Seven Life Lessons For Seven Seasons With ISV

by isvolunteers on Sunday, 19 April 2015

One of ISV’s longest serving Tour and Project Leaders in Southern Africa, Gareth Webb, provides insight into life on the field with ISV and the most valuable lessons learned from his seven traveling seasons…

Talking to a little girl in Langa Township, she was super happy to find out I could speak some Xhosa. (c) Gareth Webb

Most people I know work a nine to five job where they keenly await their Friday afternoons and bemoan the Monday blues – but throughout the past seven seasons with ISV, not once have I ever woken up dreading going to work.

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Selfie under a waterfall while Kloofing in Blyde River Canyon. (c) Gareth Webb

This could be because I wake up in some amazing locations, like the sunrise over the Indian Ocean in Mozambique and the sounds of birds chirping in Kruger National Park. Or it could be because each day is an adventure. Every morning I wake knowing that I’m going to be doing something incredible with some incredible people, and that the day will be filled with laughter, smiles, and good times.

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Standing with one foot in Zambia and one foot in Zimbabwe. (c) Gareth Webb

My friends often tell me that I have the best job in the world (my Facebook feed is filled with photos of me jumping off cliffs in the largest green canyon in the world, the Blyde River Canyon, or surfing the best waves in the world in Jeffrey’s Bay). I tend to agree with them!

Seven seasons since starting with ISV, I’ve realized that I’ve never been bored. There are too many good memories, too many good times and too many good experiences for that thought to have crossed my mind. Have you ever heard anyone complain that they’re having too much of a good time? No? Me neither.

I’ve had the privilege to lead groups on a variety of environmental and community based projects, multiple adventure tours, and also the Wild Africa Excursions in Zambia and Botswana. You would think I have seen it all, but I’m always surprised by how different the experience is with every group I lead. Each group has their own unique qualities that open my eyes to something new.

To share some of the wisdom that I’ve acquired throughout my journey as a leader with ISV, I have written down seven life lessons for each of the seven travel seasons that I’ve been a part of!

  1. Everyone and everything deserves your respect.

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    White water rafting the might Zambezi River in Zambia. (c) ISV

  2. Challenge your fears! You are capable of a lot more than you think.
  3. Possessions in your hand will never be as valuable as peace in your heart.
  4. Everyone has a story. Everyone has a past. Stop and listen and you may learn something.
  5. Do not pass judgment too quickly or too freely.
  6. Don’t just look at your feet. Stand up, lift your head and take time to appreciate your surroundings.
  7. Approach all experiences with an open mind.

Leading for ISV has its challenges, but there are endless rewards. I have witnessed sights that I could never have dreamed of. I have met people that have inspired me and most importantly I get to do something I love. So thank you ISV and thank you to the hundreds of volunteers that I’ve had the privilege leading across the beautiful country I call home, South Africa. You should know that the person I am today is because of you all.

Much love and respect,

Gareth Webb

To learn more about ISV’s amazing staff and our programs, please visit our website and enquire today. 

A lioness basking in the morning light in Kruger National Park. (c) Gareth Webb

 

 

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