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Why I left my job in Spain to become a safari guide in Africa

This blog was written by Africa Banzo, a Bushwise Professional Field Guide student. Each student takes a turn as camp manager, and writing a blog is part of the experience.

4 min read

Why would a person with a stable job in Spain decide to start studying again to become a safari guide on the other side of the world? Why not?

Do we need to live in comfort? Do we need to get out of our comfort zone to be happy? Do we know how to make the most of the little time we have in this world? I really don't know. But I do know that life is short and everyone is different. We have to enjoy life and make the most of it, because it will be gone before we know it. If it can help you, I'll tell you my story. 

I was born in a small, rural village in "the empty Spain", in Navaleno (Soria). I lived my youth there, surrounded by family and friends, playing in the street and in the countryside where we were surrounded by the purest nature and had the best environment to grow up in. 

But I had to leave my village to go study in one of the big cities of Spain – Zaragoza. I was very happy there. I completed my veterinary studies, always thinking of becoming a wildlife veterinarian. Although in Spain, it was complicated. Even so, I trained as much as I could, and my parents helped me (they always support me). 

I finished my training and, one day, suddenly everything changed. A hard blow came to my family (my eyes water at the memory). My father has always been a strong man, and still is. He showed me that you have to fight to get what you want. From then on, my mentality (and that of my family) changed radically, and now we look at life with the intention of making the most of it, enjoying it and doing what we are most passionate about. 

So we (my husband and I) decided to set up a travel agency specialising in safaris in Africa. We loved travelling, nature and animals. We loved the African wildlife and the continent itself. Everyone told us we were crazy, as we both had our jobs. They said, "Don't get into trouble", "You have a quiet life, why do you want this now?”

But that's what life is all about – adventures, moving, feeling, falling down and getting up. And we fell down. Of course, we fell down. But we are still standing, not without a fight, with an agency that works and that, moreover, continues to grow. 

My job, apart from our agency, was as a vet in a small animal clinic in a village in the Aragonese Pyrenees. I was passionate about looking after the little four-legged animals in the house, the surgeries, general medicine, ultrasound scans, even the emergencies. But little by little, it was getting muddy. Until I decided that I couldn't cry anymore, and that I needed a change in my life.

It was time, I had the opportunity. I packed my bags and hugged my husband who pushed me to take that plane. Yes, the opportunity of a lifetime. The chance to enter the world of African wildlife. The chance to learn more about them and everything that surrounds them. It was the perfect opportunity to discover that I am happy in the savannah. 

After many nerve-racking decisions, tears and smiles, headaches and family toasts, incredible dreams and nightmares, I decided to embark on the world of safari guiding. I am going to be one of them. 

I'm not going to kid you, my world stopped when I was queuing to catch that plane. I didn't know whether to run away or keep going through the baggage check. It was hard to start. It was hard to leave my family and my husband there. It was hard to leave my job (though necessary). It was hard to make the most incredible decision I have ever made in my life, but it would have been even harder not to. 

The first days on campus were "complicated". Understand me – 30 years old, with a house, a family, a life on the other side of the world. Now you have to share a room with two other people, in a small glamping tent, surrounded by all kinds of critters from the African arthropod world (although you will not care about this in a few days). 

You are on one of the best safari guide campuses in the world, with people who love what you love, with trainers who are well known in the industry, surrounded by the wildlife that you can see on your morning walks. This is the life I want – to be surrounded by nature, animals and people who fight to preserve what we love. 

I am now part of the Bushwise family. Now it's my turn to be happy in the bush.

Want to become a safari guide? Learn more about Bushwise courses and apply today!



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