Saturday, 23 August 2008

Standing Out

Us 'Adventurers', or 'Explorers', or whatever else we call ourselves are pretty interesting people. What we do is a bit unusual, and most of the world would not want to do it. Standing out's how we can pay the bills. The reasons we do what do varies a lot. Some do it for celebrity, some for glory, some to impress girls (or boys), some to pay the pay the bills, some with a lust for life, some with a death wish, some to avoid 'real jobs', some for fun.
Many people climb mountains, ride bikes, sail boats, run and row just because they enjoy it. That's the best reason of all. A few of us enjoy them so much that we decide to try to make a living from it. And that's where the difficulties begin.
To make a living as an adventurer you need to do some of these things:
a) interesting expeditions
b) write books or articles
c) take pictures or make films
d) 'motivational' speaking
You don't need to do them all. A few people get along fine without even doing category 'a'!
In order to survive, let alone thrive, in this 'business' you need to stand out. You need to be the first or the fastest or the funniest or the most inspiring or the best looking if you want to be top of the heap. And, if you're not careful, your undignified scramble to the summit can begin to be done by stepping on other people's heads and pushing them down.
It's very hard to stand out in our niche little market. The webshots of some successful adventurers below demonstrate that. There are too many motivated, intelligent, tough people scrabbling for too-few sponsorship, book and speaking deals. And we all need to claim to be the best and different. The reality is that we are not that different. We're mostly doing this stuff for similar reasons. We need to remember that we're all pretty similar, and we should respect and help each other rather than standing on heads. 
The critical thing is to maintain your self-respect and remain true to your original motivations. Don't fool yourself on the way to fooling others. If you do that, the rest will follow OK.

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