Back in 1989 I discovered that people would actually pay me to work in the countryside. I could hardly believe my luck – and still can’t. It’s been a great ride, but now, 28 years later I’m going to try something else. Yes, the ‘Virtual Ranger’, my online tag since about 1995, will finally apply.
I’m leaving the Gift to Nature charity after almost exactly two years, to join the Isle of Wight Council, not as a countryside worker or manager this time, but as Communications and Engagement Officer. I’ll be working on press, social media and events, and putting all that writing practice I’ve been getting to good use. A big change? Well, perhaps not as big as you’d think. I do plenty of writing, for Matt and Cat and for the Isle of Wight County Press, alongside promotion and media stuff for Gift to Nature, and also for my clients at Pinkeye Graphics – and apart from a continued enthusiasm for litter picking I don’t do much real live rangering these days.
Of course, I’m very sorry to leave my old career behind, but I’m excited for the new one: it will be exciting – and almost unprecedented – for me to start something entirely new. And I’m not leaving everything – I’ll be able to visit all those wonderful countryside sites and not worry about them. I’ll be donating my old stuff to the G2N shop (like you do, don’t you?). And I will still be volunteering a bit of time now and again, leading some guided walks for the Walking Festival, and maybe even donning the glorious unicorn horn again!