From a very young age the natural world has been deeply intertwined in my life.
As a toddler in South Africa, my parents found that I had a particular affinity with an old AA road guide that had picture guides of the plants and animals of the country.
They would read the pages of the guide containing the birds and animals to me regularly and by the time I was two, I had a pretty firm grasp of what each animal looked like.
One of my earliest memories (I was two or so) is from around that time when my dad was posted on assignment as a photographer in a private game reserve on the Northern border of South Africa to take photographs of the wildlife for an advertising brochure for the reserve.
Luckily, My mom and I got to go with him!
I remember sitting on the trackers lap on the front of the Land-rover enthusiastically pointing out every animal that my young eyes could perceive.
More often than not my AA guide knowledge showed and even the rangers were impressed by my knowledge.
The experience lived with me for years and I’m sure the constant nagging to go back to see my rangers friends and the animals drove my parents mad.
For years I wanted to be a game ranger. (One day when I get big, I will be!)
After all, the South African bush is my favourite place on earth!
My life from then involved playing out in the local green belt, collecting and keeping various creatures as pets, swimming in the farm dam adjacent the house or going to the zoo or game reserves as regularly as possible.
In 2006, I moved to the UK leaving my family, friends and the vibrant natural world that I grew up with behind in pursuit of a career
in logistics management.
For 13 years I worked in a dark grey warehouse, rows of racking filled with dusty crates. People moving frantically trying to hit near impossible deadlines. Months of missed meals, daylight and a work/life balance stacked unhealthily in favour of work.
The end result of it all, complete catastrophic burn-out.. I ended my career signed-off and wondering what next.
My recovery as enabled me to reconnect with the things that are truly important to me. I had packed up for so many years. I was able to spend more time focussing on the plants and animals that I keep at home. I was able to learn about stress, mental illness, coping mechanisms and the fundamental physiological functions behind our reaction to the environment around us.
My recovery made me realise that my life experiences and nature-centric upbringing have given me a unique perspective on the value of nature in our lives, the important roll that it has on our well-being (especially at work) and the tools to harness nature to help others to thrive naturally.
Using my personal experiences and knowledge I’d really love to help others to reduce their chances of reaching the point of ill health that I got to. I really believe that using nature to support people at work and at home helps them to be their best. Bringing nature back to people is something that I can do to help them.