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  #1  
Old 4 Dec 2011
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A Career in the Overlanding Industry

I'm finally on to college. I started working full time in a mechanic shop during summer breaks when I was 16. Straight out of High School I packed a backpack, said goodbye to my parents, and joined up with the Army as a mechanic. Four years in a combined arms/mechanized battalion, some crazy experiences, and a deployment to the Middle East later, and I've been accepted to a great University.


If you wanted a career in the motorcycle/trucking/racing/overlanding travel industry what would you do? What would you go to college for? How else would you get your foot in the door? Any advise, constructive criticism, or ideas from you more experienced people are always welcome.


Darin
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  #2  
Old 4 Dec 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by diesel1015 View Post
If you wanted a career in the motorcycle/trucking/racing/overlanding travel industry what would you do? What would you go to college for? How else would you get your foot in the door? Any advise, constructive criticism, or ideas from you more experienced people are always welcome.


Darin
Welcome Darin,

Here are my thoughts. I learned very little in college that would translate to marketable skills for your above interests. The most successful overlanders and motorcycle/travel enthusiasts that I know who went to college got degrees in medicine and electrical engineering and make piles of money as doctors and engineers which allows them the financial independence to buy lots of motorcycles/4wds and travel in their spare time. Unless you are on scholarship or aspiring for a college degree in something that will lead to a high paying job that will allow you the money and free time to travel, I can think of better ways to invest money and time than a college degree.

All but the most successful people in the motorcycle/trucking/racing/overlanding travel industry have to work their butts off to earn the money/sponsorship to carry on. It is not a financially lucrative proposition for most. It is something people do because they are passionate about it.

The top mechanics in the Dakar and Baja 1000 didn't get there by going to college and getting a BA.

Just some thoughts.

Kindest regards,
John Downs
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  #3  
Old 7 Dec 2011
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Overland

While it may be true that what you learn in college does not directly apply to the overland industry, I would argue for the value of a college education, or at least a couple of years as having the following benefits:

1. You'll learn to write in college, and this is always a marketable skill. If you are a great mechanic or tour guide, and you can write, communicate and present information in an intelligent manner, you'll go farther.
2. You'll get exposed to new ideas in college. This will broaden your thinking and make you a more interesting person.
3. Take the professor not the subject. Everyone will say take this class or that one, but the best thing to do is find the best profs and take those classes.
4. Don't worry about a major, unless you want to be an engineer, just take the courses you want and worry about the major later on.
5. Do internships, study abroad, mix it up

Just some thoughts

Jim


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Originally Posted by diesel1015 View Post
I'm finally on to college. I started working full time in a mechanic shop during summer breaks when I was 16. Straight out of High School I packed a backpack, said goodbye to my parents, and joined up with the Army as a mechanic. Four years in a combined arms/mechanized battalion, some crazy experiences, and a deployment to the Middle East later, and I've been accepted to a great University.


If you wanted a career in the motorcycle/trucking/racing/overlanding travel industry what would you do? What would you go to college for? How else would you get your foot in the door? Any advise, constructive criticism, or ideas from you more experienced people are always welcome.


Darin
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  #4  
Old 8 Dec 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by diesel1015 View Post
If you wanted a career in the motorcycle/trucking/racing/overlanding travel industry what would you do? What would you go to college for? How else would you get your foot in the door? Any advise, constructive criticism, or ideas from you more experienced people are always welcome.

Darin
Quote:
All but the most successful people in the motorcycle/trucking/racing/overlanding travel industry have to work their butts off to earn the money/sponsorship to carry on. It is not a financially lucrative proposition for most. It is something people do because they are passionate about it.
I spent many years working at one of the main motor racing circuits in the UK. The circuit driving instructors there were for the most part guys who saw themselves as full time racing drivers but to pay the bills would instruct one or two days a week. Get a couple of them together and the only topic of conversation was how to get money in to continue racing.

Over a period of time though I came to realise that what separated those that were successful from those that weren't was personality. Nothing to do with education and almost nothing to do with driving ability, those that got to the top (and some went on to be very successful) had a combination of "alpha male" drive but with a warmth that made them easy to relate to. I'm not saying that without those characteristics you may end up in MacDonalds but sponsors, employers and the PR side would see something that they could capitalise on and get a return for their investment. Seeing this play out again and again over many years taught me a lesson - qualifications and experience help but mainly people relate to people.
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Old 8 Dec 2011
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"The most successful overlanders and motorcycle/travel enthusiasts that I know who went to college got degrees in medicine and electrical engineering and make piles of money as doctors and engineers which allows them the financial independence to buy lots of motorcycles/4wds and travel in their spare time."

This ^.

Get a high end profession if you can - it matters not what it is - it makes life and travel much easier all round. Medicine and engineering are amongst the most portable allowing living and working in multiple different countries - it's what I've done. Mind you, if you do it the way I have, you make sod all money, but you'll have a blast, I promise you. The problem with staying in one place and earning the big bucks is you will likely get addicted to the trappings of success - think about that phrase - add a trophy wife and your life is over....
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Old 8 Dec 2011
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Originally Posted by Docsherlock View Post
"The most successful overlanders and motorcycle/travel enthusiasts that I know who went to college got degrees in medicine and electrical engineering and make piles of money as doctors and engineers which allows them the financial independence to buy lots of motorcycles/4wds and travel in their spare time."

This ^.

Get a high end profession if you can - it matters not what it is - it makes life and travel much easier all round. Medicine and engineering are amongst the most portable allowing living and working in multiple different countries - it's what I've done. Mind you, if you do it the way I have, you make sod all money, but you'll have a blast, I promise you. The problem with staying in one place and earning the big bucks is you will likely get addicted to the trappings of success - think about that phrase - add a trophy wife and your life is over....
Also very portable in this regard are teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL) and computer technology, the latter covering a massive range of skills that are probably more portable than traditional engineering skills.

But, to work in one or other of the wide range mentioned, such as trucking, then some basics would be useful, such as driving licences for a range of vehicles and foreign language knowledge - spoken and written. You don't go to college for these though.
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Old 13 Dec 2011
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Skills and education

Darin,

first and foremost you have to finr something that you are good at/excell at.

Yes, consider medicine, IT, Banking etc but find something that interests you, then mould your skills, knowledge, education and career together to get where you want to go,

Good luck
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  #8  
Old 15 Dec 2011
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I would suggest that you consider learning a trade, I don't know how things are in the US at the moment, not good from what I can gather, but here in the UK my engineering skills allow me to come and go from jobs without much trouble at all. They can also be useful when on the road when work opportunities turn up in some unexpected places.
This advice is not directly related to getting a job in overlanding, I don't think there is such a thing, but having a career which allows flexibility in your working life and will finance travel which opens up opportunities in itself.
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Old 29 Dec 2011
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travel when you retire

i toured europe in my working life as soon as i retired 60 i divorced the wife bought a new bike and travelled east europe , maroc west africa (there its sorted) im now living in philipphines and still touring i am 68 years old My answer whatever age if your really keen you will find a way MY hero darius/jane horizonsunlimited.com/tstories/doggitto66

Last edited by englisharchie; 29 Dec 2011 at 04:11. Reason: correction in email address
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Old 26 Jan 2013
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I am doing a small learning package to top off my marketable skills. Spanish language training, combined with a small motor course. a photography. and tada you have the beginning of marketable skills.
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