There is no doubt about it, living in the jungle is a lifestyle and one that always takes some adjusting. But it is a lifestyle that is rewarding in every way, both by the carefree nature it encourages and the minimalist habits it encompasses. Here at Jalova our staff and volunteers are pro at this lifestyle and we have some tips to help you get the most out of your jungle living!
1: Come with an open mind
A new environment and a new place means that new and exciting experiences await you! Keeping an open mind and being accepting of your experiences as they come means that you will be able to make the most out of what awaits you. Be careful not to fight your experiences, make the most of them! You’ll get the most out of your time if you let the adventure guide you!
2: Don’t fight the mosquitos
You’re living in a tropical jungle, which means there are going to be mosquitos – and a lot of them! While insect repellent may help stave off the masses, you’ll still get a few bites. So cover up and accept the fact you’re going to get bitten, just remember not to scratch!
3: Embrace the weather
Rain, sunshine, winds and storms, you’ll experience it all here in the jungle. Remember that the rain isn’t cold, the wind provides a breeze on that hot day and the storms are something breathtaking to watch.
4: Love the mud and disregard the sand
Having mud is healthy for our forest and makes for something satisfying to walk through! You never know what you’ll find living in there too! Also learn to accept that the fine volcanic sand gets everywhere. If you stop thinking about it, you’ll never know you’re sandy and come to accept that finding sand everywhere is simply a way of living in this tropical lifestyle.
5: Put in the effort to research and buy quality equipment
Everyone who walks through the gates of Jalova will always regret not buying those higher quality binoculars, that rechargeable head torch or those quick dry field pants. When you get your kit list, go through it carefully and in full. Think about what you want to get out of your experience and put in the time to do some research and buy yourself some good quality items. And remember, binoculars are not an optional component of your Jalova kit list!
6: Push yourself but listen to your body and know your limits
The work ay Jalova can be tough, particularly if you have a long hot day on the beach, but that makes it all the more rewarding and satisfying. It’s important to listen to your body and make the most of your rest. If things get too much and you’re exhausted and sore, take that as your cue to spend the afternoon relaxing in a hammock or go to bed early. Jalova provides you with an opportunity to make healthy lifestyle changes but remember not to push it too far.
7: Look for the changes you can add to your everyday life
There are lots of little things that we do around base that you can add to your everyday life once you return home. Things like cooking vegetarian meals and minimising plastic usage are things you’ll learn while at Jalova. Take advantage of your cooking duty days to perfect a few vegetarian meals you like, become aware of what you’re buying so you can minimise your plastic footprint. There are so many little tips and tricks you can learn!
8: Always be open to learning
Everyday is a school day at Jalova! There are always more species to learn and more techniques to perfect. Plus, all the staff are experts in the Jalova wildlife and absolutely love to share their knowledge and talk about their specialties! Take advantage of where you are and never stop trying to learn new things. No one can learn it all and Jalova creates an enriching experience for anyone who’s excited to learn new things!
9: Tuck in your mosquito net and shake your clothes!
Sure you have the net for mosquito protection and we will give you a box to protect your clothes but those creepy crawlies can still get in if you’re not careful! Don’t forget to tuck in your mosquito net when you wake up and when you go to sleep, that way you won’t have any surprises of the scorpion kind when you climb into bed! Shaking out your clothes before you put them on is important as well! A lot of small creatures like dark places to sleep, you never know what’s decided your jacket or shirt is the perfect sleeping place! So always give it a shake first to wake them up before putting it on!
10: Never forget where you are
Jalova is a special place. It’s a beautiful tropical paradise where the jungle meets the beach. It’s teeming with life, so there is always something exciting to see and it welcomes new people from all over the world who share a common love for nature and it’s creatures. Never take for granted where you are, as everyone’s time at Jalova eventually comes to an end. So make the most of those surveys, take a walk on the beach in your spare time and get to know and appreciate the people you are sharing your time with.
Jalova is an amazing place with a unique lifestyle and with these tips in mind, you’ll be sure to make the most of your experience and love every minute of your time with us in this jungle paradise!
By Zaytoen Domingo
Zaytoen Domingo is a content writer and editor based in Cape Town, South Africa. She is currently enrolled in the Masters program in English at the University of the Western Cape. After graduating with an Honours Degree in English and Creative Writing, Zaytoen completed a skills-development program for writers and became an alum of the GVI Writing Academy.
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