I’m a wildlife expert and my commute is taking two steps into a rainforest. This is what


As commutes go, it doesn’t get much easier.

Wildlife expert Ganyah Goldstein’s ‘office’ is just two steps into the rainforest from her research camp.

The 24-year-old qualified as a wildlife biologist from the Royal Veterinary College of London in 2023 and has spent the past few years living in remote areas of the globe, researching wild animals.

She is currently based at a research camp at Sebengau National Park in Borneo, where she works with orangutans. She documents her experiences living in the natural world on TikTok (@ganyahgold), where she’s built up 70,500 followers.

Here, Ganyah reveals the realities of living in the jungle, from falling asleep under ‘thousands of stars’ and eating breakfast with butterflies and lizards, to dealing with painful bites from venomous creepy crawlies. She also recalls animal encounters that ‘changed her forever’.

She documents her experiences living in the natural world on TikTok

Ganyah Goldstein qualified as a wildlife biologist from the Royal Veterinary College of London in 2019 and has spent the past few years living in remote areas of the globe 

Ganyah is currently based at a research camp at Sebengau National Park in Borneo, where she works with orangutans.

She documents her experiences living in the natural world on TikTok

Ganyah is currently based at a research camp at Sebengau National Park in Borneo, where she works with orangutans. She documents her experiences living in the natural world on TikTok

Ganyah, of Canadian and Moroccan descent, told MailOnline Travel that living in the jungle is a ‘dream come true’.

She said: ‘I get to wake up with the calls of gibbons, and the first thing I see when I get out of bed and go outside is blue butterflies and tall green trees.

‘During breakfast, I sometimes see a monitor lizard swimming around.

‘I love the fact that my commute to work is literally taking two steps and I’m in the rainforest. It is very peaceful here, and when you’re not working it is a very relaxing place to live.

‘You also never know how lucky you might get. One morning, you might see a pigtail macaque or a red langar monkey up in the trees.

‘There is also little to no light pollution, so seeing thousands of stars at night or watching the most insane storms is always very exciting.’

She pinpointed two orangutan encounters she had as being among her best jungle moments.

One took place at 5am, with an orangutan called Georgia stopping and looking at her intently.

Ganyah told MailOnline Travel: 'The first thing I see when I get out of bed and go outside is blue butterflies and tall green trees'

Ganyah told MailOnline Travel: ‘The first thing I see when I get out of bed and go outside is blue butterflies and tall green trees’ 

Ganyah said that jungle living is a 'dream come true'

She said Borneo is a 'very peaceful' and 'relaxing' place to live

Ganyah said that jungle living is a ‘dream come true’. She said Borneo is a ‘very peaceful’ and ‘relaxing’ place to live

‘It was that moment I realised we recognised each other as other beings,’ said Ganyah. ‘It was a moment I will remember for the rest of my life.’

The other memorable moment was when a baby orangutan called Gus ate a meal of gelatine bark upside down while staring at her.

‘I lay in my hammock looking up at Gus,’ said Ganyah, ‘and we enjoyed each other’s company for the next 10 minutes.’

One of the moments that Ganyah said ‘changed her life’ was ‘connecting’ with a wild giraffe in Africa.

She recalled: ‘The wildlife professional I was working with had rescued, rehabilitated and released a female giraffe as a baby. Her name was Ayana. Every time we would drive through the game reserve Ayana lived in, she would come running out of nowhere towards us in the vehicle.

‘She looked at me straight in the face and kept getting super close. This happened almost every day for a month. The beauty of an animal remembering a human forever.’

Ganyah had a similar experience while volunteering at a rescue centre in Costa Rica, where she worked with sloths, howler monkeys, spider monkeys, racoons, opossums and kinkajous.

On her last day, as she was cleaning the baby howler monkey’s enclosure, she said the monkey wrapped her legs and arms around her legs and looked up at her.

‘She didn’t let go for at least five minutes. We just looked at each other, and I felt like she knew I was leaving,’ Ganyah said.

Ganyah said: 'I love the fact that my commute to work is literally taking two steps and I'm in the rainforest'

Ganyah said: ‘I love the fact that my commute to work is literally taking two steps and I’m in the rainforest’ 

Ganyah said: 'During breakfast, I sometimes see a monitor lizard swimming around.' She's pictured above hanging her washing out at the research camp

Ganyah said: ‘During breakfast, I sometimes see a monitor lizard swimming around.’ She’s pictured above hanging her washing out at the research camp 

One of the moments that Ganyah said 'changed her life' was 'connecting' with a wild giraffe in Africa called Ayana (above)

Ganyah said there is beauty in 'an animal remembering a human forever'

One of the moments that Ganyah said ‘changed her life’ was ‘connecting’ with a wild giraffe in Africa called Ayana (pictured left). She said there is beauty in ‘an animal remembering a human forever’

Another life-changing moment took place in Uganda, in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, where Ganyah worked with mountain gorillas.

She said: ‘A silverback walked right past my feet. We always have to maintain a distance but when the gorillas chose to walk past you, you have to just stand still. I cried after.

‘I watched these two cheeky gorillas play in the tree, kind of like a tug of war, before one of them fell from about three metres high. You saw how the green leaves below were like cushions when he fell. The mother was nearby and didn’t seem bothered at all, and trusted they would be fine. The next fall, though, the little one ran back into mummy’s arms for comfort.

‘When you watch gorillas, you realise how alike we are.

‘People misunderstand gorillas. They see them as big and scary, I see them as gentle, loving and herbivorous.’

While Ganyah claims she’s not afraid of any animals, she has had some scary experiences, including coming face-to-face with an angry male macaque.

She said: ‘[The macaque] immediately threatened me by opening his mouth and showing me those two huge sharp teeth. I crouched down and hid my face to avoid eye contact and look as non-threatening as possible. Once he moved back, I could slowly move away.’

While Ganyah claims she's not afraid of any animals, she has had some scary experiences, including coming face-to-face with an angry male macaque

While Ganyah claims she’s not afraid of any animals, she has had some scary experiences, including coming face-to-face with an angry male macaque

One life-changing moment for Ganyah was working in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park with mountain gorillas

Gayanah said while some people see gorillas as 'big and scary', she sees them as 'gentle, loving and herbivorous'

One life-changing moment for Ganyah was working in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park with mountain gorillas. While some people see them as ‘big and scary’, she sees them as ‘gentle, loving and herbivorous’

And Ganyah explained that the jungle is not always a bed of roses.

She revealed that she was bitten on the arm by a venomous centipede, with ‘throbbing pain’ from the attack lasting ‘a tortuous two hours’.

Other dangers might include meeting king cobras or ‘a mama sun bear with her cubs’, though ‘both those have a very low probability of happening, because if they hear you, then they will be the ones to run away’.

While living in so many different places, Ganyah has learnt how to pack lightly and advises anyone travelling to the jungle to do the same.

She suggests packing all of your clothes into cubes so you can easily access them while on the move. She advises travellers to bring lots of different brands of mosquito repellant and antihistamines and to invest in ‘high-quality outdoor wear’.

And she adds: ‘Bring a little mood light. I have a sunset lamp that is super lightweight and very quickly makes a room feel good.’

To see more from Ganyah, visit her on TikTok at www.tiktok.com/@ganyahgold, or Instagram at www.instagram.com/gardenofganyah/.





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