As a forester for some fifty years, I was fortunate enough to be in a profession that provided the opportunity to live and work in a number of countries in Asia, Africa, North America, Australia and Oceania. And although my work in these countries involved forests and trees, I was also extremely interested in the people, particularly those in the rural communities associated with forests. Associated with this was an interest in history, including the history of those countries and people where I was working.
Then in 2007, while working as a forestry consultant for international development agencies and living in Williamsburg, Virginia, in the U.S., I became an interpreter/guide at Jamestown Foundation. This is the complex on the James River in southern Virginia where reproductions of the Jamestown fort, Indian village and ships that carried the first settlers to Jamestown in 1607 are located.
Dressed as a 17th century English sailor, for the next three years, I learned to explain to thousands of tourists and students, about the voyage from England to Jamestown by the three ships, including the conditions on board; how the ships were sailed and navigated, and also how they were defended, particularly against those nasty Spanish. We then also explained the subsequent situation for some years after their arrival and how the settlers lived and died; mainly the latter. The ships were working replicas that we also learned to sail.