How one Google search changed my life...
It's easier to continue with a life you might consider comfortable, than deal with the uncertainty of disruptions. I had drifted down this path that most would consider successful. But for me, I spent one too many mornings unhappy, dreading the day ahead. I literally felt like I was living the dream life of somebody else and I kept asking myself, "how did I get here?" I needed a change, but what?
Once I was ready to take the leap, that's where the Google search came to be. "Volunteering with Manatees". Why? It was the first thing I was ever passionate about - saving manatees from extinction.
Fast-forward 7 months, after quitting my job, leaving NYC and traveling for the first 3 months of my "freedom", I found myself at Wildtracks. I remember walking in to chaos at breakfast and not knowing what to expect. After a few days of getting acclimated, I was asked if I'd like to go meet Annie, a one year old howler monkey, in the nursery. I thought "What am I doing meeting a baby monkey? I came here for manatees...", but of course I kept this to myself. I can still remember the first time Annie climbed into my lap and purred. It was like nothing I've ever experienced in my life. And from that moment I knew, my life would never be the same....
I found out after that initial meeting, that I'd be in the Nursery Unit, caring for a mixed troop of two male spider monkeys and two female howler monkeys, as well as sharing the care of two adult howler monkey troops preparing for their release back into the wild. Letting go of what I imagined my life at Wildtracks would be with manatees was an adjustment, but I would not change a single thing about my time. After two months, I was getting close to when I would have to say goodbye, but then I asked to extend, not once, but twice. I left Wildtracks almost five months ago and I still think about the monkeys I cared for in the Nursery every day - Annie, Kam, Cas and Anerie (they have my heart). Every decision I make is, at least a little bit, impacted by those crazy little monkeys.
My time at Wildtracks was by far the most challenging, but incredibly rewarding experiences of my life and I know I will be back there again. I hope that in sharing my story there might be at least one person who I touch that will realize it is never too late to adjust your path and find happiness again. It is not easy, but it is worth it. Trust me!
Published by: Zoe Walker at 2017-01-03 07:26:03 [Link to this article]
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