This is how a paddle in the water forever changed my life

Post Summary

During my high school years, I was somewhat lost. Rather than attending school, my friend Oliver and I would roam the Staffordshire countryside or sneak into my parents' house to spend the day. Inevitably, we were caught.

When I did go to school, I often daydreamed and struggled to engage with any subject except art. Despite this, I managed to pass my GCSEs with average grades, including an A* in art. By 17, I had dropped out of college, was jobless, and aimlessly drifting.

However, one activity where I didn't drift aimlessly was kayaking.

My parents' support of my interest in outdoor activities, particularly kayaking, played a crucial role in my life. As a child, my dad and I would frequently kayak with the Potteries Paddlers Canoe Club all over the UK. In an attempt to guide me towards a career, my mother researched jobs in the adventure industry, practically handing me a PGL instructor job application.

This led me to a career in outdoor adventure that took me around the world, from leading canoe expeditions in the Peruvian Amazon jungle to constructing and operating high-ropes adventure courses in Africa and India.

The last five years have been a surprising turn of events, as I'm now a software developer and entrepreneur.

While working with Flying Fox in Kenya and India, I conceived the idea for Risk Memo. Risk Memo was an idea born out of necessity. As we worked on the high ropes courses, I realised there was a need for a better way to manage and communicate risks. This need, combined with the worldwide shut-in due to COVID-19, gave me the opportunity to dive into a completely different world - the world of software development.

I learnt to code through endless YouTube tutorials. Surprisingly, I found I not only enjoyed it but was also quite good at it, despite never having previously shown any academic commitment.

Risk Memo is now used by —- companies across —- countries, and I am now everyday learning the nuances of running a business. 

The achievements one can make when discovering a passion and being fortunate enough to have the support, tools, and time to pursue it are remarkable. Whether it's learning to paddle a kayak at 8 years old or debugging code at 38, the journey of self-discovery and skill-building is the true reward.

If you're in the adventure industry and reading this, I hope my story reminds you of the impact your job can have. After all, it was a simple kayak taster session on Rudyard Lake with the Potteries Paddlers that set me on this path.

I’d love to learn about your experience in the adventure industry - drop me a message on LinkedIn!

Until next time,


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