Routine feels pretty blah without a dash of excitement.Joining an adventure sports start up has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. Staring at those pictures all day long has ignited a desire that I never knew I had- after all, I was the only kid who used to hate P.E. period!
The end of this segway is a magical discovery that I unravelled. I began noticing patterns with my friends on social media. Turns out, adventure sports, particularly ones that involved working in tandem with nature, ranks high on most of their lists. Even more surprisingly, in the last month, I ran into several old friends- from school, college, colleagues at my first job- who had turned to adventure sports and made a career out of it. I’ve got scuba diving instructors, travel bloggers, mountaineers, sanctuary officers, travel advisors, wildlife photographers, and the list goes on.
There is something tempting about discovering and helping others discover the thrill of adventure- it brings out our raw and primal side. You know you are harnessed, you’ve done it before, yet you feel completely unprepared every time you’re pushed off a cliff. If a career in adventure is something that looks delicious at this point in time, here are a few options you might want to consider:
The Scope in India:
Probably one of our biggest advantages is that our country is so geographically diverse. It’s got mountains, forest, water bodies, beaches and rocks in plenty. Certain sites and related activities like River rafting in Rishikesh, Paragliding in Bir-Billing and Trekking in areas around Mumbai as well as the Himalayan region have already been tapped into. Yet, there are quite a few hidden treasures yet to be explored in the country.
Economy-wise too, Indian tourism has seen an influx, so has the specific region of adventure travel. A recent report in the Deccan Herald says that adventure tourism has seen a 20% growth in the last two years! Moreover, in the past decade, unorthodox career opportunities have seen a rise in takers; adventure sports is pretty much part of this list.
Leading enthusiastic adventurers through dives, climbs, jumps and sails is highly rewarding. You get to witness the transformation that these activities bring about; it helps us get in touch with ourselves and face our fears. In the process, you might discover a new side to you too. Several specialised training institutions have opened up in the recent past to train enthusiasts to become professional guides. A simple Google search and a few enquiries should help you decide the course and institute that best suits your career goals.
If you already have experience, managerial skills and resources, you could even put some more research into it and start your own adventure tourism company. You could organise tours or own campsites to conduct activities- the sky is the limit!
Outdoor Training Facilitator:
Training and development programs for corporate employees are being taken outside the office space. Trying to paddle a Kayak or manoeuvre a raft seems like an excellent choice to help build team spirit amongst employees. Outbound activities have also become a much-preferred alternative to reward members after stressful periods, as opposed to clichéd office parties.
Becoming a facilitator at tying up with corporate is a highly lucrative career, as you help participants unlock the mantras to success. It’s big on the bucks, plus a tad entertaining as you watch everyone, including CEOs, take off their ties and try to scale impossible looking rocks. You pretty much get to be the life of the party!
Gear designer/ Manufacturer/ Retailer:
There are a few Indian brands producing good quality gear. Wildcraft, started by Dinesh KS, is one of them. Overall, the picture is still not that pretty. Being unable to procure good quality gear without shelling out a small fortune bugs most of us.
If engineering, management or design is something you daydream about, you might want to start talking to designers and figure out what’s in it for you.
Adventure Writer/ Blogger:
Travel, document, publish! Again, there are several MOs- you could work for a company that involves travel blogging as its core product or part of it. You could even start your own blog, this obviously takes time to take-off, but good content (and SEO) won’t really stay in the dark for too long.
What’s important here is that you stay constantly updated on social media happenings, what’s new in the adventure world, and connect and collaborate with fellow bloggers to increase your following and clicks.
You could also pursue adventure and photography in combination. If you can capture those perfectly precious moments during an activity when the adrenaline kicks in, you’ve struck gold.
Even wildlife photography and documentary is all the rage today. Avenues for sharing are also multiple – you could copyright and publish on social media sites and sell it to adventure sports companies and websites. You could also apply to adventure and travel magazines and collaborate with them. Try your hand at one or multiple activities to figure out a specialisation that interests you.
What needs to be done…
Broadly speaking, adventure activities are classified into 3 categories based on the element they interact with- air, water and land. Again, Google is your best bet here; if you’re venturing into this for the first time, it might take you a while to settle for a single or a combination of activities.
One needs to have an ability to take risks, reasonable physical fitness, leadership skills, teamwork and managerial abilities. Education wise, the sector is not demanding. You need to attend a formal course in your chosen field and get certified by a recognised institution. Most importantly, sportsmanship is needed- you need to know when to back down for your and other’s safety. Be flexible and willing to learn, both from your and your co-adventurers’ experiences, and you’re going to do pretty great out there!