We’re stoked to welcome our next Global Brand Warrior: Andrew Macdonald, Scotsman, Wildlife Photographer and Safari Guide! Andrew is a newbie yogi and he’ll be documenting and sharing his journey into the yoga world via Warrior Addict!! We can’t wait to see how he progresses. Check out Andrew’s story below
1. Andrew, how was life growing up on the Scottish borders?
I loved my childhood in the Scottish Borders. We were free to roam the countryside. Sometimes we would see how far away we could get from the village and still make it back for our curfew time. It was like growing up in a bubble, so far removed from the big bad world. I was also lucky to grow up in a world without wifi and mobile phones, I believe this made childhood more creative.
2. How did you first get into Photography? And how did this become your career?
I've always loved photography. I remember being amazed with my parents copies of National Geographic. In 2012/13 I traveled around the world for a year and on my return my photography got great praise. I also fell in love with Africa so I returned to South Africa in 2015 and qualified as a safari guide. I worked as a guide for a short time in both South Africa and Botswana. By now my passion for wildlife photography was huge and I was offered 3 weeks of photography work in Zambia. Just before leaving Botswana for Zambia I was involved in a fire and lost 90% of my belongings. After a lot of drama I was able to get home to Scotland to regroup. In 2016 I finally managed to get back on the road and I headed to Zambia for my 3 weeks of photography. This clearly went well as in 2017 I was taken on full time and I now travel around their luxury camps in Zambia and Madagascar as full time photographer and videographer. I also spend around 6 month of the year living in Cape Town and I have now had some work published with Nat Geo.
3. Tell us more about what Safari Guiding entails. Any comedy stories to tell?
Safari guiding is amazing. I love it. There is something hugely rewarding about taking guests out into the wild and introducing them to Mother Nature. To be present when people see their first ever lion, elephant, zebra, you name it, it was an honour. I have many funny stories from my times in Africa. One day I capsized my canoe and when I turned it over and jumped back in I found I was now sharing it with a snake, I soon got back out. I remember a black rhino charged at our vehicle, (they are notoriously bad tempered). The rhino stopped just next to the vehicle and one of the guests basically ended up sitting on my knee. I've drowned vehicles in rivers and submerged them in swamps and dry river beds. There is never a dull moment in the bush. I've had many close calls with elephant charges and also had a lion try to kill a horse less than 10 metres in front of me....I soon woke up from that siesta.
4. You’re a keen trail runner, but what are the limitations/obstacles when you are away working?
In Cape Town I go to the gym 6 days a week but it's also a city in an incredibly beautiful location so I can easily get my trail run fix. However, when i'm in Zambia, trail running is not an option. The risk of disturbing a pride of lions with cubs or a herd of elephants or buffalo makes it too dangerous. That said, my exercise is limited to a small space with no equipment to use apart from, ironically, a yoga mat that is supplied in the camps. Until now I have always used these mats for sit ups only.
5. Has the Covid-19 Pandemic had a significant impact on your work?
Covid-19 has had a massive effect on my work. Tourism all over the world is basically non existent. When Covid really hit I was working in Zambia and then going on to my home in Cape Town. Two days before my flights to South Africa they were canceled and I managed to get onto the last Emirates flight out of Zambia and eventually back to Scotland. That was in March and originally it was expected i'd be here for a month or 2 but here we are in June and it looks like I will be here a while.
6. You’ve thought about taking up yoga for a while, what was holding you back?
Yes, thats correct, I have thought about taking up yoga for quite a while now. Ironically it's COVID-19 that has given me the time to start my journey, along with some gentle persuasion from Jacob. The main thing holding me back was time. I wasn't prepared to give up my gym or trail running time to make time for yoga. I didn't realise how intense and rewarding a yoga session could be.
7. What do you expect to get out of a regular yoga practice?
From my regular yoga practice I hope to really connect with my body. My flexibility has already improved and despite the intensity of the class it also feels like you are being kind to your body as opposed to a punishing trail run or people kicking you up and down a football pitch. I hope that yoga compliments the other types of exercise I do.
8. Please leave our followers with some ‘words of wisdom’
If you are thinking about yoga I advise you to go for it. Don't be put off if you are not extremely fit or flexible. If someone as stiff as me can get involved then anyone can!!
For more about Andrew, you can check out his Global Brand Warrior page here