The Itinerant ZooKeeper

The Itinerant ZooKeeper

The Itinerant ZooKeeper more or less takes over where Zoo News Digest leaves off and so it is well worth going back there and reading that before you start here.

Broadly speaking all zookeepers are just a bit itinerant. They move on for the chance of promotion, for a change of location and the whole variety of reasons that people in every walk of life move. Zookeepers are just that bit different though in that they will take a drop in salary (and sometimes a big drop) if it means that they can work with a species of animal they aspire to work with or to work within a zoo whose contribution to conservation they admire. With ZooKeepers it is not all about money.

Moves really need to be thought out. I believe that three years in the first zoo is essential. The first year you learn. The second year you work and learn by the mistakes you make. The third year you have the experience and, if you are lucky, few or no mistakes are made. Learning is ongoing. Subsequent moves need careful consideration. Two to three years in each location is wise. Move too soon and by the time you attend your third interview you will be looked on as unlikely to stay and drop down the list of candidates for consideration.

But in the context of this hub the Itinerant ZooKeeper is me. I chose to drop out and to start travelling, to see the world. I had no particular aim in mind, no plans, no direction (take a look at my HubPage Profile). I was broken hearted and just a bit disillusioned. My 'non plan' was to go with the flow but to use zoos as my general direction for travel. I wasn't species spotting or trying to stick my nose in anywhere but observing and learning.

I like zoos. I enjoy visiting them. I even benefit and get something out of visiting the really bad ones because I learn.

Zoos are not though the be all and end all of my life because I am interested in so much. I love people watching and I like meeting new people. I don't befriend all. Some people I know and 'love' instantly but others I want to lose instantly. I like listening to stories and I like telling them too, preferably over a few beers. In my journey I have met some truly wonderful people and some horrible ones too.

Women? They have been an important part of my journey though did not initially figure very high. I was with my wife for thirty years and married for twenty nine. During that time I was a hundred percent faithful. There were several temptations along the way but I never gave in to them. After the divorce it was a bit difficult to break out of the mindset. When I did I really put the boat out and have made love to many and fallen in love with a few. I have never deliberately hurt anybody but have been hurt by some.

It is all about learning the lessons that life wants to teach you. I have learned and continued to learn.

Stemming back to Zoo News Digest and the Zoo News BlogI have always written about the other parts of my life when writing about zoos. Initially I wrote for zoo people and very much for myself. I wrote for my children and I wrote for my friends. That is how it remains. I devote about an hour or more of every day to writing in the Itinerant ZooKeeper journal. I am frank and honest because there I am writing only for me. Bits and pieces do move over to the blog but the Itinerant ZooKeeper remains a closed book for now

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Along the way

On my journey I continued to the best of my ability to get ZooNews Digest out every week. Most weeks I managed. As was my way I continued to include what I was doing, my blog, and as I moved on my readers traveled with me in my words. I was frank, sometimes too frank at times. At others I was a little secretive hiding notes of incidents to myself within my words.

Somewhere along the way I was perhaps too descriptive and hurt people I wrote about and so the blog shrank so that details were scarce. I never wanted to hurt anybody. The blog continued at length though and still does. There is rarely a day that I do not write about places I have been and the people I have met, talked to or loved. At times staid and at others X rated.

Even today with being so careful I still manage to hurt people. A couple of years ago I stuck a few Halloween photographs on the internet. It can do no harm I thought. But it can if someone in the photographs claims to have never gone out on Halloween and is spotted. If you lie you get caught out. There is no hiding place on the internet.

So that is it really 'The Itinerant Zookeeper' is my very personal blog, my life, my memories, my book as yet unpublished. Maybe one day. Or perhaps I will work on it and change all names to protect the innocent.

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Comments 8 comments

sord87 6 years ago

Stick on zoos it Peter ,it seems you love this very much,somehow its already benefits you right-God bless you always!

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Peter Dickinson 6 years ago from South East Asia Author

sord87 - Thank you. True enough the cause of good zoos is the closest of my interests.

H P Roychoudhury profile image

H P Roychoudhury 6 years ago from Guwahati, India

A man can love another human but to love an animal other than a man is something different and requires an inborn quality of love.

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Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

I thoroughly enjoy reading about your way of thinking and feeling. I also could feel the heartache and heartbleed. Why things have to happened where decent people get hurt, I'll never know. I love zoos and the most impressive I ever been to were in Singapore. I had a night safary and I'll never forget. The Nuremberg zoo is also lovely but I am also partial to it.

Wish you a happy holiday and all the very best for the New Year.

Looking forward to more of your writing.

Peter Dickinson profile image

Peter Dickinson 6 years ago from South East Asia Author

H P Roychoudhury - Thank you. We as humans have to recognise that we and all animals share a common ancestor and we have all been on earth the same length of time. Man then is not superior but is equal in terms of right to abode.

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Peter Dickinson 6 years ago from South East Asia Author

Hello, hello - Life is all about learning. Yes I have had hurt and heartache but now I am glad that I did. As to Singapore Zoo...yes, one of the most beautiful I have visited. Thank you for your comments.

JBSea 4 years ago

Very inspiring Peter. Keep up the good work :)

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Peter Dickinson 4 years ago from South East Asia Author

Thanks JBSea

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