Image shows Dave Wan with large backpack on, hiking on the West Coast Trail.

Dave found his niche in life in a roundabout way. As a Bachelor of Science student in Melbourne, Australia, he was very active in the local SCUBA Diving and Bushwalking (back packing, rock climbing, white water kayaking, and skiing) clubs. Inspired by his extracurricular activities, Dave completed a post-graduate diploma in Outdoor Education in Brisbane before embarking on his career. A decade later, he completed a Master’s degree in Outdoor Education.

“I was first drawn to outdoor adventure sports because of the adventure, the challenge, the personal development and the connection to the outdoors that they offer,” he said. “I have continued to pursue outdoor adventure because of the friendships and close personal bonds that are developed with others. You are often responsible for each other’s safety and well-being and that creates a long-lasting, deeply caring connection. Adventure sports are what I do for work, what I do for play, and are what I do with my family.”

In 2006, after many years of working in the field, Dave took on the roles of coordinator and instructor for College of the Rockies’ Adventure Tourism Business Operations program, held at the Golden campus.

“I am very close with my students and I get great joy in sharing my love of adventure sports with them and from helping them with their success. We have all been shaped by different experiences and have different strengths. As a lifelong learner, I have also learned from watching and listening to my students.”

It’s no surprise that Dave’s hobbies outside of work all involve being active. Some of his favourites include downhill and backcountry skiing, skate skiing, road and mountain biking, stand up paddle board surfing, hiking, back packing, camping, and just exploring the wilderness.

Though the COVID-19 physical distancing guidelines have required College employees, including Dave, to work from home, he is making the best of it.

“Working from home and maintaining appropriate distancing has been necessary for our health and safety in Canada, but not many people would describe it as fun,” he said. “What has made it relatively painless for me is that I’ve been lucky enough to be at home with my wife and two adult children and we’re really enjoying the time together. Also, in Golden, we have the space to be able to maintain physical distancing while still being active outside. Being out in nature has been very therapeutic for me.”

Dave’s advice for students is simple: “Find your happy place, whether that is an actual physical place, an activity, hobby, connecting with friends, and go there as often as you can. Seek what makes your spirit happy.”

This is definitely a philosophy Dave follows.

“I’m exactly where I want to be, doing what I want to do and surrounded by the people I love. Life is good.”