I graduated from Queen’s University in 2008 with a double degree in Biology and Kinesiology. Two years of seasonal work in the Hospitality Industry following university facilitated my many worldly adventures to follow, from the Andes of South America to the Himalayas of Nepal. I was initially drawn to these places by the promise of epic mountain expeditions but ultimately, through the soul-searching experience of 3-months travelling solo, I came to a foundation-shaking realization: I LOVE this planet. Its people, its wildlife, its power to constantly surprise you. Learning from the people I met along the way, and borrowing from cultures the world over, I was committed to make a change in my life and with some perseverance, the lives of others. I was committed to the pursuit of a conservation lifestyle and career.
I had been staring longingly at the Explore website since my second year in university, back in 2006. This year (2010), conditions were perfect: with a field biology contract terminating in August, and little else planned in the seemingly abyssal future, I applied to the Explore program and joined the WWF team. Never in my wildest travel-bug dreams had I considered Madagascar as a target destination, but true to the life-changing process of travel, Madagascar delivered an inspiring cultural, philosophical, and natural experience that would change, yet again, my approach to the world. While the other volunteers laughed when I admitted that Madagascar taught me to share, it is a value of Malagasy culture experienced in every aspect of everyday life. It embodies every motive, every action, every utterance. It wasn’t just about offering your neighbour the last cookie in your precious ration of trail snacks; it was about offering yourself completely – your knowledge, your strength, your compassion – to those around you, always.