The hot seat

The hot seat

During my stay at Bushwise for the past 3 months I have noticed change in the majority of peoples’ behavior. There were many who did not think that they would be successful in their studies and their own evolution of becoming a Field Guide. The first couple tests in the first months was an eye opener for many that this task will not be so easily accomplished.

First week introductions

While gaining confidence in oneself is one of the hardest attributes that a human can build upon, it is also the one that is out of your control. Metaphorically speaking, all of us were just a lone flame, burning a meager light, that could be easily blown out. While we pass each test in the first month, we add some tinder to that lonely flame so we can burn brighter. While the days and nights pass, the more qualifications we receive (4×4, First Aid, South African Licenses, PdP’s etc.) we add some Leadwood branches to that small fire, now burning hot with the ambition to succeed with our goals.

From going through the transition of half game drives, sharing the burden of guiding with another student, to taking on the responsibility of the full 3 and half hours of driving, guiding, educating, and most importantly, entertaining the guest on the back of the game viewer!

Trainer Vaughan had a very interesting reality to share with us this past week, called the hot seat.

While you are in the “Hot Seat” (This refers to the driver’s seat of the game viewer) your thoughts tend to over whelm you.

What should I talk about next?

Was that the correct information?

Should I have tried harder to link facts to one another?

Why don’t I remember what this bird is?

Why have I only seen 1 impala for the entire game drive?

All these thoughts streaming constantly into your mind while you are putting on a happy smile, trying to entertain the people that have been learning the same thing you have, who have been burned by the same hot seat.

The good thing about this trail -by-fire, this crucible of field guiding, is that there has been positive change.

People have developed strong niches about different areas of information, whether it is:

  • Being able to quickly identify birds and link them immediately to a different point you made earlier in the drive.

  • To be able to thoroughly entertain your guests from just your charm and overall charisma while on the vehicle
  • To wow, your guests with your ability to track big game and show them a cool sighting, building up the excitement and learning to feed off the general vibe of the group.
  • Becoming a botany expert, learning the myriad cultural uses of different plants
  • Traversing the thin line between regurgitating all the information you know about a specific animal and just making an interesting point about one and linking it to something else you have said.

These are only a sliver of the niches that we have developed and taken in stride this past week.

Now that which was once just a small flame, has become a roaring bonfire. Creating a light that everybody can see.

It brings a smile to all of our faces seeing everyone develop their own special areas of interest while we have figured out, in our own way, how to pass this test of knowledge, charisma, and professionalism.

I can only thank everyone who has made this life changing journey possible.

Blog by Brett Mackenzie