Magic Mike’s Journey to becoming the best guide ever (and other lies).
You know, I used to envy those people who always knew what they wanted to do when they grew up. I had no idea! So I chose not to grow up. Well kind of…sometimes… Anyway, here’s how I came to be with Inspiration Outdoors…
I can thank Dad for showing us the outdoors when we were kids. He was always a bit of an adventurer, often out by himself but would take us fishing and camping on weekends and during the school holidays (never hiking though). And I can thank Mum for my patience as she had to untangle fishing lines, mend clothes and skin torn on the rocks and then cook dinner. As well as put up with Dad’s impatience.
So after graduating from high school as dux, dropping out of Uni and working in an abattoir for a couple of years I started off a career as a hydrographer. Didn’t know much about it but thought monitoring water and being out bush sounded pretty good. It had taken me three interviews over two years to get the job – the boss thought I was too smart and would go back to uni. He was wrong on that one and 25 years later I reminded him of it.
It wasn’t until I moved to Kununurra in the Kimberley that I really got into hiking and outdoor adventures. Oh, except snow skiing. I’ve never been snow skiing. Or ten pin bowling. Water skiing, yes – lots of that. You get good at not falling off skiing in Kununurra, too many handbags in the water.
Back to the hiking… My first real hike was with a local couple during the wet season out on Lake Argyle in our dinghies. Plan was to camp overnight then walk up to the 150m high waterfall and back. They had this cool little stove called a Trangia! Well, plans changed slightly when a big thunderstorm came up the creek overnight, dumped heaps of rain, went away and then came back. Waking up in the morning it was like I was on a waterbed – the tent was surrounded by water from the creek that had risen about 10 metres! And what about the boats anchored up down the creek? Were they even still there?! Luckily yes, but I had to swim the rapids to get to it. And so I was hooked on hiking and the Kimberley!!
Trips through the Kimberley, Tasmania, Nepal and Patagonia followed. I got into whitewater kayaking and paddled in Tassie, New Zealand, Wales and Nepal. And then mountain biking. There were lots of fishing adventures around the Kimberley coast with approaching cyclones, 12m tides, 6m crocs and 1m barramundi! As well as going out bush for work on flooded rivers, getting bogged and wrestling the occasional croc, I also managed my first paid “guiding” job – a friend of a friend put Channel 7 onto me to chaperone Jennifer Hawkins and then Ernie Dingo around during the filming of that famous Qantas commercial with the school kids choir. I would have done it for free!
I used to think being a hydrographer was the best job in the world but that all changed when I became a target of some pretty serious bullying. I was yelled at, sworn at and abused by two team mates, in meetings with the manager present and not doing anything. After two years of that I applied for a redundancy, got another job and moved to Perth, sold my home and vowed never to put up with anything like that again. Ever. I also vowed to not miss the Kimberley and to make the most of whatever I chose to do. And on the bright side, I did!!
When the new job didn’t quite do it for me and I plucked up the courage to quit with nothing to go to. After six months of riding the whole of the Munda Biddi, hiking in Nepal, catching up on jobs around the house, kayak, surfing with dolphins, and generally enjoying life without work, I thought “what next?” I happened to hear about a guiding job with Inspiration Outdoors through a friend who had applied. It sounded great, going hiking for a job, travelling the state… So I applied too. At the interview I made Simon and Emily listen to my stories of hikes, mountain biking through the Rocky Mountains (and then made them look at photos as well). And so here I am four years later, still excited!
For a long time I had wanted to work for a progressive organisation where you felt valued, were part of an awesome team, had fun outdoors, met lots of nice people, helped make them happy and got great job satisfaction. Well I’m still looking for that but … Just kidding, I love it here!