Thank you Nicole for sending this to me – too perfect.
I had written out a blog post yesterday, but I decided to delete it all and start fresh. My thoughts have completely changed. It’s amazing what a group of motivated & supportive people can do to your mind, body, and soul.
I didn’t make the Top 3 cut for the Best Jobs in the World Contest for Wildlife Caretaker. Unfortunately, that means that the WIN A FREE TRIP TO AUSTRALIA contest is no longer valid – I appreciate all those who entered though. Needless to say, I was devastated, confused and upset when I didn’t see my name on the list. I don’t think I’ve ever worked so diligently and hard in my life as I did on my campaign for Wildlife Caretaker. Sleep and food came second while I put my WHOLE SELF into being the best candidate for Wildlife Caretaker. My friends, family members, and even strangers, all stepped up to the plate and helped me achieve GREAT things. The day after I found out I wasn’t in the contest, I deemed it to be my sole day of ‘sulking’ and took a break from social media/interaction. Yes, I did my fair share of crying, but I also produced a number of smiles from comments/messages/texts my friends were delivering to me. Life has an incredible way of balancing everything out 😦 / 🙂
Throughout the past 3 weeks of campaigning, I have received numerous messages from people I haven’t talked to in years. Their kind and sincere words of appreciation/love/inspiration/hope hit me hard. Being flooded with messages like that changes a person : in the best way imaginable. Not only do YOU know that YOU can do what you put your heart into, but then you find out there’s a whole ARMY of people behind you supporting you?! It only helps fuel my flame to achieve amazing things in this life of mine.
I can’t even begin to describe everything I accomplished over the past 2 weeks. From feeding sea turtles behind the scenes at Sea World wearing my CocoRoo kangaroo costume, to volunteering with kids at the YMCA Healthy Kids Day, to cleaning Compton Creek with Heal the Bay, to touring the Australian Consulate in Los Angeles, to getting a behind the scenes tour of the Wildlife sector of the Pasadena Humane Society…gosh this list could go on forever!!! Even though I didn’t win my dream job, I wouldn’t change this experience for the world.
This contest has allowed me immensely grow as a person, and has helped me understand what I am truly passionate about in this life. Various family members and close friends relayed to me that it was great seeing me in this contest, because my passions became so much more apparent to them. I am not meant to sit behind a desk 8 hours a day doing a job I’m not invested in – I am ready to take the reins and find something out there in this world that would benefit from my talents and passions. How I will find that job? Not entirely sure yet, but if you ever come across something that might be a good fit/connection PLEASE comment on my blog and let me know.
One of my fellow Shortlisted 150 Finalists created a Facebook Group to connect us all together today – Thanks Emily! Even though at times during the contest I felt some of the other Wildlife Caretaker finalists were my archnemesis (thanks to my competitve gene), they are actually amazing individuals whom I have no doubt we will become very close. Thank you Tourism Australia for connected 150 passionate individuals from across the globe, who share the same love of travel and adventure! A couple other Finalists and I are hoping to plan a trip to Vegas soon (and my blow-up kangaroo will definitely be packed in my suitcase)!
I can’t move forward without giving recognition to these individuals who helped make this campaign phenomenally amazing: My Mother, My Aunt Brenda, and my Aunt Linda. These three women worked day in and day out, just as hard as I did, to try and make this dream of mine come true. I don’t know how I will ever thank you enough for everything you selflessly donated for this cause. I already had ‘tokens’ of appreciation picked out for each one of you that I could have purchased with the prize money if I had won. You all mean the world to me, and I am so grateful to have such fantastic female role models in my life. I appreciate you.
I want to express my gratitude of thanks to the 1,000’s of friends/family members who helped out on this campaign as well. For each person who shared my contest Facebook page, highlighted my journey on your blog, donated your talents (music/drawing/etc) towards the campaign, Tweeted/ReTweeted me, gave me a shout out on Instagram, took a picture with one of my posters, wrote a letter of support, sent me encouraging words, and I could go on and on… I AM ETERNALLY GRATEFUL! You never really know who has your back until you need their help. My heart grew 100x bigger with the overwhelming amount of love I received from each and every one of you. Even during the campaign some of your messages would bring me to tears of happiness. I honestly am surrounded by the most wonderful people on the planet – thank you for believing in me.
After the Top 3 were announced, my inbox filled with messages from my companions. Everyone alludes that even though I didn’t win, they know I would only amount to great things in the future. They see the passion, the dedication, and the strong will to succeed. For people to have faith in me to achieve amazing things in this life is a remarkable feeling. If you are one of those people who sent me a message of hope, please know that I am so humbled and honored to have you in my life.
In conclusion (if you’ve made it this far thank you for continuing to read this beast of a post), many people are asking me “WHAT’S NEXT?! WHAT GREAT ADVENTURE DO YOU HAVE PLANNED NOW?!” To be honest, this contest helped ignite the flame inside me that’s been dormant for quite some time. This flame represents the determination to pursue my passions in life. But, sometimes life creates what you call ‘roadblocks’ – placing your dreams just out of reach for the time being. Well, I am ready to demolish those roadblocks. I’m in the drivers seat of a hover craft (I know very high-tech), and I’m ready to fly over those roadblocks in pursuit of my dreams while I explore new opportunities just waiting to be discovered! Stay tuned…because the journey I’m about to take will definitely be something you won’t want to miss out on.
10 Mile Hike.
YMCA Healthy Kids Day
Star ECO-Station in Los Angeles
Fire Department Tour!
Kangaroo Or Bust Campaign Gathering!
Exchanging deep conversations with an orca.
Volunteering at my local YMCA Healthy Kids Day as CocoRoo!
One of the coolest animals I’ve ever fed!
Kangaroos like carrots.
San Diego Zoo trainers support Chanel!
Feeding sea turtles at Sea World.
Dolphin show at Sea World!
High-fiving sea stars is a common occurrence 😉
Meeting an Australian Bearded Dragon named Pancake.
On a dive in the Great Barrier Reef.
Hiking to a waterfall and taking nature shots for the campaign!