I’ve never been one to focus on a career. For a moment as an early teen, I wanted to be a vet, but an incompetent careers guidance counsellor and then a missed grade scuppered that dream. However, I’ve always had a vague sense of direction in life, one driven by continuous learning and a desire for a healthy, balanced life.
As a teenager, I had seen what an unhealthy, stressful life had done for my dad, and I didn’t want that. From the time I left high-school in 1998, up until 2014, I’ve pretty much been a student with part-time jobs and bank loans to pay for my studies and adventures. Except for one year when I was a zookeeper in a Midlands zoo looking after parrots and penguins and two weeks I spent selling gas and electric utilities door-to-door.
I mostly studied apes and monkeys and specialised in studying the ways humans and other animals communicate. I’ve chased chimpanzees through the riverine forests of the East African Rift Valley; observed red-tailed monkeys leap through the tree canopy in Western Uganda and followed olive baboons closely as they stomp through the jungles of Eastern Nigeria. And as you can see, I have a passion for forests and I loved the two years that I spent living in them, almost completely isolated from the world.