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What does it mean to be a field guide?

BY: Francois Theron, trainer at the Bushwise Mahlahla campus

One is often confronted with the question of what you are going to do with your life or what career you are going to follow. It isn’t always an easy answer or decision to make especially when you’re still young and haven’t figured out all these things for yourself.

I was one of those that didn’t know where to start and followed a completely different career, one that was not meant for me. But sixteen years ago, I made the decision to follow my heart and instincts and became a field guide. And there has not been a day where I regret this decision.

For me, it changed my career to a lifestyle: where one wakes up early in the morning fuelled with enthusiasm and excitement for the day; one where challenges are not problems but blessings; one of contentment being outdoors and in the wild seeing and learning every step of the way.

It’s a career with endless possibilities and opens doors to a variety of opportunities. It will challenge you to grow in your career and as a person, finding yourself in ways that many other careers would not be able to do for you.

There are very few people in life that live out a dream or passion in their careers like I did. Before you know it, you will fall so deeply in love with what you do that it’s almost impossible to get out of it again. It’s an endless journey of discovering new natural areas and wildlife, and meeting people from all over the world that you can share your passion with. It is a career where you will bear witness to the most amazing natural scenery and the most incredible wildlife, and all of this will leave you in awe.

Field guides getting ready for a tour practice with firearms.

Image: Lindi Hutchinson

If I have advice for you, it’s that life is short, so do what makes you happy and fuels you with passion, enthusiasm and excitement. Follow your dreams and heart and you will find love and happiness in life. This is what being a field guide has done for me.




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