Adventure is not an option for Greg Snell, it’s a necessity.
So it only seems right that the 27-year-old from Oshawa, Ont., who applied along with 330,000 other people, has won his dream job – one of the Best Jobs in the World, actually – as a wildlife caretaker in South Australia.
“I grew up reading books,” Snell said. “Having more of an imagination through the printed page gave me this wanderlust to see the world.”
Snell and six others beat out 18 finalists in the competition run by Tourism Australia. During seven days of interviews Down Under he answered questions with a three-metre long python around his neck, wrote compelling blog posts and shot a video about swimming with sea lions. On Kangaroo Island (home to 4,000 people, 100,000 kangaroos and approximately 1,000,000 wallabies), he gave a professional tour, planted trees and, using radio antennas, tracked hidden toy echidnas – all of which he shared online and on social media.
“They’re looking for somebody who can engage, not only travellers looking to do a working visa in Australia, but the world,” he said.
On Dec. 1, Snell starts his job as South Australia’s wildlife caretaker, which involves swimming with great white sharks off Port Lincoln and the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia, as well as sea lions, waking up kangaroos and ensuring koalas are sleeping their regular 20 hours a day.
It also comes with $100,000 – half as salary, half for living expenses.
This international and highly publicized competition is a sequel to one held in 2009, where a British man beat out 35,000 others to secure a job that involved promoting the Great Barrier Reef.
Snell has been travelling for the better part of a decade, including his own country. He has visited every province at least once, and has driven from Toronto to Golden, B.C. eight times. He specialized in adventure tourism business operations at school.
“Canada has so much to offer the traveller,” he said.
Snell, who spent July 1 with Canadian friends in Melbourne, mused about the possibility of Canada hosting its own Best Jobs in the World competition. “We’ve got so much diversity from coast to coast.”
As for what happens once his six months tending to Australian wildlife are up, Snell said he hasn’t made firm plans. “I very much have a mantra of living for the moment and dreaming of the future,” he said, “and right now I’m fully immersed in this moment.”