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  • Writer's pictureBushwise Student

Signs of life: Following the trail that leads back to me

This blog was written by Cameron Dodge, a Bushwise Professional Field Guide student. Each student takes a turn as camp manager, and writing a blog is part of the experience.

3 min read

At the start of my camp manager week, my peers and I have begun to learn the art of tracking and trailing, a skill used to track animals in the bush. Track and sign has, for me at least, opened up a new dimension to the bush. As I slowly begin to understand the story of each trail and spoor, I feel that the bush slowly begins to reveal its secrets to me. By being able to see the activity of the bush you begin to write your own story about the daily comings and goings of animals and the journey each one takes. 

As we looked deeper into animal behaviour and the trails that each species leaves behind, I started to wonder what story has been left behind in my wake? As I trudge through the hard times and overcome the obstacles I face in my own life, I started to question what signs are guiding me to my next destination. My own life's path is marked by signs, perhaps subtle and easily overlooked, yet each a vital turning point to reach today’s destination. 

My journey to Bushwise is a perfect example of how my own trail through life has been met with unexpected twists and turns. My decision to join Bushwise was at the very last minute. It was a choice I made one afternoon when I was having a small meltdown about what to do with my life. It was an instinctive click on an Instagram ad that has now led me to sit miles away from my past life learning how to track wildlife through the bush. Just less than 4 months ago I was at university attempting to finish up my honours research paper on perceptions of crime in urban areas, now I am spending my days traipsing through the bushveld and having naps under shady trees whilst looking out for signs of animal activity. 

This drastic change has led to a lot of introspection in an attempt to understand how and why I ended up here. The trail I have left behind in my own personal journey is filled with twists, turns, and unexpected encounters. What seemed like an impulsive decision to venture into the bush and become a guide transformed not only my physical surroundings but the people I face every day, as well as my daily routine right down to what I eat and the clothes I wear. I am not the same person; I don’t have the same friends, nor do I live in the same place. But somehow, somewhere, there was a sign along my track that pointed me in the direction of the bush. 

When coming to Bushwise I had little to no idea what to expect, I wanted a change, a new life outside of anything I had known before. This past week trekking through the bush and discovering its secrets has shown me that taking the initial leap and joining Bushwise was a decision that I am proud of, one that has made all those sleepless nights worrying about what I would possibly do after university seem pointless, and one that makes me excited for my future. As I now reflect on my week as camp manager, I can appreciate the choices I have made leading me to where I am today. I have had an unbelievable week getting to know the bush, myself and my peers. My week as camp manager was one which placed me in a role of responsibility, but also a position that allowed me to reflect on my experience at camp so far. I have had a week filled with brand new experiences and adventures that I could have only dreamed possible before. 

Follow your trail of self-discovery at Bushwise. Join one of our programs now.



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