- Your Voice
- Your Leaders
- In the Media
- Online Shop
Welcome to Raw Wildlife Encounters! My name is Jessica McKelson and I am the Managing Director of this eco-inspired travel agency.
When I visited Indonesia’s orang-utans ten years ago, it was a major turning point in my life. I knew that there was much work to be done in conserving natural habitats if we were to return and enjoy what took us there in the first place. Witnessing so much destruction first-hand and watching how much influence other countries and international companies were having on Indonesia were real sticking points for me.
I was so affected and moved at a deep level that I decided to make the necessary choices in Australia to allow me to return to Indonesia and contribute to conservation efforts that would ensure its travel destinations remain unique, culturally diverse, and awe-inspiringly beautiful.
My commitment to helping conserve local communities and their natural environments has changed my life. Working alongside key conservation leaders and communities, I am contributing actively to orang-utan conservation, which in turn is helping to conserve the entire ecosystem of the region.
Knowing that my number-one passion is to conserve the orang-utans’ habitats, I decided that Raw Wildlife Encounters (RWE) was the next stepping stone. The decision to form RWE sat with me for quite some time. At the age of 26, founding a travel agency was not what I thought I would be doing. I work full time as a zookeeper, supervising the Primate Collection at Melbourne Zoo, so the last thing I needed was a hobby as a business owner and manager.
But, I am so grateful that I took that step. A year later, at age 27, I became the director of this amazing eco-travel agency. My aim is to deliver high-quality travel encounters that provide our guests with life-changing experiences. So many of our guests have given me positive feedback about how much their travel encounters have impacted their lives. Consequently, I now have a whole support network believing in the work of RWE, and that encourages me more than ever. Even more importantly, it is so gratifying to know that our supporters can come with us on tours to see where their money goes.
At RWE, not only do we want to share our work with you but we also want to make sure that you have an amazing time.
Working full time at Melbourne Zoo, I am fortunate to connect with visitors every day. However, nothing is more exciting than taking guests to another country and sharing travel experiences with them. Today, this motivates me and puts into perspective the work we are doing in the field.
Enough of me and more about RWE! I want our aims and topics to open up discussion. I want to introduce you to eco-travel destinations, travel products, our field staff and guides, travel news, our conservation and community development programs, and other exciting topics relating to what we are doing as a travel agency and what we can offer you.
Here are RWE’s aims:
• To connect you with travel destinations that are eco-friendly, fun, unique, and family-friendly. You make a real difference just by coming on one of our top travel eco-holidays and experiencing the wonders of green holidays.
• To connect you with the conservation and community activities that we support.
• To educate you on new travel products.
• To provide you with reliable, up-to-date news on travel safety and destinations.
• To connect you to our wildlife guides and introduce you to our lives as tour operators.
• To inspire you to explore eco-travel and what it really means in the travel industry.
• To open your eyes to the work that we do at RWE and how we are impacting our travel destinations.
• To connect you to our guests and share real-life travel experiences.
• To learn more about what YOU want as a traveller, so that we can continue to provide quality products and information.
I hope this blogging site will be unique and diverse in its topics, and that it will encourage you to comment and provide feedback, so that we can make this an interactive journey. Together, we can imagine, witness, explore.
Expect at least one blog a week from me and additional posts from the RWE team.
Finally, if you haven’t joined already, I encourage you to sign up to our FaceBook page ‘Raw Wildlife Encounters’, where we also share information, photos and travel stories.