Tatty's story: Why I left my corporate job for a life of adventure.
Tatty worked at IBM for 7 years before training to be a seasonal adventure instructor with Land & Wave. She shares her experience of bringing more adventure into her daily life, and doing work that matters to her.
Before working as an Outdoor Instructor, I spent almost 7 years working as an IT consultant in the corporate world, mostly focused on Financial Services. I joined a graduate program after University because that’s what most people seemed to be doing, and I didn’t know any different. The job was very well paid, well respected and I had a good career path ahead of me. Despite all of this, I was unhappy & unfulfilled. If I’m honest, I felt lost and a little trapped, like I should be doing something more meaningful, but at the same time, wasn’t quite sure what that was! Last year, I flipped my world upside down, quit my job, moved out of London and followed an unknown path
Connecting the dots backwards
To get to this moment, we have to go back three years when I decided to participate in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race. I had an amazing three months sailing from the West Coast of the USA back to London via Panama, New York, Northern Ireland and the Netherlands. I learnt to sail for the race and the whole experience pushed me way out of my comfort zone. I returned to work with more confidence than ever but still feeling unsettled. The adventure made me realise there was more to life than sitting in an office. It was the catalyst to kick-start my career change. However, it took me two years to build up the confidence to actually quit my job and “escape the city”! Even then I still didn’t have a concrete plan.
I’d always loved being outdoors and was interested in going into teaching but wasn’t quite sure how to combine these. I’d been on a couple of career shift courses, including a workshop with Escape the City, and I’d spent time shadowing some potential career paths as well as talking to lots of people for advice. I also took some time out of everyday life and undertook a digital detox after leaving my job – enabling me to digest a huge life decision! All of these experiences, plus a bit of clever targeted marketing on Facebook, led me to a winter of Outdoor Instructor Training with Land & Wave. Up until this point, I didn’t realise there was an accelerated way into the industry. The course gave me 15 qualifications over 15 weeks and kick-started my new career.
The new day-to-day
I’m halfway through my first season and I’m absolutely loving it! Every day is different; it’s challenging, fun & rewarding. I took a huge pay cut but my quality of life has sky-rocketed. I’m happier & healthier and I’m no longer striving for the coveted work-life balance. I’m surrounded by like-minded people and we are lucky enough to spend our days exploring & adventuring. It’s funny because I wrote a letter to myself two years ago trying to visualise my job. Here’s an extract of what I was picturing:
“I’m not just living for the weekend and thinking about my next adventure because everyday is an adventure. Everyday, I’m learning something new. I’m outside. Breathing in the fresh air. Smelling the grass. Squinting in the sunshine. Probably getting sunburn too! I can hear the waves. The birds in the trees. I’m not just staring out of the window, counting down the hours until I can leave the office, go for a run or do some exercise. Exercise will be part of my job. It will be part of my lifestyle.”
Obviously, I knew what I wanted to do but I just didn’t quite know what the job was or how to get there!
What comes next?
In terms of the future, I’m trying to decide whether to stay in the UK for the winter to work on further qualifications or head to New Zealand and work their summer season. Some of my teammates are doing ski seasons or chasing the sun in other exotic locations! And then I’m coming back to Land & Wave for another season. After that? The world is my oyster…