Hey, guys. So I have been reflecting on my experience in Africa for quite some time now, but haven´t really found the words to describe it. I am not sure this entry can do it justice, but I hope it will give you a brief glimpse of the beauty of the African bush and its impact on me. So, what did I actually do in Africa? Well, I spent two months immersed in the beauty of the natural world in South Africa and Botswana doing a Field Guide Level 1 Training followed by another month of working towards the Back-Up Trails guide certificate. Sounds quite technical, but I´ll be honest it was one of the most beautiful times in my life. Not only because I learned a ton of things, that still blow my mind, but also because it made me feel at home. Yes, we were living in tents, sleeping on mattresses on the floor in a few of the camps. Yes, we got up at 5 in the morning every day with few exceptions and yes, there were tons of little beautiful creatures crawling all over the place. I loved it. All of it. I loved the simplicity and the intensity. I loved the community, so much that I was literally bubbling over with joy. I loved learning all the fascinating details about nature and earth...the place we call home. I began feeling the peace of life and took in the calming energy, that engulfed me. It was also incredibly beautiful to see what nature does to other human beings. The bush really made me feel a part of the whole. We are not separate from everything around us (and I´ll come back to that later) and seeing ourselves as disconnected from nature and other beings only creates huge unnecessary amounts of tension. Since I was living completely immersed in this place of wild nature, it was inevitable that I would come into a deeper contact with the concept of conservation. It´s easy to advertise protecting the natural world from afar and forget about it after a day, because it does not seem to be the most pressing thing right in front of our doors. Additionally, there is so much advertising for literally everything going on, that it is easy to get distracted or over-think every little thing around us. At least that´s what I feel, let me know if you feel differently about that. :) So, being in this environment, breathing what feels like the wildest type of air and listening to lions call at night, I started falling. Falling into what felt like nature itself. That might sound overly dramatic, but it is not. Africa kind of lit a fire that has always been there, that I am sure is burning in all of us, one way or another. I realised that working to conserve nature is all well and good, but we really need to start within ourselves. Only then do we realise, what we are doing. When we find that spot of connection to the world around us, it is not possible to hurt anything living in that world any more. We realise, we are a part of this and hurting it, hurts ourselves too. I´ll let that sink in. :) This is also a realisation, that has really asserted itself since I am back here in civilization. I realised how sensitive I am, in fact we all are, we just ignore it, because sometimes it is just all to much. But when we ignore it, we act blindly...we drown it with something from the outside. This is all part of our consumer society, which is eventually the cause of the numerous problems at hand including the large scale destruction of our natural world. So, to close the circle, conservation as well as all problem solving begins within ourselves. We need to find peace within ourselves to create peace around us...everything else is not sustainable and will break down eventually. I might write a second part on my travels to Africa, that focuses more on the actual course and its impact on my art. Let me know if you are interested in that. :) Thanks for reading!