A Very British Nature Reserve

The wind rustled the trees, and something slipped into the water. In the darkness I could see little, but there were creatures moving in the gaps. I scanned the bushes with my head torch and sensed scurrying. Then, in a flash, fireworks exploded above. There was an exodus of birds from the treetops. Amid theContinue reading “A Very British Nature Reserve”

How Parrots Taught Me Inner Peace

Some of my most thrilling moments happen before sunrise, that desolate time of day before the world wakes up. Stars hang heavy in the sky, yet to be dissolved by the morning light.  I’m up at four-thirty to volunteer, at an ecological station in the Costa Rican rainforest. Theo, and I are headed on aContinue reading “How Parrots Taught Me Inner Peace”

Saving Vultures, Our Ugliest Allies

The shopkeeper handed me a machete, and challenged me to a sword fight. Our blades clashed a few times as we stared each other down, before collapsing into laughter. These are the kind of antics to expect from a Portuguese hardware store. I was on another conservation adventure, in Portugal, working with biologists to supportContinue reading “Saving Vultures, Our Ugliest Allies”

Improve or Accept? A Discussion for Life

Exercise has been a staple throughout my life. It began as play time in motion: climbing trees and running around like a monkey. Then it became dedicated, as I practised martial arts and weightlifting, which I still do to this day. My body has adapted to these years of movement, so when I am sedentary,Continue reading “Improve or Accept? A Discussion for Life”

Peaks and Valleys: Tales from the TMB

In September I completed the Tour de Mont Blanc: nine days of hiking around the biggest mountain in Western Europe. It was an epic adventure. Here is a hodgepodge of stories I wrote in my journal during and after the trip, reflections on an arduous and spiritual journey. Hope you enjoy. Day Three Italy OnContinue reading “Peaks and Valleys: Tales from the TMB”

Chaos and Responsibility- Lessons from an Animal Sanctuary

Meanwhile, at a vegan animal farm in Costa Rica… Chaos Oh lord, another day has begun. The paradise of dream world was interrupted by the hellish screams of pigs: wild, desperate shrieks that trembled the soul. Lie-ins were not an option in this kind of ambience; one could only dawdle, praying for a different reality,Continue reading “Chaos and Responsibility- Lessons from an Animal Sanctuary”

Assault from all sides- the effect of ecotourism on sea turtles

The prospect of seeing a sea turtle in the shell was close. The expectation had been building in my head for months: visions of these fascinating creatures surrounding me on a rugged beach in the tropics, illuminated by the stars above. I was lucky enough to volunteer with these animals, in a bid to learnContinue reading “Assault from all sides- the effect of ecotourism on sea turtles”

The hardships of a housecat

I woke up to the sun baking my fur. It was a pleasant warmth, but one I knew would hurt after a while. I hadn’t been unconscious, but in a quieter place- part of the ambience. The sounds came rushing back in: birds reciting pedantic songs, the clamorous mess that humans dance to, and theContinue reading “The hardships of a housecat”

The Importance of Being Present

Birdsong fell like raindrops all around me. The sounds of many cars on the motorway coalesced into one perpetual roar, making the forest seem shy in comparison. I focused on my breathing, in and out, like waves lapping on a shore. The tiredness I had been struggling with moved down my body and dissipated. IContinue reading “The Importance of Being Present”