The small plane touches down with a bump on the runway and I along with a handful of other passengers’ clamber down the small set of steps that fold down from the fuselage. The heat of the African sun enfolds me like a heavy blanket. I have made it! I am about to begin my new life in Africa. It feels like the biggest gamble of my life!
A TIME OF UNHAPPINESS
A few months earlier I was in a very different place, a cramped toilet cubicle at my place of work, trying to hold on to my sanity. I had escaped from my desk as I could not concentrate or think clearly. The same negative thoughts went repeatedly churning around in my head, an endless mental treadmill.
Why did I feel like this? What was wrong with me?
Things started to go wrong after a head injury which resulted in concussion. The feelings of dizziness and foggy thinking, thankfully subsided, however my mental health seemed to deteriorate. I felt less and less myself, the more I focussed on the issue the bigger and scarier my situation felt.
At that time mental health was not something we talked about much and my GP wasn’t much help; I walked away from my appointment with no clue of what to next.
THE COURAGE TO MAKE A CHANGE
It’s strange what helps us decide to make a change; I read a book by the Paul Coelho (Quelho) called ‘The Alchemist’. It was the tale of a young shepherd boy, Santiago, who, inspired by his dreams, travels to Egypt to follow his destiny. This story somehow gave me the courage to accept an unusual offer. I was approached about a job based at a safari camp in a remote part of Zambia. Despite feeling I was on a mental precipice I felt magnetically compelled to follow this new path, I had to give it a go!
I travelled to Africa and threw myself into a completely a new job and environment. It was a such privilege to live in the beautiful South Luangwa Valley, surrounded by nature and wildlife, and gradually I started to feel better.
My experiences made me incredibly curious and I began to build my knowledge and understanding around resilience and wellbeing. I have now learnt about the incredible power our thoughts and beliefs have on how we experience and approach life. It’s easy to sabotage a positive idea and block opportunities to achieve great things in our lives.
I went on to study psychology, hypnotherapy, and have been coaching for over 4 years. I'm an in-house at Imperial College London and an advocate of personal growth and development. I love acting as a catalyst to help others build resilience and live life with vibrancy, connecting with the potential for greatness that’s in all of us.
PURPOSE & INSPIRATION
Whilst living in the beautiful South Luangwa Valley I saw, at first hand, the devastating effects of poaching and habitat destruction. I became part of the local community and met inspiring women running local organisations and businesses that were creating positive change.
In 2000 Rachel McRobb felt compelled to help out as a volunteer wildlife police officer to help tackle widespread poaching. Who could have imagined this first step would lead to the creation of a thriving internationally recognised organisation? Conservation South Luangwa (CSL), protects wildlife helps local communities to live in greater harmony with the animals they live alongside. In 2019 , CSL’s Law Enforcement Advisor, Benson Kanyembo was presented with the TUSK Wildlife Ranger Award by HRH Duke of Cambridge. From little acorns great trees grow. Learn how Rachel was inspired to take action.
Another inspiring lady is Kate Wilson who started her own jewellery business Mulberry Mongoose. Employing local women to create a thriving business creating and selling eautiful range of jewellery from snare wire collected during anti poaching patrols. So far Kate and her team have raised a staggering $126, 250 to support the work of CSL and the jewellery `has been featured in Vogue!
Both these inspiring women started their endeavours out of a desire to make a difference and bring about positive change. We all have the capacity to make a difference if we take steps in the direction of our passion and purpose.
COACHING TO CREATE A BETTER FUTURE
As someone who cares passionately about our planet, I know that the increasing severity of climate change and the destruction of our natural world can feel overwhelming; I wanted to use my skills to support and inspire those who want to make a difference but are struggling to find balance in their lives and deal with the negativity and challenges this can bring.
Inspiring overwhelmed planet lovers to feel positive and empowered.