1. What are you currently doing?
My name is Stu Kimberley. I’m Project Manager for Madventurer (www.madventurer.com) based in Fiji. Managing a portfolio of Volunteer Community Sports Coaching, Teaching Placements, Building Projects & Adventure Tours.
Currently off-season till Feb 2010, so am now in my Fijian friend’s village, settling for the laid-back Fiji lifestyle of kava drinking, rugby playing, farming, spear fishing and watching the world go by.
2. What did you do before this?
Island Manager (www.tribewanted.com) 18 months spent living & working on a beautiful, remote Fijian Island leading a cultural and sustainable tourism project. Before that then it was desk jobs in the UK. Sales Management experience across the Fitness, Automotive and Music Industry! Have got a dusty Marketing Degree certificate from a very long time ago…
3. How long have you dreamt of doing this?
I haven’t really. It’s all happened rather accidentally. I only came to Fiji for a 3 week holiday…that was 3 years ago. Since then I have realized I am living the dream of many, so going to keep going as long as possible.
4. What inspired you?
Within 24 hours of landing in Fiji I realized there was more to life than a 9-5 desk job for the next 40 years. It’s a beautiful place, beautiful people, and an amazing, interesting culture. All around the world there are different challenges, different rewards but I have been given a great opportunity and I’m having fun.
5. How did you plan?
I was single, no mortgage, and no debts and had a seemingly unsatisfied subconscious ‘adventurous’ quality. I was given an opportunity to work on a tropical island. It didn’t take long to decide. Moving to MAD gave me the chance on a new project with different demands and opportunities. You’ve still got to test yourself. When jobs get easy they become less and less satisfying.
6. How are you funding it?
MAD pay for my flights, and cover most living costs when on projects. The wage I get covers the costs of beer, boardies, flip flops and anything else. What bits I save cover the months when I take time out in the village, or if I head back to the UK for a ‘holiday’!
7. What was the hardest thing about making this happen?
Initially, living on a small island took some adjusting. Settling into the community and a new culture was challenging, but rewarding when you make the effort. Fiji will always throw up interesting working demands. Though im working longer hours, with less pay, I have since found money is less important.
It is about happiness and testing yourself. Managing Fijian employees is always an exciting challenge. The English & Fijian culture will sometimes crash head on…it’s how you respond and learn from it that matters.
8. What has been the best thing about having made this happen?
A whole host of new opportunities open themselves up having done something like this. Pushing yourself into a new challenge, new culture, and being away from ‘the comfort zone’ will stand out better on a CV than any ‘work experience’. You are constantly learning. It’s about life experience and adding ‘dimensions’ to yourself.
I have met some amazing people and shared some amazing moments.
I just have to decide which opportunity and adventure to follow next…
9. What is the best advice you have received?
10. What advice would you give to other people?
Network!! Social networking sites, the internet, face to face…
Opportunities, support and advice are there, you just have to have a little search for it.
You’ll be surprised what doors can open up. The simplest conversation could turn into you achieving your dream.
I’ve met so many creative, adventurous and inspiring people. The slightest spark is enough to chase a dream.
Set yourself a plan, and go out and make it happen. A goal will keep you focused. 6 months, 12 months. 2 years, 5 years – whatever works for you.
You can keep doing what you are doing, or you can go out change it. Don’t be afraid to try something different, even if it’s just for a year or two.
11. What do you do when you’re not managing the project in Fiji?
Reading autobiographies and anything sport, travel/adventure related. For numerous different reasons the likes of Gordon Ramsay, Theo Paphitis, Lance Armstrong, Mark Beaumont, Alastair Humphreys etc etc – good books for inspiration.
Relax with sports and mountain biking, and starting to play with a few web ideas – my blog site & fun creative stuff (work in progress!)
12. What next?
A busy 2010 Season ahead, maybe end with an endurance bike ride across Fiji, possibly leading to a bike trip across Europe or further in 2011.
Discussing other opportunities in Fiji. Got ideas, just lack capital, though I have been asked to help develop and market a new island development project. It’s got the most amazing beach! Hmmmmm…..