Spending your days leading tours through Paris and Venice sounds like a pretty fantastic career option to a lot of us, but James Major was craving something a little wilder.
After five years working as a tour guide around Europe, James realized that the wilderness was his passion. The problem for the Cheltenham, UK native was, there isn’t a lot of wilderness in Europe.
James researched his options and found College of the Rockies’ Adventure Tourism Business Operations (ATBO) program, located at the College’s Golden campus.
“I can’t tell you how happy I was when I discovered that the ATBO course not only existed, but that it was eligible for me, a 34 year old British citizen. Not only was I able to get a Canadian study permit but also a work permit so I could support myself while in school.”
So far, the program is not disappointing, with a huge amount of the learning outdoors in the wilderness James craved. “Learning about glaciers?” he says. “Where better to do it than on a day hike in Lake Louise to see one.”
He is likewise impressed with the expert instructors in the program. “Who’s better to teach you about navigating and planning a backcountry backpacking trip than someone who’s climbed Mt. Everest four times?” he asks.
“I took a gamble giving up a good career to come back to school but so far it’s been one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life. I can’t wait to see what incredible future in the outdoors this program is going to create for me.”
James will be wrapping up his studies in the two-year program in 2019. He plans to spend summer 2018 in the Yukon on backpacking treks on the Chilkoot Trail as well as leading canoe trips. For James, life in the wilderness is “so much better than leading walking tours around Paris or Venice!”
We're glad you travelled from the UK to join us, James. We're proud to be a part of your new path.