As I might’ve mentioned earlier, I’ll be a wilderness/nature guide when I grow up. I’m studying along with the day job and no, I’m not quitting. I’m merely strengthening a hobby so I can maybe someday do it as a side job or something. I’m already seeing Likely Gone Hiking merch in my head. I hope that you, dear reader, learn from everything I write about, especially since I’ll have knowledge and facts behind me later on.
When you say wilderness guide, what’s the first thing that comes to mind and why I opted to use the terms professional adventurer or an outdoor life coach?
For me, the title wilderness guide or nature guide makes me picture a can-do outdoorsy person telling a small group of backpack-wearing, equally outdoorsy people how to use their watches as a compass and leading them safely through a National Park or the wilderness. This might be because of all the guides I know but for some the title isn’t a positive one.
On the very same day I received the acceptance letter, two different people let me know how during one of the worst unemployment periods, they used to train wilderness guides in Middle Finland and the only province that would hire, was Lapland. And even those jobs would mean basically slaving with impossible hours and little to no pay. These guides are still probably waiting for those promised job offers. But honestly, people either utilize the things they graduated from at the vocation they choose or end up with, or they don’t. I mean, I don’t do page layouts anymore and I’m a media assistant. I write fault tickets.
I can’t cook on a fire in my current job, even with a wilderness guide degree.
But my employer indirectly gains from my studies – from the skills, enthusiasm and zest for life. The same can’t be said for the people who settle for dreaming of being able to do what they want without even knowing what that is. They just hang their head and think: “I can’t”. Furthermore, if, god forbid, the day came when the firm wouldn’t need me anymore, I’d have something to keep me afloat.
So the title wilderness guide has lost some of it’s appeal but I’ve noticed a few people use the term professional adventurer. I mentioned the title outdoor life coach to a friend and they immediately adopted it as their own in a _newspaper interview_, no less. Some guides are also super famous so the youth has a new favorite occupation. 😉 I’m not saying I invented the term but isn’t that what it is – coaching people for a life in the woods?
Who’d pay to join me in the woods?
A wilderness guide may have to create their own work and find bits and pieces for it. Games and country Olympics aren’t a very modern activity. Instead, one should create simpler yet stronger and long-lasting experiences for people. Inspire them, teach them survival skills. Not forgetting co-operation, which is vital for all aspects in life. There are people who would pay for an arranged trip but corporate bodies rather pay for their employees or clients or patients to have free/cheap access to said trips. Some of the income could come from writing and/or photography. The job could have nothing to do with hiking but if you’re selling to hikers, you’d better have something related to that in your bag of tricks.
A wilderness guide aka professional adventurer jumps through the same hoops as everyone when it comes to one thing: self-branding. I’m not sure anyone can escape it. You have to have decent exposure. The power of marketing is immense but thankfully the means to utilize them are more accessible and more affordable than ever. Do the work and it’ll pay off in social media as well: people share your stories more often and when your brand starts showing up in Google searches, people aren’t afraid to approach you.
What kind of wilderness guide will I be?
I know I seem defensive about this choice of mine but it’s okay. I know what I’m doing.
As a professional I intend to host hikes and trips with a gentle learning curve. If you’re afraid to go out there and/or you think you how to do anything in the woods, I’m your gal. Job opportunities can present themselves from all kinds of different entities (associations, companies, provinces, private sectors) and I’m sure I won’t be able to full-time under a single contractor. Using the pull and push method (Pulling aka gently luring and pushing aka encouraging) I’ll get people to once more go out into the woods.
This blog will produce tons of new content with every experience and teachings I receive. Hopefully it’ll also invite more people to read it! This writing stuff, albeit a mere hobby for now, can prove useful in my current and future jobs. As I’m writing this, I’ve just returned home from new family of young and old, people who either know a great deal about the trade in question or are masters in different areas. My head is spinning from all the stories they shared.
Oh yeah, self-branding. That’s sort of work-in-progress. So am I a writing wilderness guide? A social media one? A tattooed one?