Barry’s first guiding placement was at Phinda’s private family camp. “It was an interesting challenge being the only guide, without a tracker, for this entire camp,” Barry explained. “You’re on your own, so you have to learn quickly and fulfil all of the roles that a tracker would usually assist with. I enjoyed it, but again, I got to the stage, after a year, where I wanted something more challenging.”
The universe works in mysterious ways and once Barry started guiding full-time at Forest Lodge, a chance meeting would later change the course of his life. He guided a family from New Jersey and they immediately bonded. So much so, that the Laurners wanted to play a positive role in Barry’s future as a form of gratitude for the unforgettable wildlife experience he gave them.
Barry’s newfound guardian angels generously chose to sponsor his college education and so, in 2013, Barry temporarily left &Beyond to enroll at the Southern African Wildlife College. He successfully completed a Higher Certificate in Nature Conservation Implementation and Leadership, which would arm him for his next self-driven career change, thanks to the Laurners.
For the next few years, Barry continued guiding (at &Beyond Ngala Safari Lodge, Phinda Zuka Lodge and Phinda Homestead) and steadily worked his way up from Assistant Head Ranger to Head Ranger at Forest Lodge.