It’s been a fortuitous journey that has culminated in me being a guide with Inspiration Outdoors.
I’ve always been energised by being in nature. The outdoors bug bit me while growing up in Perth near the Swan River and it’s bush reserves, and I still get that energising feeling now. From those seemingly endless primary school summers days, swimming in the ocean and river, to guiding with Inspiration Outdoors, I’ve tried to spend much of my life outdoors.
Thinking back now, as a child my love of nature probably came from the freedom one gets outside. Adults own the indoors, but the empire of children, is the yard. Now, after a lifetime outside with others who know more than me (or looking up books afterwards to learn what it was that I saw) I also have an intellectual appreciation of nature, as well as “that feeling”.
And what’s not to love? Whether it’s a scuba dive site, mountain bike trail or bush walk, every time I get outdoors, there’s something new to see, even in a place I know well.
Before being a guide, I was a chef for many years, and I gained a great love of hosting and being hospitable. You can’t beat sitting down to a beautiful meal with great people, and especially so at the end of a magic day outdoors.
As well as being an avid hiker and biker,I’ve been a regular scuba diver for more than 25 years, with most of that as a member of a local Perth diving club. Being underwater and weightless is an indescribable feeling but it’s the marine life that share the water, that make it really interesting. So often I find myself reaching for a book thinking ‘What fish is that?’ Rottnest Island has been a regular dive site though I often enjoy night diving in the Swan River as it brings a completely different perspective to diving.
Woodworking, and more specifically working with WA native hardwoods has also been a lifelong passion for me. I’ve a house full of hand made timber furniture from a variety of local timbers. Turning rough wood into something functional and beautiful is really rewarding. Walking amongst the trees I work with, is quite grounding. It reminds me where the wood comes from, and to be respectful with such a precious resource. I know how beautiful trees look – both from the outside and inside too.
A few years ago, my wife and I moved house to the southern edge of Perth, and it sparked a love of WA native orchids. The bush and parks near our house are full of them, and hunting to spot and photograph orchids during their short spring season is a passion I share with my wife Erin. With 430 species of orchids in SW Western Australia, we are a long way from finding them all. I am enthralled by their beauty, variety and ultimately their ephemeral existence, which make them an elusive quarry. On tour, it’s special when guests ‘discover’ orchids for the first time and before you know it they’re spotting their own and even beating me to it.
I feel fortunate that I’ve had quite a few opportunities to travel off the beaten track, all around the world. Whilst travel is mostly about being in nature, I love meeting people from other places and cultures. Now, I’m leading different groups of people, sharing amazing experiences all over Australia, and its been a great experience. Far flung countries might be a culture shock and different, but here in Australia, with all of the magic places we have, it’s exciting to see areas and get to know them intimately over the changing seasons.
How cool that such disparate things that I love and do, have all come together in my job as a guide with Inspiration Outdoors.
Now you know a little bit about me, I hope get to know some of you out on the track this year!
Malcolm – Inspiration Outdoors Guide