Clear blue waters. Coral reefs teeming with life. Sharks swimming past, unfettered by your presence. As a scuba diving instructor, you get to experience all of this and more. Sound like your dream adventure? It could be. We found four people who decided to leave their lucrative careers and start a new life teaching others how to dive.
Mark Gregory was a life-long New Yorker until seven months ago. Plagued with boredom and dissatisfaction at his sales job, he finally decided to do what he had been talking about for ten years- move to some place beautiful and become a dive instructor. Now, Mark lives in St. Maarten, and is living the dream teaching others the science of scuba diving.
One of the biggest obstacles Mark had to overcome was mustering up the courage to make a career in scuba diving a reality. With his practical, planner personality, for the longest time he could not see diving panning out into a job that would actually pay the bills. But when he received a job offer from a dive shop while on vacation in Thailand, he realized that it just might be possible.
Well-traveled throughout his adult life, Mark has visited plenty of prime tropical dive locations all over the world. From Fiji to the Caribbean to Thailand, He has gained both self-assurance and humility from his experiences, because he knows how much more there still is to learn. From all his travels, he has seen how exploring our planet can change people. It inspires them to be more inquisitive, more daring, and more uninhibited. The more you see, the more you want to experience everything from beneath the waves to the far reaches of the earth.
Ash McKnight spent his days working long hours in the restaurant business, but there was still a void in his life that could not be filled. All it took was an ad in the paper about free dive classes, and he’s been doing what he loves ever since.
A little while later, Ash found his way to Grand Cayman as a scuba instructor. Using his leadership and organizational skills, he rose through the ranks to training coordinator and finally to PADI course director, where he is today.
The spectacular view outside his office window always spurs Ash on to quickly finish up any paperwork and scheduling tasks to he can go out for a dive beneath the glistening waves. Later, a beer at a nearby bar with other divers usually follows.
For PADI Instructor Paul Quiggle, it took a little more nudging to take a leap of faith and make the jump into a career in scuba. Paul had always been passionate about diving and gotten his certification many years before. However, he had a good job at a financial institution in Seattle, and was apprehensive about to leaving the security and excellent salary that came with it.
But when his employer got bought out, Paul took that as a sign that something needed to change. He became a PADI Pro, and is now a scuba instructor in British Columbia. Looking back, Paul is happy to trade a higher salary for better quality of life, and wishes he had done it sooner.
Merry Hutchins had a career as an advertising executive in New York, but she could almost taste the boredom and lack of fulfillment in her lunches at her desk. Getting laid off was the catalyst that prompted her to chase her secret dream of becoming a scuba instructor.
After getting her diver certification in Bali, Merry moved to Honduras, where she earned her PADI certification and now teaches student divers. Helping people progress from not being able to breathe underwater to officially becoming divers themselves is very rewarding for her.
There are breathtaking views all over the island, plus the locals are gracious and always ready to lend a hand. Most days, Merry spends her time teaching both in the water and out, and then winds down by watching the sunset with friends at a local bar.
According to Merry, we only get one chance at this life, and even then it’s too short not to follow your passions. With so many stunning things to see, and great people to share them with, we might as well make the most of it.
All four of these people can attest to the fact that salary and prestige cannot fill a void that yearns for adventure, fulfillment, and peace. Money and status do not a happy person make. Live your life with passion and purpose, and you will become the person you were born to be.