I would like you to meet someone. Honestly, the truth is I don’t know their name but this boy is a Samburu cowherd who lives in the middle of Africa. He is the breadwinner of the family and works alone every day with his herd of cows, each of which weighs almost ten times more than him. Each day he guides them past the hyenas in search of grass to feed them. I remember how much I was impacted as I watched him sitting there while his cows grazed, and I couldn’t help but think what I was doing at his age. And you, what were you doing at his age?

I’ll tell you what I was doing. At that age I spent hours sitting in front of the television in a living room on the fifth floor of an apartment building in a big city. Aside from cartoons, what I watched the most of was nature documentaries. Documentaries that showed incredibly remote places, with animals that seemed more fantasy than reality. Through that tv screen I discovered such people as Félix Rodriguez de la Fuente, Jane Goodall, David Attenborugh, and many more.

From my room I began to dream of traveling someday to those places, to climb mountains, explore the Amazon, enter into the taiga, and to see wildebeests and zebras dodge the crocodiles as they cross that famous river.

That sparked something in me, and, although I spent my childhood surrounded by cars and tall buildings, in my head I was always flying over a sea of Amazonian trees, running along the steppes of Mongolia, or diving with the humpback whales in the middle of the ocean.

As time went by, this spark burned brighter and brighter inside of me. I was learning more and discovering more places through books and television until the day came where I couldn’t stand it any longer: I got my backpack and I set out to find them myself.

And that’s how I landed in a wooden cabin in the middle of a coniferous forest deep in Canada. There I met a couple that had left everything behind to live there. They showed me how to enjoy nature with tranquility and thanks to them I was able to walk under the canopy of the giant taiga forest, follow the tracks of a black bear or watch beavers build a dam between the great North American lakes.

I also met a man in the mountains who showed me how to climb them using my head in addition to my heart. Thanks to him, I was able to climb the Alps and contemplate the marvelous views from their summits. Seen from above, my problems seemed so much smaller and nature seemed so much more majestic.

Continuing to travel I managed to cross the equator to find myself with a shamaness in the African savanna. Every night she would enter into a kind of trance and tell stories nonstop. I couldn’t stop listening. On more than one occasion, she mentioned how she disliked that there were places that were so touristic that they bothered the animals and destroyed the environment. She took me to see those wildebeests and zebras dodging crocodiles as they crossed the river Mara, just as I had dreamed of so many times as a child. Yes little guy, you made it!

On another occasion I found myself with my friends deep in the Mediterranean scrub of southern Spain. Experiencing a moment close to nature is incredible, but sharing it with friends is priceless. There we were, nobody saying a word, with my heart beating out of my chest, watching from a distance some of the few Iberian lynxes that still exist on this planet. I still get chills up my spine thinking of it…

Thanks to these people, these places, and so many others, I am now a person who is more connected with the world and my surroundings. But this isn’t just a personal change for me. All of these experiences have allowed me to develop a special sensitivity for nature and have left me with the feeling that I have to share this with the world. In reality, it didn’t just allow me to fulfill my childhood dreams, no, it made me grow into the person I am today. It impacted me so profoundly that I dedicate my professional life to show people, in an ethical and responsible way, the wonders of the world that surrounds us and furthermore, that everything in it, including us, is connected.

Well, after having been in so many places, would you like to know where is my favorite place on Earth? It is very clear for me, my favorite place on Earth is the nature within us, it doesn’t matter where.

  • Alberto Parada
  • : I am a biologist specialized in conservation education who has been dreaming of living wild adventures since I was a child. I work connecting people with nature so that they can know its wonders and have a greater environmental awareness. And I not only do it in person but also through social networks, especially on my YouTube channel, called Bearded Adventures, in which I do environmental education through my travels in search of incredible landscapes and wildlife. I am also embarked on several wildlife conservation projects in Spain.
  • : https://www.youtube.com/aventurasbarbudas
  • : https://www.facebook.com/aventurasbarbudas/
  • : https://twitter.com/AventurBarbudas
  • : https://www.instagram.com/aventuras_barbudas/
  • : Everyone should visit nature (which actually is my site) because exploring it makes you a more sensitive and connected person with your surroundings and that will help you to be a person with greater awareness for other people, other places and ultimately our entire planet.
  • : adult_(19_and_over_as_of_31st_december_2019)
  • : This is the first time this story has been published.

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