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Back to reality

Middle Fuy was one of the best runs I have ever done, not just in Chile

A title “Back to reality” is a bit misleading as I can’t really say I went to Chile on a vacation. Even though it does feel liberating to go to a foreign country, to a southern hemisphere summer and a whitewater paradise, I did have to work hard for my existence. Thankfully I wasn’t alone as my lovely girlfriend Ana came with me. It is that much easier if you have someone to cheer and support you, that much more if you get sick or injured.

Gabriel Cot-Valiquette boofing Middle Fuy

But back to the case, being a kayaker these days isn’t really an easy task. Especially if you want to be just that. Unfortunately you can’t really earn money being an extreme sportsman, as you can in a surf or snowboard industries. Professional kayaking is a bit of a grey area for me but I don’t think anyone of those lucky few is earning much more than just enough to keep them kayaking worldwide and year-round. Most of us need to work hard to keep paddling. Having a well paid job with a lot of free time is a good option I guess, especially if you live near a good river. Unfortunately that doesn’t seem to be an option in Slovenia; not at these times, when most of the employers here are paying only a minimum wage of about 550€, while using you till the edge of exhaustion and still making you feel like you need to be thankful for that. The last time I tried a serious job here I had less money when I quit it after two years then I had starting it still as a student. I also had about 10kg more of body fat from sheer stress and not much time for sports, even though I worked in a kayak-related company.

So a good option for me, if I want to keep kayaking, is working as a safety kayaker, river guide, kayak instructor or a photographer. I am aware those aren’t real and long-term jobs,, unless you make your own business, but they keep me happy and going. That is until I’ll be sick or injured again. There are no benefits doing these jobs, even though you need a lot of training, enthusiasm and your own and expensive gear for doing them. I don’t know how I would have managed it without my sponsors so I really need to thank them for all the support over the years.  You do get to do these jobs in a great working environment, you normally have great paddling rivers nearby and you also get an exercise for free. I actually really like these aspects of these jobs, as even though I like reading, studying and writing, I really don’t like to sit in an office all day.

Anyways, I am looking for a next great location with good rivers, well paid job and a bit of culture as well. If anyone has a good idea I’ll be glad to listen/read it. You can leave a comment too. In any case I intend to spend this year on the water so say hello if you see me. Hasta la proxima!

Some pictures from Middle Fuy, work at Trancura and the Futafest final party:

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