"Always do what your heart feels”

Photography by Alice Wint -shecriedwolf
Location - Byron Bay
Wearing Shapes in the Sand 

Tell us a little about yourself and what your  journey here in Australia has been like.

There have been so many different paths that have brought me to Australia and I am very grateful to be here and call this place home. I grew up in Russia and started modelling when I was 13. I went to NYC at that age and since then I've never stopped travelling.  I’ve never been a “party” person even though I grew up in the city. I have been with animals all my life and have done a lot of volunteering on farms around the world. I came to Australia for a shoot and met my love here. I took a break from modelling for a while and have been working a lot with Australian wildlife-mainly wallabies and now snakes. I’ve always been looking for a place with a good balance of nature and good people and I feel I finally found it.

I see you are quite the snake charmer! How did you become so involved in rescuing wildlife, particularly snakes and what do you love about them?

Snake charmer sounds good! I’ve never been afraid of snakes or any other reptiles so I decided that I wanted to learn how to handle them, especially if they're venomous. I've always found they are fascinating creatures. Snakes are feared because most of them produce venom but I find that most of us don’t know much about them or what to do if you get bitten etc. Whenever I tell someone that you can survive for up to 48 hours after a brown snake bite by holding a pressure bandage and not moving, people don’t believe me. You have to be in charge of your heartbeat because thats when venom spreads fast into lymphatic system. By putting a pressure bandage on, calling emergency and not moving at all not even your fingertips, could save your life!

Because I am a WIRES Wildlife Rescue member I was able to join and complete a venomous snake course. It was quite an experience as we started to practice straight away with an Eastern Brown Snake. We had most of the venomous snakes of Australia there and by the end of the course I felt very confident. But I've never worked with an Inland Taipan and would love to rescue it one day.

Do you own or care for snakes too? Whats that like?
At the moment I am caring for a Python but only until May. He was someones pet so he won’t survive in the wild. I had 2 corn snakes when I was a kid (I don’t really support wild animals as pets but at that time I didn’t think about it).

What do you love most about spending time in nature? Do you have a favourite place where you like to go for time out?

I can’t imagine myself living in a city anymore. I love everything about being in nature. It makes me feel happy and feel alive. One day when I was feeling very sad I decided to be alone for a while and walk across Iceland on my own, that was one special experience for me. It took 70 days and since then I love being in the wild even more. I love being spontaneous on where I’m going so I have many favourite places to go to. Living in Byron bay is special. Here there is so much to explore. On a weekends me and my partner love going to swim in  creeks, waterfalls and tea tree lakes.

Do you live a conscious life? What kinds of sustainable practices do you implement into your daily life?

I would say I do. I always do what feels right for me. I love to cook so much and do it with love- its like my little meditation. Both my partner and I are vegan.  We are trying our best to live plastic free life. Always bringing reusable bags with me, even little things like taking plastic away from the beach every time I see it I believe makes a bit of difference. It makes me happy that there are so many people who care about making a change. We should treat our planet with lots more love and give more than we take.

What’s a phrase that means something to you?
"делай то что чувствует сердце” - "Always do what your heart feels” (my mum) 

November 26, 2019 — Alexandra Dash

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