Welcome, everyone, to the first episode in the Nepal: Coexisting with Giants series. I’m your host, Brooke Mitchell-Norman, conservation biologist and world traveler.
Let’s go back to before COVID was a part of our lives. Picture the last time you purchased tickets to a far-off destination. Reminisce on the emotions that flooded you – first exhilaration and pure excitement (you probably posted on Instagram or Twitter that you just booked your flights), and then a few days later, the second wave of emotions hit you – slight nervousness, a little bit of anxiety preparing for visas, double-checking your passport is up to date and has enough pages to enter the country, and on and on.
At this point, we usually turn to the internet to answer those other burning questions. Where is the best wildlife? What tourism companies follow conservation guidelines? What should I wear? What should I not wear? How do I ask, “where is the bathroom”?
Can you relate?
When the internet doesn’t provide the answers you’re looking for, where do you turn? Your network. Who’s been there and will be open to giving you the advice you’re searching for?
This was today’s guest for me. In this episode, I’m chatting with Sam Helle who is a PhD student and has been studying human-wildlife conflict in Nepal for multiple years. She and I originally connected during a call to learn more about social norms in Nepal, and after chatting with her for just a couple of minutes, I knew I needed to share her story with all of you.
She sets the foundation for my understanding of conflict in the area and how amazingly dedicated the local communities are to protecting their wildlife, even when it causes mortality and hardship amongst their towns and villages. I’m so grateful Sam and I chatted before my plane took off for Nepal and I highly recommend listening to the full episode to really set you up for the rest of the series.
Sam is a fun, vibrant person and we had so much recording this for you all. It was a true happy hour chat with lots of fun drinks and honest conversation.
Don’t forget to follow the show wherever you’re listening. If you’re really liking this travel series format, please let me know by messaging on Instagram (@Rewildology) or emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org
And now, onto my conversation with Sam.