In around ten weeks from now, I will be leaving everything behind and stepping far out of my comfort zone as I travel around the world to learn about my true passion, animal conservation.
Over the past four years I have become fascinated with this topic and it has become engrained in my every day life. My social media accounts are no longer filled with posts of my friends and family, instead they are filled with images of animals, every holiday I take has been planned around animal and nature encounters, my reality television binges have been replaced with animal and nature documentaries, my home has been filled with cruelty free products, I read endless articles about the effects of climate change and the impact it has on animals and the environment across the world and I spend every spare moment I have trying to educate myself so I have as much knowledge as possible on this topic that I am so passionate about.
I should have seen this decision coming and it should have come as no surprise especially to those who know me, but I am still pinching myself that I am actually doing this.
Although over the past four years I have become so absorbed in this topic, I was among the many other millions of people who simply sit behind a computer screen witnessing cruelty across the world and cursing at the dead beat human beings who cause so much misery to millions of animals every year.
I would try my bit to help by sharing posts of animal cruelty on my social media accounts urging friends and family to sign petitions, I would donate to animal charities whenever I came across ones that I thought could make a difference on my behalf, I would donate food, bedding and fundraise much needed money to dog shelters and non for profit animal organisations, I replaced all my cosmetics, soaps and cleaning products with cruelty free and environmentally friendly products, I continued to vow not to eat meat or animal products and I would try to convince friends and family to follow in my footsteps.
Although I knew I was doing as much as I could I still didn't feel fulfilled. I would find myself seeing such horrendous acts of cruelty and crying because I felt so helpless to do anything, and this was something I let myself feel for four years. But that feeling of helplessness changed a little over six weeks ago and the way it happened wasn't at all exciting or expected.
I was sitting at home watching a documentary on climate change and the damaging effects it was having on Polar Bears and that familiar feeling of absolute helplessness reared its head. I sat there for about 30 minutes thinking to myself "I wish I could do something..." when suddenly it was as though I had one of those metaphorical light bulb moments. It was so clear and I realised for the first time ever "I CAN do something to help!"
I sat up taken aback at this moment of clarity and it dawned on me that there was absolutely nothing holding me back from pursing my passion...except for me. I was solely responsible for telling myself I wasn't able to make a difference and it was up to me to change that. So I grabbed my notebook and jotted down everything I wanted to achieve, the animals I wanted to help, the countries I needed to visit, ways on how I was going to help, things I needed to learn and understand and before I knew it three hours had passed and the list was pages long. I looked down at my notebook and for the first time ever I felt a determination inside of me that I didn't know existed.
The past six weeks has become a whirlwind. I have consumed myself in this project which I have endearingly called my 'passion project'. I have decided to take extended leave from my job that I love, I will be leaving my loved ones and my dog Butchy behind, I will be walking away from my responsibilities and commitments and I will be packing up my belongings and squeezing them into one suitcase so I can travel solo around the world to pursue my dreams of helping animals. To some, this may sound absurd, but to me nothing has ever made more sense.
At first I wanted to travel for a solid amount of time, so I was able to help as many animals as possible within that certain period, but then I realised that animals are active throughout different seasons across the world and if I wanted to work with as many animals as possible I would need to stagger my journey into different times of year and different parts of the world. The first part of my journey will be aimed around Asia and Europe and I will be working with animal conservation groups and fellow animal advocates in different countries allowing me to work with a variety of species. Throughout this first leg, I will be blogging about my daily experiences, I will be posting photos of the animals I meet along the way, I will be interviewing the experts in the field and I will be sharing ways for other people, who just like me, want to help. Once I complete my first leg, I will be able to asses what comes next and from there I will plan my next adventure.
Although I have a clear understanding of what this journey will entail, I still do not know what form it will take, what the outcome will be or where I will end up. All I know is that if I want to make the world a better place there is no better time to start than right now. I look forward to sharing my journey with you and helping you become a fellow animal warrior.
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!