For today’s post, I’ve selected boat captain and dive trip leader Dave B. He opted not to entertain the idea of people getting in contact with him unless they were hot girls, so I’ve shortened his last name to just “B”. (This is him below, shot through the window looking into the helm of the boat – reflection of the open sea in focus)
I chose Dave because I feel he has a significantly different viewpoint on the world than most people his age, and he has a very interesting career intertwined with adventure and utmost responsibility for people’s lives. He has a colorful personality (which you’ll see in the interview), and his background & perspective on schooling was particularly fascinating to me.
Here’s a shot from us in the helm of the boat – Dave was an avid smoker and I felt it would be best to “play the part” by joining him for a smoke while we held our conversation. (I think that was my 3rd and final cigarette of 2012.)
Hope you enjoy the interview – and if you know someone who might be interested in Dave’s story – I’d love it if you shared it with them!
What is your name/age?
Dave B – 40
What is your occupation?
Skipper (Boat Captain) and Dive Guide
Where did you grow up?
Hong Kong for childhood, adolescence in between boarding schools. I’m a Scottish Ex-pat
How long have you been doing what you currently do?
Did you have a 9-5 job before that?
How did you become involved in the work that you currently do?
Travelling, backpacking, rented a boat in the Philippines and found that boats were cheaper to BUY in Papua. I have a passion for the sea, and it seemed like an appealing idea to try out
How much longer do you envision yourself working in the field that you’re in?
I don’t know, not much longer. Maybe another 5 years, and I’ll retire early. Should be set for retirement in about 5 years.
What level of schooling have you completed?
Fuck, I dropped out of half a dozen schools. I guess my top level is “Scottish higher”. (Equivalent to American high school). Whatever. A little bit of University, but I never really made it through all the way.
What is it that you love about your work?
Nature. I like diving, beautiful places, and I like being my own boss. I have a problem with authority. I worked at a bar once, so I guess I’ve worked for somebody at least once in my life.
What is your least favorite thing about your work?
Oh fuck, where can I start…I don’t like mechanical headaches, working hours (sometimes 16 hrs/day), on a dive trip, the hours are super long – cruises 3 or 4 times a day, I don’t like dealing with heavy weather, and mechanical problems. I didn’t sleep last night, so today I’m pretty tired for work.
Is there anything you miss about life back home? (In the Scotland)
I miss the music scene. I miss gigs. I miss live music. I don’t miss pop culture, but I love live music. And of course I miss my family.
What are some of the advantages of your job compared with the regular corporate career?
I get to spend a lot of time diving, and exploring. I make a fat salary. And uh, let me think about that…chicks dig it. I get to explore beautiful island groups, look for the ultimate beach, ultimate anchorage, ultimate dive site. You meet a lot of interesting people, and make a surprisingly large amount of money.
What are some of the disadvantages compared with the regular corporate career?
Well you’re isolated from your friends and family, work super strange hours, you’ve got shitloads of responsibility, like – life threatening responsibility, manage divers, manage a boat. Sometimes I envy those that flip burgers. They don’t have to think about things. When you man a ship, you’re always thinking about something or other, there are a ton of logistics.
How different is the dating scene for you? Is it easier/harder to make time to be with your significant other?
Well, to be honest, for most of my career, I’ve been in monogamous relationships. Other than that, you get to know somebody for 10 days while they’re traveling through. When girls come on the boat, they fall for you bc there’s something “sexy” about having your own boat. The environment is kind of an aphrodisiac – people dream about this kind of stuff, you know?
Do you tend to prefer to live paycheck to paycheck or with a savings plan accounted for? Is your income predictable and regular, or entirely dependent on what you produce?
One of the advantages of being in the middle of nowhere is that you don’t spend much. By the end of the boating season, your bank account is pretty fat. So fat you can’t spend it in the off-season. You have to own the business though, you can’t just be a skipper working for someone, you can’t just be a dive master, you have to own the business in order to make the real money.
“You do something entrepreneurial, and don’t work for anybody. You’ll earn boatloads.”
How do you imagine your retirement, or lifestyle past 60?
I really don’t know. I have no idea. I’d like to focus a little bit on spirituality. I’d like to have zero commitment on my time. Zero responsibility. I’d like to understand the subtle energy systems of the body, ya.
You said you’ve traveled when you were younger – are there still areas you’d like to explore?
