By Calum Leckenby
1. When did you first become involved with Out Doors and how did it come about?
I first joined in 2010 but didn’t get too involved until 2012 when I started going on 5-day trips. I signed up as a participant and then the staff suggested that I should become a mentor. The mentor program was what got me interested in pursuing outdoors work for my job. I started studying and got my Certificate 4 in Outdoors Rec in 2017 and it wasn’t too long until I became an employee at Out Doors Inc.
2. What is your role now with Out Doors?
I’m a sessional staff member. As part of this role, I support the staff in any way that is needed. I help organise the program, drive the bus, support the participants, help run the activities, and a few other things like risk awareness.
3. What is your favourite or thing to do at Out Doors?
The first thing I really enjoyed with Out Doors was the 5-day hiking journey. I find that it’s the multi-day trips that I get the most out of being in nature. It helps me disconnect from city life. I really enjoy mountain biking, but I think my favourite thing is rock climbing and just being up in the mountains.
4. Where is your favourite place to visit with Out Doors?
That’s a tough question but if I must name just one then I’d say Mount Arapiles. A second would be the Mitchell River down in Gippsland.
5. Have you always enjoyed being in nature, where did your love of nature and the great Out Doors come from?
I guess my love for nature started with family. I have memories of dad taking us up to the Grampians to do the Pinnacle hike and other things like cross-country skiing. I lost motivation and connection with nature until Out Doors Inc. re-introduced me to the outdoors. Since then I’ve picked up new outdoor activities like trail running and mountain biking.
6. What is your favourite activity or thing to do in the Out Doors?
I love climbing. But just being out in nature, camping and hiking are really great, too. There’s something really nice about sitting around a campfire with a group of people and being part of a community.
7. If you could live anywhere in the world where would you live?
Canada is somewhere I’ve always wanted to go to. To be surrounded by mountains and beautiful lakes would be amazing. But New Zealand is probably my number one place. It has the Waitomo Caves. I was born in Switzerland and would also love to go back to experience the Swiss Alps.
8. Tell us something that other people may not know about you?
I’ve had a lot of experience rock climbing and abseiling and don’t have any fear of heights or exposure, but every time I go over the edge when abseiling I get incredibly nervous. I find it funny that I can do all the climbing and setups but still get nervous at that moment before I go over the edge. It’s just that one step – once I make it then I have so much fun.
9. What do you do when you’re having your own mental health challenges?
Seek out supports. Using my regular supports – doctors, support workers, friends, partners. A good strategy to clear my head is to do exercise – going for a run, or walking the dog. Mindfulness meditation helps with sleep, and I make sure I have downtime in a busy schedule.
10. What is your favourite movie?
The 5th Element is always my go-to. I watched it with my dad and that’s what got me into Sci-fi. Watching TV and movies is one of my escapes.