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How expedition guide Brian Bateson found his calling

Expedition guide Brian Bateson

Have you ever wanted to become an expedition guide? Maybe you’re sick of working in an office, and want to find a job that lets you work outside. Or perhaps you simply want to do something you love. We launched our brand new adventure podcast this week, and to kick things off we spoke to one of our amazing expedition guides. Brian Bateson started working for Earth’s Edge in 2016 and is now one of our most experienced guides.

Here, he talks about how he became an expedition guide…

From office worker to full-time expedition guide

“I worked in an office for ten years, on and off,” says Brian. “I never really enjoyed it, never knew what I wanted to do with myself. When I was 30, I went for a surf in Lahinch and on the way home I thought there’s got to be more to life.”

He quit his job a few months later, did a bit of travelling. Then he came home to Ireland and started working outside, washing wet suits in Lahinch. He went back to college that winter to train as an outdoor instructor, then took it from there.

Brian set up his own company about 5 years ago, and free-lances for companies like Earth’s Edge.

Love of the great outdoors

His love of going off on adventures started from a young age. Like a lot of kids, he went to Achill on a school tour and went full-throttle into all the adventure activities on offer, like hiking, orienteering, kayaking. “When I came back I realised that’s what I wanted to do with my life”

He spent a decade in an office job in Dublin, and was sucked into that corporate world. “In my twenties I literally did nothing outdoorsy. Then had a complete revelation on my 30th birthday, that I should have been doing this my whole life”

How did he become a high-altitude expedition leader?

“I was lucky in that I had no mortgage or dependents. So I could afford to give up my job and go back to it. I realised I didn’t need as much money if I really enjoyed what I did.”

“Obviously, there wasn’t much of a career projectory. My brother suggested going to Kerry to do a course in an adventure centre.” There, he trained in instructing rock-climbing and kayaking to become a guide. He got additional qualifications in mountaineering instruction and mountain leadership. From there, he built up his own business.

What does he love about it?

“It’s got to be the experience of other people. You can’t describe to somebody unless they’ve been there, what it’s like to summit a big mountain. And when you see what people go through – maybe they’re struggling, or not feeling the fittest, and then they let doubts in. But at the summit, you know exactly what they’re going through. It’s a bond.”

His Earth’s Edge journey

Brian has done 15 trips with Earth’s Edge in 3.5 years. What are his favourites? “Everyone starts off with Kilimanjaro. For some strange reason I loved it so much, I thought I’d love to do Kili ten times! Because I’ve done it so much, I’ve got a real passion for that mountain. I’ve seen so many people go through the emotions, and it’s definitely got a place in my heart.”

Listen to the Earth’s Edge Podcast Here

Listen to the podcast here to find out what his all-out favourite adventure is, the trek he can’t wait to take, and how he first made a connection with Earth’s Edge…

Brian Bateson Earths Edge

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