Meet Neil – My journey to becoming an Inspiration Outdoors Guide

Meet Neil – My journey to becoming an Inspiration Outdoors Guide

So how did I become a guide? I saw the job ad and applied!

My story probably isn’t much different to many of the other guides – I tired of working a respectable, professional job and decided to make the outdoors a career!

I grew up in Wanneroo (a small townsite north of Perth, which has since been swallowed in a sea of roofs that we call the “northern suburbs”), and my days were spent (when not at school) outside to a large degree, riding bikes, creating tracks through tiger snake-infested lakefront, bodyboarding, etc etc. After school, I went down the university pathway, obtaining Honours and Masters degrees. From there I worked in healthcare, as did my wife, and in the process we owned and managed a couple of Allied Health practices.

My first foray into hiking was in 2008, an amazing trip but also one that shows the importance of proper (early) blister care, after my hiking buddy needed extracting from the second-to-last hut as he was unable to walk out. It was the spectacular Walpole to Denmark section of the Bibbulmun track, and I was hooked!

Since then, as well as competing in Ironman triathlons, marathons, and kayaking for the Rottnest Swim, I have travelled a lot, taking every opportunity to hike, bike, kayak or run somewhere amazing. I am obsessed with getting a view, so most of the hikes I do involve at least one serious climb! My favourite places are often cold, with Iceland, the Swiss Alps & Tasmania rating up there as the most magical I’ve visited.

So how did I become a guide? I saw the job ad and applied!

(I’m serious….)

But there is a backstory. I’d become increasingly frustrated, uninspired and burnt out by my previous occupation, and after a bit of a mental breakdown, I realised I needed a serious change. My original thought process was “what do I enjoy more than anything? I know, travelling to amazing places and doing amazing things. How can I make that a job? Tour guide?”

I started applying with local providers for work experience, but about a week later the IO job popped in front of me. What followed was the most nervous two-and-a-half weeks of my life waiting to see if I’d get the job. And the rest, they say, is history!

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