Expedition Leaders have a wide set of diverse skills, ranging from ensuring guest safety on landings and in zodiacs, giving lectures on wildlife, and developing a team vibe amongst the guests. What sort of training have you undertaken over the years, and also what do you think is the key soft skill required as an Expedition Leader?
My professional career in the outdoors begun with a Degree in Outdoor Education and Adventure Recreation. From there I became qualified as a whitewater kayak instructor and spent 10 years travelling the globe teaching and guiding groups. Along the way, I rounded out my outdoor skills by leading groups in various facets of the outdoors such as mountaineering, hiking, caving/spelunking and rafting.
Once I entered the expedition industry, I also gained qualifications in zodiac driving, navigation, radio communications and STCW (fire fighting, life raft deployment, crowd management and ship security).
As far as soft skills are concerned, communication, teamwork, leadership, emotional intelligence, decision making, problem-solving and adaptability are just some of the soft skills that you'll need to call on as an expedition leader. When people think about expedition leading they often only think about the role of logistics and coordination. The reality is the real challenge lies in managing the interpersonal side of the operation. Sharing these places with people is what it's all about so it makes sense that being able to work well with people should be such a big part of the role.