Yeah, I’d like to go to western and northern Africa, eastern Europe, and Scandinavia. That’s really what I’d like to do when I retire – you know, get to know my soul, and spend my time traveling. Understand that Chi flow. When you work, you’re in a regime – like a virus, you know – affects your reality, perception of judgment. The things that matter are irrelevant. That’s the point of early retirement – to focus on what’s important. There are times when you’re manning the ship where you experience moments of clarity, and sometimes you’re buried in work. Sometimes I’ll cruise out on solo dingy missions to secret bays and meet with friends that are in the area. Solidarity with other dive boats, you know. More of the dive masters, dive instructors ya.
Do you see your career facilitating a lifestyle suitable for a family, or do you have the desire to have a family?
Definitely not. Unless you find like a boat ship – you definitely can’t raise a family. Not sure if I want to have a family. Maybe. Everyone I know have popped out kids, buying houses…it sucks. If you’re in a relationship your girl’s gonna want to have kids – then everything gets sloppy, ya. I’m recently single and am planning on enjoying it for a good amount of time.
What are your top priorities in the ‘big picture’?
Spiritual development. Spiritual rejuvenation. Once you understand the energy around you – you can really rejuvenate the energy within you. When I free dive & go down deep, I get these fleeting moments of clarity…it’s why I love it. I’m sure there are plenty of people in the world that can flip that kind of thinking on in a lightswitch, that’s what I want you know.
Have you studied religion/spirituality?
I don’t have a degree in yoga or anything, or say I’m an expert in philosophy or anything…but I listen to a lot of talk radio & download podcasts to listen to talks of spirituality and politics. Mainly, Red Ice Radio and coast to coast AM, a lot of conspiratorial kind of stuff. But I also listen to a lot of philosophy, 20th century history etc.
If you had any advice to someone just graduating college or thinking about switching careers, what would it be?
Don’t bother graduating, just drop out – because it’s gonna get you no where – fuck getting a job, and try setting up a small business. And go travel. Visit the developing world. Tons of opportunity for westerners in the developing world. You can set up a really nice business with a little investment.
A college education is only really helpful if you’re planning on working for someone else. And at that point, you’re in the system and you wont get out. You’ll have a mortgage and develop debt. My advice is to wander the earth and to see what comes up. You don’t need a lot of money to do that.
If someone wanted to do your job, what is important to maintain a position?
Set up a business for tourism in somewhere beautiful. Use your initiative, and you look for somewhere beautiful and pristine, where there’s no one else doing it. Don’t just follow the pack, find somewhere no one’s at, and get ahead of the game. If you’re lucky you’ll find some sweet place, whether it be kayaking, whale watching, eco tourism – the way to succeed is to do something DIFFERENT than someone else.
Who inspires you?
Mantag Chia. Fuck, I can give you a list of people, but you’ll have to bear with me cause I’m tired ya? Noam Chomsky, Fred Burkes, John Pilger. Those are some people that have opened up my mind. Joseph Farell. I guess I listen to a shitload of interviews while I’m behind the wheel.
What do you think about authority?
I’m a libertarian. I despise big government. I do NOT like being told what to do. That’s always been my issue.
What did you want to be when you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be able to fly. Not an airplane, but actually fly, ya? I wanted to be Jack Custo and have the Calispo – that cool ass boat and hang with a bunch of cool guys and go diving. In a way it kind of worked out, ya.
What are some of your favorite sounds?
I like the sound of this copper bowl and people beating on it, tango drums, waves on the shore, the sound of the sea, small waves, jungle noises, bird calls.
What’s your favorite memory from your past? (Highlight of my travels)
I don’t really quantify things in that way you know, like some people are like, “I have a favorite color” and I’m like, “the fuck – favorite color, what the hell do you mean”?
If you were an animal, what kind of animal would you be, and why?
One of those gigantic whales with super complicated songs, they’re like the philosophers of the ocean…I don’t know if I’d like to be one, but just to understand what’s going on in their head. Incredible sense of self. Nothing to worry about, no predators to think about.
What are some of your favorite smells?
The scent of someone’s skin…if it’s the right person, ya?
If you were a character in a famous movie, who’s role would you play?
Tim Roth in reservoir dogs. “Okay everybody be cool this is a robbery!”
If you could go back to any point in history for a month, what time period would you visit?
September 2001 to find out what the hell was going on with this 9/11 shit, ya? Set up video cameras and all to figure out what went down.
If there was one celebrity you’d like to punch in the face, who would it be?
Dick Cheney – he’s a super dodgy asshole politician – pure evil.
If someone wanted to get in touch with you and ask you more about what it takes to get involved in your career, what would be the best way?
They’re not allowed to get in touch with me unless they’re a hot chick.
On a scale of 1-10, how likely are you to get back to them?
It depends on the photo :)