So where does all this leave me. Well, my new train of thought has been figuring out a way to create a life for myself that includes both travel and diving. I need my next move to be one that gets me closer to a life that feels like "home", wherever that may be. Only then will I be able to open myself up to a relationship and the possibility of a family. This is starting to get all philosophical, so let me break down my exact thoughts.
I want to make diving a part of my life and hopefully a career (this will inevitably include travel). So, what are my choices.
1- There's military diving. I've looked into this quite a bit. Pro's: military benefits, free commercial diving training (very lucrative skill to possess), possibility of cool assignments, get in killer shape through boot camp and training, could go back to school for nearly free. Con's: Time commitment of at least 4 years, possibility of crap assignments that will make me hate diving, dealing with lying recruiters.
2- The tourist route, which would require getting my next level certification as an instructor. Pro's: Living somewhere tropical, loving what I do and passing that on to others, meeting lots of cool people. Con's: Being far away from family for the rest of my life, meeting horrible people and being responsible for their well being, potentially shit income, no benefits or security.
3- Conservation/research/scientific diving: My ideal, though the one option I am not at all qualified for. This opens the greatest number of doors to a life that would include the type of diving I love, be really interesting, possibly provide stable and lucrative career options, and would make me feel really good about having a hand in the conservation of our planet. The cons, of course, are that I would need a marine biology degree or some equivalent, which would take years and tens of thousands of dollars.
So there are my choices. Obviously #3 would make me the happiest, but after considering the educational hurdles, I just wasn't willing to put myself in debt over another 4 years to get there. But I didn't give up on the idea completely. Instead, I thought my way round the hurdle, and my solution even includes getting my instructor certification as a back up, and all for a fraction of the cost of going back to school.
So, what is my solution? Well, if I learned anything from my first time around the track its that experience trumps education. When I graduated college with a degree in business and joined the workforce I quickly realized I knew nothing. Experience in my field was the best education I could have asked for and I didn't need a nearly $100k degree to get it. If I would have come straight out of high school and found myself an apprenticeship or the lowest level job in my industry I would have been better off in 4 years then I was the day I graduated from university, and that's a fact. So, lending that knowledge to my new situation, I have decided to volunteer my time over several months in a marine conservation program. This is a paid volunteership, meaning that I will be paying them for the chance to join their team, but the cost is, like I said, a fraction of a degree program, and they will also train and certify me to a master diving scuba instructor level in the process. And, when all is said and done there is a great chance that this same organization will hire me. So, training, experience, certifications and a job all rolled into one. Not to mention, I get all of this while I travel adventure style through tropical paradise.
I know you must be asking yourself at this point what, when, where, how?!? All in good time my friends :) This post is getting a bit long though. I promise to go into full details in my next post....very soon :)