This is a story of fear and unconventional career paths, a lesson for start-ups and artists alike.
His name is Fadi Hachicho. Born to be in the wilderness, the confines of a desk and an office in Dubai kept him chained and bound for years. He always knew he belonged outdoors, but it took him two years and endless work to find his way out.
At a young age, with family camping trips, and scout experience in his teen years, he developed an intimate relationship with land. His father had instilled in him a great respect for nature that was there to stay.
I encountered Fadi a few weeks ago, on a canyoning trip his company, Adventurati Outdoor, had designed. They pride themselves on enhancing skill levels and cater to advance and beginners alike. In this instance, a group of forty beginners followed this affable man in a neon shirt in wadis near Dubai.
Looking at him now, it’s hard to imagine Fadi amidst throngs of people who worship their laptop screens in air-conditioned boxes. Trained as a certified guide in mountaineering, rock climbing and ice climbing, he has explored Tanzania, Alska, Jordan and Nepal among other countries.
When he moved to Dubai a few years ago, he was fascinated with the region’s unique topography and got heavily involved with the offroad scene. He soon found himself living from weekend to weekend:
What started as an interest soon became a passion and I found myself longing to go out and discover UAE and Oman every weekend. It was my happy place. In time, my passion overtook my profession and I became depressed behind the desk. I knew I had to make a change.
The trip from passion to profession wasn’t easy, though. He had spent some time as an adventure blogger in UAE and was part of an outdoor club, but he struggled to answer the big question: How do you turn a passion into a living?
How would I continue to enjoy the outdoors on a daily basis when I have rent, bills and loans to pay? For a long time, my fear of failing was my worst enemy, until I woke up one day and decided this was worth the risk.
In August 2015, he grit his teeth and took the leap. Fadi quit his job and bid adieu to his corporate life, packed his gear and travelled to Alaska. There, he signed up for an outdoor leadership school – and while he wasn’t certain of the future, he was relieved having left his old life behind:
After spending 2 month in the wilderness, with intensive training and lots of fails and lessons, I qualified as a certified guide. The world was finally my playground, but where do I go from here? All I knew was that this was the best decision I ever made.
It was a difficult start, but with the help of friends and family, he changed his outdoor club into a licensed tour company focusing on trekking, canyoning and climbing: Adventurati Outdoor. It sounds simple, but wasn’t quite:
I have always been an adventurer – not a businessman. I had to use what little was left of my savings to make a successful start up, and compete with other well-known and established tour companies.
In the first few months, Fadi was drained. He was failing financially and emotionally. His fear of failure grew and his cash flow ran low, but with deep-rooted conviction not to go back to his day job, he was determined to make this work.
He began to learn from his mistakes, invest time in research and collected feedback from friends. Most of all, he wanted to be real to his clients.
I wanted to inspire new people to experience and enjoy the outdoors. It was never about the money. I created a friendly atmosphere where people from different backgrounds and skill levels came together to enjoy nature. Food, music, dance and chats around the bonfire become our weekly ritual. The ball started rolling and soon enough, the business started growing. Word of mouth was positive and our excursions were fully booked on a regular basis. It was a dream come true.
Adventurati Outdoor now have 3 established offices in Nepal, Tanzania, and Jordan and are planning to open 3 more by next year. They cater to tourists and offer local residents trips to international destinations to experience trekking, canyoning and climbing.
So, if you’ve been thinking of making a change – any change – borrow inspiration from Fadi and the countless others who have molded their dreams into reality. It always starts with fear, but how it ends is up to you.
Looking back, I wish I had made this life changing step a long time ago but I have no regrets.
Join Adventurati Outdoor on their next trip. Visit their Facebook page here.
It rarely occurs to UAE residents who spend a majority of their life indoors, but there’s so much to see and learn from the great outdoors. Fadi’s ingenuity comes through when he talks about why you should dip your toes in adventure:
The connections you make are much stronger than those built in the city. Outdoors, our guards go down and we tend to be more honest because you can’t fake ability, or skills or your fears. You tend to reach out for support more and connect with your fellow adventurers. This feeds our souls as human beings and builds character. You share food, tents, good times and a million stars in the sky.