If your work is your passion, the world is your oyster. So many people settle for a job that is not their ideal choice, a career that does not excite them or fill them with enthusiasm. There can be various reasons why not and some of these are not within our control.
I certainly had my share of disappointment and heartache when striving for my dream job.
In 1995 a very young 19 years old me took my hard earned savings and went on a five Contiki whirlwind tour of Europe. What an experience. I got my first taste of independence and each day new treasures and new cultures were discovered, Contiki did a great job in turning many you traveling enthusiast dreams into reality. I was hooked. “This is the company I want to work for’, I said to my self over and over.
Upon my arrival, back home in South Africa, I set out on a mission to make this dream a reality. Perhaps it was good that I had no idea what was installed for me, as I don't think I would have started if I did. My South African passport made working for UK and Europian very difficult if one did not have a certain skill set and training. I changed my focus back to South Africa. If you want to be a tour guide in South Africa you need to earn tour guide status. Becoming a city tour guide was very expensive. This let me to the decision to get registered as a South African Field Guide.
The process was less complicated. Spend a couple of weeks training with a registered provider on a game farm, do a practical and written an exam, if pass you will be registered as a field guide. Sounds simple? I contacted a farm who advertised these training courses. I explained about my visual impairment and it did seem to bother them at all. A very naïve me saw this is a good sign.
The farm was very basic with limited lighting which made studying at night just about impossible. During the day you were kept busy with helping with chores on the farm. It was so hard. Mother Nature is beautiful but very well camouflaged. I kept falling over stones, walking into thorny bushes and stepping into a variety of wildlife poo.
Part of our practical exam was to identify different species of trees and give their Latin names. To me, they were all just green blobs. I went as far as to taste the leaves and branches of each tree, to give me a better chance of identifying each tree.
The night before the exam we sat around the campfire tired as hell. I got comfortable and with my head, in my hands, I placed my elbows on legs. The most excruciating pain shot through the right arm. It turned out that a scorpion was making itself comfortable on my leg, I did not see it and did not feel it. Within a few minutes, my glands swelled up and became very painful too. The pain did not subside till the 24 hours later. I was too ill to take the exam.
On my way home, a very ill and sore me decided to let go of my dream to work for the tour operator Contiki.