Thursday, 13 February 2014

Getting ready for take-off

 I've been pretty busy trying to get organised for my trip. I've been planning this trip for 6 months now so you think I'd be sorted, but because it has always been months away I've been putting a lot of it off. Until quite recently, there has also been the hinderance of my job keeping me busy and away from the shops.

The top of my purchasing list was shoes. Good footwear is essential pretty much all of the time, but even more so when you are off having adventures far from home. I wanted to only take 2 pairs of shoes with me, a pair of hiking boots (otherwise known as Amazing Race shoes) for when I'm working with wildlife and a pair of sandals for when I'm playing the relaxed tourist in Zanzibar or to wear with my skirt when going out for dinner. After a bit of searching, I managed to find a suitable pair of each. I have been wearing them in and am very pleased to report that both pairs are very comfortable and I think I'm going to be very happy with them while I'm away. I will also need to pack a pair of thongs because I ended up choosing a pair of leather sandals rather than a waterproof pair that could double as shower shoes, but I'm happy to sacrifice that much space in my bag for the magnificent comfort of the sandals I've chosen.

Obviously while I'm away I plan to take hundreds (probably thousands) of photos,  so my camera will need to be with me and yet safe all the time. I went and chatted to the very helpful man at Camera House and he sold me a padded bag for my camera and small lense. He recommended that rather than buy an expensive padded case for my large lense, I buy a drink bottle with a thermal sleeve and use that to put my lense in. I took his advice, but I decided to use my sewing skills to make the drinkbottle cover into a sealed lense case and put some clips on both it and the camera bag so that I can tote it around with me a bit more easily. This is how it turned out and I'm very happy with it - even the butterfly design of the drinkbottle cover is quite nice.

I've also been to the bank to sort out some currency arrangements for my trip. I've gone with some cash in South African Rand as well as a travel MasterCard. $300 Australian worth of Rand is a nice little bundle.
Still lots to do, but I've been making progress through my endless lists.

Sunday, 9 February 2014


I've now finished work with the Devil Program. It was very strange to be officially finishing, but I had a really great last day and spent most of the day cuddling devils while we did health checks and photographed their markings for id shots. I haven't felt upset or sad about leaving work yet, but I'm pretty sure at some point I'll really miss working with the devils and a couple of my workmates as well.

 Me releasing Grumble on my last day

My days since retirement have been relaxing, but busy. I haven't had a chance for a proper sleep-in yet, but I'm scheduling that for tomorrow morning.

I've been spending a lot of my time (both before and after I officially finished work) working on the paper that I've been writing with some of my former workmates for the Australian Wildlife Rehabilitation Conference. Its been quite a lot of working putting the paper and the conference talk together, but in a strange way I've been enjoying doing something a bit more academic. I'm looking forward to the conference itself which is in Hobart in May, because it'll be really good hearing about all the research other wildlife carers and rehabilitators have been doing. I'll be really nervous before our 30min presentation, but it will definitely be worth doing. The paper and the presentation will both be really valuable additions to my resume and are things that frequently come up in the selection criteria for the sorts of jobs I am interested in.

Tomorrow it is 3 weeks until I zoom to the other side of the world to play with cheetahs. There is still quite a lot to do before I go, but I also intend to really enjoy some relaxing time with my family and friends. I'm going to start with a sleep-in tomorrow and see how we go from there.

Saturday, 1 February 2014

A devil of a job

I've only got two days of work with the devil program left before my contract runs out. This time there isn't going to be a last minute contract extention. I really am going to be leaving the devil program after all this time. It feels very surreal. Obviously I want to be going to Africa next month and having adventures, but I'm going to miss the devils and my friends at work.

I honestly think that leaving the devil program now will be a good thing for my career. It means that I have to expand my horizons and look for something different rather than staying in a job that is comfortable, but usually not very challenging. The experiences I've had in my time with the devil program have been amazing and rewarding and I'm leaving the program without any bitterness. Not that I've enjoyed every day I've spent at work or enjoyed dealing with some of the more difficult people I've worked with (because I really, really haven't - as most of you know from my work rants), but it has been a good job. I have been in the amazing position of interacting with an endangered species everyday, and can always be proud of the fact that I've done my part in helping to save the devil.

My job really has been a huge part of my life for the past 3 and a half years, and it seems very strange to be leaving it. The best word for it is surreal. It felt a bit like this when I finished school and again when I graduated from uni (both times), but this seems even stranger. I expect I'll be very emotional saying goodbye to the devils on my last day, but I have every intention of staying involved in the devil program and visiting the devils occassionally.