For eleven years, Fortune Mutiti served as a freelance safari guide throughout southern & east Africa. To be a successful safari guide one needs to have great vision. He has to be able to scan the environment, assess the best path and be unwavering in his decisions. It seems that Fortune was born with these essential skills which have served him to not only be a successful safari guide, but to negiotiate the journey of his own life.
When Fortune was young, his family used to vacation at Lake Kariba, in north-west Zimbabwe. He loved it there and dreamed that when he was older he would work there. He spent his youth traveling with his father who worked in the mining industry. Fortune attended thirteen different schools before he graduated from high school. With all this travel, Fortune realized his dream of working at Lake Kariba was starting to expand. As he experienced the different locales and tribes of Africa, he realized that Kariba wasn’t enough, he wanted to see more of Africa.
To make this dream a reality, Fortune studied and soon received his Learner Professional Hunting and Guiding License with the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Management of Zimbabwe. This license was his breakthrough into the guiding fraternity and it was in Kariba where he got his start.
Fortune soon began spending as long as ten weeks at a time conducting tours. He served as a Balloon Pilot, overland guide and learned all the preparation and teamwork it takes to have a successful tour. As he was living his dream of traveling Africa, he was also meeting people from all over the world. He loved hearing their stories of where they lived and how they lived. Fortune again started looking at his own life and realized he wanted to expand his horizons yet again. He wanted to travel the world.
Fortune pondered this notion, how could he make this dream of seeing the world come true? He found his answer in an education. So for seven years, Fortune saved his money. This was not an easy time for Fortune. He was so committed to attending college that he put off marriage and lived out of his backpack. At times friends would entice him with a weekend of fun, but if he didn’t have the spending money, Fortune would say no. He was committed to his dream of an education. At the age of thirty-four, Fortune entered college. He attended the Polytechnic of Namibia majoring in Travel & Tourism Management. While in school, he learned of an opportunity to work abroad for the Walt Disney Corporation. This opportunity would give him the chance to live in the United States for a year. He applied and soon after he found himself in Florida working as a Savanna Guide at the Walt Disney World Resorts, Animal Kingdom Lodge.
With this year assignment complete, Fortune finds himself at another plateau. At this vantage point he is now again surveying his life for the next path to take. He is looking back at all he has learned being a guide. He’s experienced every aspect of and knows what is needed for a successful safari. He enjoys working with guests but also understands the permits, the logistics, and payroll; all the behind the scenes activities to make a flawless experience. He is looking ahead, wondering which country would he like to work in next and figuring out what kind of things he would like to do.
Taking into account how he got to where he is and looking forward to where he wants to go, education again seems to be the answer for Fortune. He is now looking into applying to school to obtain a Masters in Business Administration (MBA). He envisions himself working the business side of tourism with a large corporation so he can see even more of the world. Many opportunities await him as he embarks on this journey. Where and what will happen, he doesn’t know. But his name is Fortune, isn’t it.
SOUL Survey Questions
- How do you stay focused and motivated?
Formulate your goal and stick by it. It’s not going to be easy. Think realistically and follow it through.
- How do you deal with naysayers?
Challenge them. Ask them “What else would you want me to do?” You’ll know if they want to really help you by their answer. They may even present you with some good alternatives.
- How do you blur the lines between work and play?
It is imperative to find a job that you enjoy doing. We spend much of our productive adult life at work so you might as well enjoy it. My job is essentially an adventurous lifestyle.