As I approach the 10-year mark on my working life so far, I have been looking back at what I have really achieved. Sure, I have enjoyed my work, and I’ve even had the fortune to be part of a business that has revolutionised an industry. I’ve even helped that business through a key point in its evolution, its IPO. I have benefited financially from my career, have made some good friends and other relationships that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. I have also had the opportunity to travel with work and through work gain the funds to travel widely in my personal time too. But asking myself the crucial question, “Have I made a contribution to the world, or measurably improved anyone’s life?” I don’t think I can honestly answer that I have.
Interestingly, diving is becoming a theme in my life when I am considering what to do with my future. In a month off between jobs in 2005 I visited Egypt with the express intention of learning to dive. I had always been at my happiest in the water, and exploring what lay beneath the surface had always been an alluring challenge for me. I’m glad I took the opportunity to take a PADI Open Water qualification at that point, because it opened up a new world to me.
My favourite dive experience to date was filling in for a couple doing their Rescue Diver qualification, where one of the couple was unfortunately taken ill. I was asked to play the part of the ‘victim’ and to hide somewhere on the reef. Remaining still on the sea floor, waiting to be “rescued”, watching the underwater world go by, being mesmerised by the tiniest motions of the corals and being myself watched by the inquisitive fish, was a magical experience that I will always have with me.
Diving is so many things to so many people. For some it’s just an adventure, an exciting activity to get under one’s belt on holiday. For others it’s a way to help the planet, to study underwater life and act to conserve it for future generations. For still others, it’s a healthy addiction to the beauty and biodiversity of underwater life.
For me it’s about relaxation and exploration. No two dives are ever the same and I enjoy discovering new facets of sites I’ve dived before. I also enjoy the tranquility and solitude of turning dive lights off during a night dive and imaging myself to be floating in space!
No matter what people get out of their diving experiences, it all starts with an introduction and training. What more valuable endeavour can I turn my life to than helping give newcomers an introduction to the world under water, and to help them begin a journey of exploration, both of themselves but also life below the surface, than to share my passion for diving?