When I started writing this post I called it "Ways into the Adventure Industry". I have since changed it's name based on the fact that I don't make my living from, or can say I have ever been part of an "adventure industry". I'm also not even sure such an industry exists, but the concept has somehow found it's way into my consciousness. At one point when I lived down in London I felt part of a community who were attempting to make money mainly from creative product outcomes from adventurous travel.
I did participate, in the sense that I:
- Found part time work abroad in a variety of jobs.
- Developed and published creative products for sale such as books and ebooks.
- Was provided sponsorship and some monetary gain to achieve a goal, working with companies to promote their products.
However, I have never "made a living" from these things. Instead my personal dilemma tends to be the dichotomy between making a living from developing digital products and a love for the outdoors. Therefore, I have, and continued to spend considerable time and effort researching jobs, careers. In other words of this very human condition - work.
I have gone through periods thinking that I am a fish out of water - someone who went down the wrong path and found themselves in a digital prison. However, this doesn't stand up and tends to have been my position when came up against adversity in my learning curve. I realise I'm not quite there yet, but certainly everything is not wrong as I once wondered.
A quote by Douglas Adams comes to mind:
“I've come up with a set of rules that describe our reactions to technologies: 1. Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works. 2. Anything that's invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it. 3. Anything invented after you're thirty-five is against the natural order of things.”
Computers are interesting, accessible and a revolutionary technology. In my life I've spent an extraordinary amount of time mucking about with them, which gives me skills I can make money from. However, until computers are embedded in my brain, hands and allow me to do everything I wish with them whilst also freeing my up from keyboards, screens and such like there is nasty binary lifestyle switch between offices, screen, keyboard-tapping and everything that is not that. Computers / technology / Internet are changing everything. Here are some jobs that combine both a potentially exciting lifestyle whilst surfing this wave of technological change.
Capturing media and stories from spectacular places.
The adventure content producer is someone who uses modern media capture technology - film, audio, written word etc to create stories which include company product placements. The media content may have value in its own right and can be sold as exciting adventurous stories to inspire armchair travellers and enthusiasts. Reaching consumers via stories instead of adverts is popular. Some companies employ a content team that goes out and specifically produces action-sports clips with their products - think Red Bull, any big outdoor manufacturer or consumer gadget with an outdoorsy audience. Shooting, directing, editing, and producing video content are all valuable skills.
Embrace the Nomad
A romantic part of me wants to believe that there is such a thing as a real journey that also translates to a great story - strong powerful purpose from deep inside which where you are thrown onto an interesting path. Think of the great travellers - Marco Polo traveled the earth for years and became a wealthy merchant. Times have changed, but is there an equivalent "Life of Marco Polo" today?
There are many kinds of journalism - reporting on breaking stories, reviewing a restaurant or event or covering an interesting subject in a far-flung location. A journalist needs to create a compelling story that will garner attention and sell newspapers, or whatever media format is being consumed. News is huge these days but the Internet has also made it an incredibly competitive space and it is easy to copy that ever before.
Traditionally focusing in on a specialist topic, a documentary filmmaker aims to create an insightful work that can then be sold on to TV companies. There are many formats for documentaries to take these days, but they are usually shorter films up to about 30 mins and may be part of a series. This can make them more valuable as they can be fitted into different TV schedules. A good example are the documentaries of Louis Theroux who tends to focus on niche topic areas and unpack and present them for a wider mainstream audience.
Social marketing manager
One asset that is now becoming the number one currency is people's attention. Those with a knack for being engaging without being annoying, being amusing, persuasive and informative might be able to exploit the new world of digital marketing. Traditional marketing is now done through digital channels and any good product idea still needs people to find out about it. Social media is very accessible and highly competitive used in this way, however, if you are able to leverage it you might be able to promote an adventurous brand or important cause and get your name out there.
Expert / Motivational Speaker
Learn about something informative, useful and / or interesting in great depth. Write, talk and become known for it. Travel and make a living out of the published products and speaking gigs.
A more traditional role of looking after people whilst on holiday can be spiced up with more danger and excitement. As adventurous people look for their next fashionable fix there is a growing market for people who can guide and create unique adventurous experiences. People are willing to pay handsomely for it. However, you need the right training, be responsible for the welfare of your guests whatever the conditions and be able to deal with local people. Create your own company or join an established company offering different opportunities and levels of remuneration.
Personal Trainer, Wellness / Fitness Coach
Training is becoming more specialised, less formulaic, and more consumer-centric into a holistic approach incorporating one-on-one training, nutrition, sleep, stress management, guided outdoor activities, and even psychotherapy. Coaching certifications are helpful across a myriad of areas.
Can you start or join a business that has doing good and a social benefit built into the product? Join a company or design a product with a product with a social purpose.
The environment is the most pressing issue of the age. Can you become part of the solution? Help companies to meet sustainability targets. Many sustainability consultants have degrees in environmental science. Recently it was announced that many UK companies will published data about how they think climate change will affect their business financially. Every industry is trying to find out how to do sustainability properly.
Education is a core principle for positive change. Much of the media out there propagated by technology is trying to say something or show something. How do you turn this into something meaningful and valuable? Education is going through a great deal of change with technology, the Internet and cuts to public funding by the Tories. Teaching involves a huge amount of creativity and hard work with no two days the same. It it essential to love helping and caring for people. You need to cover a range of topics and present them in a fun, engaging way. Teaching does not just have to be classroom, or school based although it is most common. You could teach online, in the field or go mobile. There are a lot of opportunities for entrepreneurialism and creativity in this area as well as a great deal for strength to stand up for young people.
Rather than 'ways into the adventure industry', this post is more about how work is changing and that can involve a more adventurous, meaningful lifestyle.