Levison briefly thought about a life in the city after leaving the Army, but couldn't square the career change with what he ultimately wanted out of life... adventure. So, he decided to find a way to turn being a 'relentless vagabond' to his advantage and set up Secret Compass, running expeditions to the most remote and wild places on earth!!
To start with, if anyone wants to experience an expedition in the truest sense of the word, then get in touch.
Furthermore, we are already looking to expand, and we have opportunities for expedition leaders and qualified guides to join our team and lead expeditions, so readers please get in touch.
And finally I would be delighted to help anyone out who wants information on the life of a relentless vagabond!
I have just set up an expedition service called http://www.secretcompass.com/" rel="nofollow">Secret Compass which provides some incredible adventures in the most remote and wild places on earth. It enables me to share some of my favourite places with people who wouldn't ordinarily consider an expedition or group travel.
As a constant independent traveller myself I understand people's reluctance to join organised travel which is why I make sure my expeditions stick to the principles of being unique and one off, encouraging a truly team effort where all the members get a say.
Planning the expeditions takes up most of my time at the moment, but I try to keep up my photography which is a personal passion and at the same time I am writing a book.
I used to be in the Army in the British Parachute Regiment, which was a fantastic place to learn the necessary skills to run remote expeditions. I managed to travel a lot during my time there, including exersises in Central America, Africa and all over Europe, as well as serving in Afghanistan.
That was actually one of the most stable times in my life, since both before and after the Army I travelled a lot, backpacking and hitchiking around the world. Last year I worked for a small charity, driving ambulances from the UK to Malawi, one of the poorest countries in Africa.
I haven't really stayed in one place for more than a few months at a time since leaving university. This year I decided that I would combine my passions to create my organisation which has the added bonus of giving people the chance to be a part of something really different and special.
When I left the army I briefly considered a career in the city and began applying to various companies, but with each new CV filled out, I realised that my heart wasn't in it and the only reason to be going down that route was for the money. I discovered that I couldn't really balance that with what I have always held dear and believed in, and instead offered my services to a charity who was desperately in need of ambulances.
I ended up raising several thousand pounds and bought some old 4x4s which I converted and drove to Africa with a team of mates. It was then, driving across deserts and through jungles and seeing the happiness of everyone involved - not to mention the gratitude of the hospital in Malawi - that I said to myself 'I could probably make a life out of this.'
I didn't really - it just sort of happened.
I began writing a book which was quite time-intensive, when an old Army pal, Tom, suggested that we work together and run some expeditions. I had no idea how popular it would become and how much interest we would have in such a short space of time. Luckily we both already had plenty of experience running expeditions in the past as well as a useful network of ex-army contacts across the world to call upon.
We decided to go in at the deep end, so to speak, and chose some fairly remote places to conduct our flagship trips: The Wakhan Corridor in Afghanistan and the brand new country of South Sudan, but the response has been amazing, and I am hoping we get some really interesting and adventurous types to join us.
The best things have been being organising my own time and being my own boss which is great, and also the ability to work from wherever I want to.
In the past twelve months I have lived in Mexico, the USA, London and Switzerland, setting up my company, writing and taking photos.
Worst thing... trying to understand the world of business!
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
I remember when I first went travelling meeting a guy in South Africa who paraphrased Mark Twain's famous quote and I have done my best to keep it as my life's motto...
I think too many people are afraid to take risks so I always try to encourage people to have the audacity to do the things they want to do.
I'm a bit of a traditionalist and get most of my inspiration from books but the internet is great and there are thousands of websites I would recommend.
http://wardourandoxford.com" rel="nofollow">Wardour and Oxford has helped us out massively with the business side of things.
Social networking has of course revolutionised the way we communicate and make decisions, and amazing inspirational sites like escapethecity all help to encourage people to take the plunge.