I see it as the perfect way for me to share my experiences with a wider audience and, although it is still early days, the ability to document the world around me and share my point of view with others is infectious. The more familiar I become with my camera the easier this is becoming so, like most things, I believe that practice will make perfect and I now spend as much time as possible out with my camera.
Squeezed in between all this I like to keep active and regularly climb, ski, sail and scuba dive. Scuba diving is a relatively new addition to this list but is proving to be one of the favourite things I’ve done. Living in Scotland made diving over the winter problematic but during the summer months it is something I look forward to. Like most people I enjoy music and while growing up was lucky enough to have the opportunity to learn to play the clarinet and since starting, I have used this skill to teach myself to play the alto and soprano saxophones. This has allowed me to play in swing bands and tour cities such as Paris and Barcelona.
Anyway, that’s more than enough about me. I’ll probably use the blog to expand on some of the things I’ve touched on here anyway.
So, finally, here’s some random facts about me:
- I have a tortoise called Tippytoes
- I have a very time consuming obsession with wildlife documentaries
- I once woke up with a grizzly bear sat on the end of my tent! (About 50cm from my head!)
- I appeared on-screen and worked as a production assistant on the ITV programme ‘Safari Vet School’
- I like Marmite