From manager to scuba diving instructor. What led me to this big step? Do I regret my decision? Am I happier today with my new lifestyle?
Granted – I would have never expected to work as a scuba diving instructor. After my apprenticeship as electrician I have invested a lot of time, energy and money into the development of my career. After I studied electrical engineering I continued with a post diploma in software engineering. After that, I took courses covering different aspects of management and other topics.
My career as a manager
My first job in the field of software development was rather disappointing. The company was conservative and was run with very outdated structures with little room for innovation. However, one of the projects was to build a huge industrial plant in Thailand and I got the chance to join the team in Thailand for the final three months as a trouble shooter to startup operation and as a trainer for the local staff.
That was the first time I travelled out of Europe to a Southeast Asian country. Thailand’s culture has fascinated me and during my stay I have learned a lot about the country, the people and the culture of this amazing country. I developed a whole new interest in foreign countries and their cultures.
The second job was the exact opposite of the first one. A friend of mine asked me to join a very young start-up company with a highly interesting high-tech product supporting the internet boom of the 90ties. The company was growing quick, my career path was very steep and I was moving up the ladder fast. The market was booming and the stocks where soaring into the sky. In a very short time I had to learn a lot about management and also had some very painful experiences.
Reni and I built a house, bought nice cars and accumulated more and more possessions that became ballast and load. Suddenly, we got overwhelmed by our house, jobs and responsibilities, the whole stress and pressure was getting too much.
Transition from manager to scuba diving instructor
For a very long time we already had a dream in our mind. We wanted to break out of the system, be free and travel the world. We started discussing about our possibilities and how our future could look like.
Eventually, our dreams and ideas were getting more and more concrete. We started to come up with some ideas, did some brain storming and plotted down some mind maps and plans. We started to write down some travel destinations, that we wanted to see. At the end we had a plan with different destinations and a route we wanted to travel.
Next step was to create a timelines with all the necessary tasks to reach our freedom. In front of us we had the big task of selling our house, two cars, the majority of our possessions, quit our jobs and organize all the insurance and administrative matters.
From the first idea to the start of our journey almost a year passed by. However, we needed this time to conscientiously prepare for our new life. After all, it was a very big step for us. A few months before the start of our long journey, we have completed the divemaster training. We already had the idea in mind to work as scuba diving instructors and make our favorite hobby to our new job.
On February 27th 2007, we have started our journey. We travelled trough Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Burma, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia. After almost one year of traveling through South East Asia, we have completed the training to become scuba diving instructors in Thailand. After the scuba diving instructor certification, we worked for a few months in Thailand and earned our first money with our new jobs. What a great feeling. After a few days of work we already earned enough to cover the costs for our bungalow and motorbike rental.
The Maldives have always been one of our favorite destinations for diving. We applied for a job as scuba diving instructors on the island Kuredu and after a few emails, we got a job offer and signed a contract for a year. The year 2008 we spent on the island Kuredu as scuba diving instructors together with a very nice, international team. We really enjoyed our work and it was one of our best years in our life. We have dived a lot, did a lot of scuba diving courses and taught student divers to become certified scuba divers.
After a year it was time for us to move on. We wanted to see more of our world. We bought a 4WD Toyota Landcruiser in Australia and travelled once around Australia. Eight months went by much too quick but we had already booked our return flight so we left Australia and went back home to Switzerland.
The re-entry into professional life in Switzerland went almost too smooth and easy. After a couple of months we were back in business and had both better jobs then before we left. After half a year we have started to think, that we should have travelled even longer. In our minds, questions started to form. What are we doing here? Why do we have returned to the same treadmill? Why do we work in Switzerland, enclosed in office walls if we could work in the Maldives out in the nature? We felt like plants that do not get enough water and sun.
There was only one answer to all our questions. Travelling!
Work in and with nature and our diving guests made us feel so very happy that we just wanted to go back to the Maldives and work as scuba diving instructors again.
In October 2011 we started to work on the Maldives, for the same employer, but on the much smaller island Komandoo.
We were living and working on the little paradise island for two years, where we were very happy and really enjoyed our life. For us, the quality of life has improved a lot and is so much higher than in Switzerland. Of course we also had to work, we had to forego many things and had to make some sacrifices on the Maldives. We couldn’t go to the movies, there was no theater or club but we had the opportunity to sit outside, watching the stars and listening to the sound of the sea. If one can handle the quiet lifestyle, then life on the Maldives is very carefree and enjoyable.
When I look back at our travel time, I can say with certainty that I do not regret our decision one bit. I am happier as a scuba diving instructor and traveller then I have been as manager sitting in his beautiful office. The pressure and stress I was facing as a manager I do no longer know. Work in and with nature, the sea and the underwater inhabitants are very satisfactory for me. Fortunately, we have taken the plunge and set off to travel the world. So far the transition from manager to scuba diving instructor was a full success.
Don’t dream your life – Live your dream