A little bit about me… My name is Alex, I’m twenty four years old and when I finished University, I spent two years working in a secondary school, a job I loved, but I couldn’t stop myself getting itchy feet… I couldn’t settle. I was not ready to commit to a “proper” job or career, so I started saving as many pennies as possible. In January this year I left behind the comforts and security of home for the chance at an adventure of a lifetime. Many of my friends had taken gap years or been on a long term trip, now it was my turn and I couldn’t wait to see the world. Like so many people now, it seemed the best place to start the journey would be in Thailand. From here I wanted to explore all of South East Asia, Australia and New Zealand with a little over £3000 in my pocket… Easy!
It was an easy decision to leave, but when the flights were booked, the day fast approaching, and I began to say goodbye to my friends and family, the reality of it began to hit home. More than anything I hoped that it would live up to my high expectations and take me to beautiful places around the world. After an emotional week of goodbyes, my boyfriend Chris and I boarded the plane at Heathrow headed for Bangkok. As soon as we were in the sky I just had this feeling it was going to be awesome. This was something that I had wanted to do for years. I couldn’t settle into a career, I was always thinking about all of the places I wanted to see, people I wanted to meet, cultures I wanted to immerse myself in and adventures I wanted to have. The journey had just begun.
My travels took me all over Thailand in those first four weeks. From the smoggy, busy, chaotic city life of Bangkok, to working with rescued elephants in Chang Mai, to the mountainous, hippie town of Pai, Chris and I covered most of the recommended places in Lonely Planet! Classic wannabe traveller! We had a date to be in Koh Tao and arrived there in February, so, for now at least, the traveling part was put on hold and we settled into life on an island.
I’ve learned that there’s not much point having plans, as they almost always never get stuck to! Chris had paid for me to do my PADI Open Water course as my Christmas present, and then I was going to look for a teaching job whilst he completed his Dive Master and Instructor courses. But, like so many others, I got hooked on diving. There was this whole other world opening up to me. When learning goes hand in hand with adventure, in my eyes you have the perfect balance. I ￼￼stayed to do my Advanced, Rescue and Divemaster Courses and became a professional diver in just over 3 months.
I had a brilliant time on Koh Tao learning to dive and learning to be a dive professional. I made friends for life from all corners of the world and had been initiated into the diving community. As I said, I hadn’t planned to do all of these dive courses and so now there was a lot of pressure to find a job so that I could stay in South East Asia. I wanted to keep diving so badly, so Chris and I began to search. He contacted a company in Koh Phi Phi and was really lucky to be offered a job. I made the long journey over to the other side of Thailand with him, in the hope that I would have the same luck. After spending the day strolling around various different dive centres, I did strike lucky at The Adventure Club. One of their Dive Masters was leaving, and there was my opportunity. Things just happen to have a way of working out.
Everyone at The Adventure Club spoke so highly of Libby I knew I would have massive shoes to fill. I had the next two weeks to dive with her and learn from her. She had worked at The Adventure Club on and off for five years, so I was learning from the best. I shadowed her dives for the next two weeks, learning the dive sites and all the best little spots at these stunning dive sites, as well as the way the company operated and functioned. The team were amazing and so welcoming. It’s just a small company, so everyone works hard and helps each other out. Everyone has been so helpful and put up with my thousand and one questions, and I’m so happy to be a part of the team! I have learned that it is all in the detail. Showing customers the one thing they have never seen before, or teaching them something that they didn’t know before… The Adventure Club prides itself on the little details that makes the experience that much better for a customer.
During my training I went on a number of dives to the local marine park around Phi Phi Ley, snorkeling trips also around Phi Phi Ley, Shark Watch trips and Night Snorkeling trips. I had the best teachers and after two weeks of training I felt ready to take it all on myself. Phi Phi Ley Marine Park is a natural beauty and full of life which you can experience on any of these trips. I couldn’t wait to start showing other people the things I had been learning about the last few months, I just wanted to share all these experiences with everyone!
Koh Tao was fantastic and I had a great experience diving over there. Koh Phi Phi and The Adventure Club for me is the next step up. Here not only do I get to see a much more varied and exciting array of marine life, but I get to take other people and show them the beautiful, rich life that there is here. I still get excited every time I see a shark, a turtle, an octopus… but when you get to show other people these things and watch their reactions underwater, there is nothing like it! I’m starting to be sure that doing my Dive Master course was one of the best decisions I’ve made. I also knew that I was working for a company that is incredibly professional, and is able to offer a really personal experience for people. So it looks like they are stuck with me for a little while!