Its generally a cold day in hell that I happen to find myself socially interacting with people other than clients. Odd job choice for a misanthropist you might say. However, on the rare occasion that I do find myself conversing with the plebs, I am invariably told that I have such a GREAT job - something to be grateful for even! Who wouldn't want to travel the world for a living? Perception and reality, an estranged couple these days. Once said individual's hamster has been motivated to make a few revolutions they realise that this is pure romanticism. And grateful for what exactly? Are you grateful for your office job? Why is my job so different that I need to be grateful anyway?
There is clearly a disconnect between the volume of countries I visit and the patently self evident travel that this involves. Sure, I see many, many countries and places, but think about how I get there. I'm not sure what image people get into their heads regarding just what it is that I do. I'm most certainly not jetting off to the Caribbean to lie on a beach for 6 weeks. I facilitate, I teach - ultimately I make things happen so that my clients have a seamless and enjoyable holiday. Unlike most tour reps, guides, operators - whatever term you wish to use, I don't specialise in a country or region, but a subject. I never get to sit back and relax once I know one country - for we travel to over 100 countries and offer 200 different tours covering over 10 000 species of birds and a few thousand mammals.
Most people like more than a little routine, call it societal conformity - the only thing routine about my life is change (and waking up 04:00 almost every morning - birds get up early). I have no base, no home, no country, too many nationalities and even more identities. For years I have spent my life living out of a suitcase. The most consecutive days I have spent in one location this year is 13 days. I spend almost all my life in the 'summer' of the world's tropics. Its hot, humid, full of biting/stinging organisms and rains a lot. Things you take for granted are a complete waste of my life - I don't own a TV, furniture, cannot have any pets and probably shouldn't involve myself in any form of relationship. Aside from the incredible wildlife I bear witness to, the highlight of my day/week/month is getting a half decent internet connection and a hot shower. Grateful, yes - for the things you take for granted.
Diatribe, sure - but this is far from being a general whinge about my life. This is in fact a lifestyle that suits me perfectly - and I love it. So, do you really want to do my job?
Flights : 2014
|Basic flight paths for the year - single lines like Johannesburg (JNB) to Brazil (GRU) are 4 flights, not 1!|
57 flights, of which :
18 Inter-continental (i.e. Africa to South America - long flights!)
17 Intra-continental (i.e. within Africa - medium length flights)
22 Domestic (i.e. within South Africa)
Total flying time : 215 hours (9 days)
Distance Travelled : 152 192 kilometres (94 568 miles)
Average Flight : 2 670km (3.5 hours)
Countries : 2014
Total visited : 21
I spent 9 days/nights inside a plane. Otherwise I spent the following nights per country.
(X) signifies number of transits.
126 South Africa
17 Dominican Republic
25 Papua New Guinea