When I decided to go cycle touring back in 2007, it was because I wanted to have an adventure. I had no intention of making a career of it. When I found a film company to help make a podcast of my journey, it changed things. Now there was a company who wanted to sell a film involved in the process. Add more companies, friends with ambitions and the rest.
The question of making money through being an adventure arose in my mind because:
- Travelling is fun
- Travelling costs money
- Life costs money
- Making money from doing what you enjoy seems logical
- Easy access to media technologies and the Internet
- Natural creative outcomes such as film, writing, blogging, photography, storytelling could be leveraged
- A community of people who knew about each other started selling stories about themselves
- Professional adventurers and explorers existed
- Grants for geography and science projects
- Cheap cost of living on the road
- Mainly young people with low cost of living overheads or commitments
- Social media and ways to promote and network
- Companies looking for new ways to advertise
- "Long tail" markets - every niche has a "however small" audience, 1000 True Fans (Kevin Kelly)
- Access to business and marketing information
- The rise of the "Guru" or "Expert"
- Demand for information and access to information easier and cheaper
- Learning to make a product is an educational process even if it fails
- Learning to interact with technology is useful in any case
- Networking and promoting can bring more opportunities and connections to meet like minded people
- Making and selling a product can be successful and bring financial freedom
- Having a self-employed, self-motivated mindset can be helpful
- The concept of adventure is a growth market as companies hook onto the fact that people want to escape the office
- Plenty of potential to come up with something creative
- Plenty of opportunity for "lateral thinking"
- Long tail markets are very competitive, opportunity for making a lot of money is smaller in a niche and fierce need to differentiate from others
- Adoption of familiar "style" - e.g. Guru, expert, motivational speaker, macho-tough guy, psycho, spiritual traveller and less exciting or less well marketed offerings get hidden
- Without experience you can end up making some mistakes such as selling rights to creative products or failing entirely
- Learning a new creative skill on the fly can be disruptive - such as trying to film an experience. Having a camera shoved in your face, being told to act and repeat things.
- If the adventure idea comes first then a company is opportunistically hoping to make money out of your idea retrospectively, then they might pull out if it doesn't meet their expectations. Without a contract you have no security.
- Adventure is not a market but an activity / feeling - travel/hospitality is more of a market and it is a different beast
- There is a big difference between what you find interesting and what a market finds interesting
- A business should be sustainable but adventure is something more fleeting
Luckily the question of making money as an adventurer is extremely niche. No one would try this unless they knew what they were doing because failure is a certainty. However, if you feel as if you have some spare time and energy undoubtedly there are some exciting possibilities.