Finding Your Calling
Creating Purpose from Passion, by Kate Booth
Part One: Become
I’ve been an adventurer my whole life. The majority of my childhood was spent exploring North Wales with my Nain and Taid. Most School holidays, I was shipped off to the mountains to a little village known as Trefriw where my Nain and Taid lived, it’s situated just north of Betws-y-Coed; only now do I appreciate the true beauty of that place. Every day we would set off (myself and various other cousin relations) in their old, burgundy camper van in search of a new adventure.
During my mid to late teenage years, it’s safe to say my priorities changed and the adventure lifestyle slipped away from me, but I always felt like a part of me was missing. I never fitted in at school, I was bullied quite a lot, and I was always searching for where I ‘belonged’. I realise now of course that I just needed the mountains and that sense of adventure.
My Nain and Taid have played a huge part in inspiring the adventurous side of me, but I put a lot of it down to my independent nature too, there is a huge part of me that is always searching for that next big adventure.
My parents have each had their own unique input on my adventurous side too, my dad is an avid scuba diver, I tried my hand at this when I was younger but again my priorities were not aligned; I’m now deeply engrossed in the scuba world and am excited to see where it takes me. My dad also had me marching up Mount Snowdon at the age of 14 in some of the worst conditions I’ve ever explored in, the wind and snow was relentless, and the tears were streaming down my face. I’ll never forget it.
My mum has had a bit more of a glamorous impact I’d say. She liked to take us on exotic and unique holidays when I was younger. I’m lucky to have explored the mesmerising city of Cairo and the great Pyramids of Giza in Egypt, and I’m lucky to have wandered around the vast ruins of Chichen Itza in Mexico, stared into The Blue Eye of Cape Verde and watched the Aurora dance across the Icelandic skies.
There’s something inside of me that craves great adventures and the outdoors, and this craving is ever evolving as now I find myself drawn to new and slightly more dangerous challenges (sorry mumma). There are certain people in the adventure world that I look up to and inspire me to challenge myself more, the likes of Andy Torbet, Mollie Hughes and Nirmal Purja always blow me away with their ambition and achievements.
Everything that I’ve learn so far is from personal experience and research, YouTube is extremely helpful in this area! There are definitely key safety measures that need to be in place for everyone (no matter their experience) at all times, however, each individual is different and has different limits that can only be discovered from experience.
I think getting out and pushing myself has allowed me to know my limits and what gear I need for myself to be safe. Nothing beats first-hand experience and knowledge, taking it slow and building up the levels of difficulty in the adventures leads to a greater understanding; I know I have so much more to learn.
Part Two: Capture
Everything I’ve learnt about photography has come from my own different experiences and situations. I was born a photographer and I’ll die a photographer; it’s in my DNA.
I got my first DSLR as a gift from my dad on my 16th birthday, I’m now 24 and I still haven’t put the camera down. I think my photography skills have become more refined over the past couple of years through my adventures and meeting up with other photographers from the adventure community, everyone is so lovely, they want to share their skills and knowledge; this is how I’ve become much better at editing too.
Photography is my one true love (along with drawing/sketching), for as long as I can remember I have always had a camera in my hand at any given opportunity. It was never just landscapes or adventure either, I would take photos of everything and anything, I would annoy all my family members at gatherings and events by shoving my camera in their faces.
Over time, as I have discovered my path in life, my photography has evolved and adapted into what it is today. I only really grab my camera now when I’m out on my adventures; I like visually documenting my journey and discoveries.
To begin with, it was all about the photography, the aim of every adventure was to get that shot; but now I use my photography more to document my explores and create branded content.
The photography is important as it tells a story, my story. It portrays the feelings that I felt in that moment to the observer and I think it’s the best way to share my adventures and really connect with the audience on an emotional level.
I have to admit my camera gear isn’t the best. My trusty Canon 550D has been by my side for the past 8 years and been battered on many adventures! I’m not the best when it comes to camera knowledge either, I never studied photography so everything I know I have learnt whilst I’m out and about.
However, I do know that the best lenses for myself as an ‘adventure photographer’ or ‘content creator’ are the Canon EF 50mm f1.8 and CANON EF-S 10-18 mm f/4.5-5.6, these have managed to capture every image I’ve needed when out exploring although I’m sure there are many other preferable lenses out there.
Every day I open my Instagram to some sensational shots captured by some incredibly talented photographers, all shooting with their preferred gear and lenses that suit their adventures.
I’d say find what works for you, it’s all trial and error, don’t expect to pick it all up straight away and have everything perfect.
I would also advise downloading Adobe Lightroom and practising your editing skills. Sometimes it really is all in the edit and finding your unique style that will stand out from the crowd.
Part Three: Brand
Kate Amanda Explores became a brand completely by accident. I’m learning every day and am so thankful for the opportunities I have been given so far, I’m really enjoying the journey.
I think the potential to build the brand full time is there, but I wouldn’t want this to be based purely off of services for other brands, don’t get me wrong I love collaborating with brands and producing content, but my real passion is exploration and making a real difference in the world through research … so I’d say, watch this space.
As the career option of becoming an influencer brand becomes more popular, I feel a lot of people could be in it for the wrong reasons. Make sure you’re not doing it for the ego, make sure you are passionate about your message or your product and ultimately be open to change and diversifying. The world is changing all the time and you need to keep up with this. Always be on the look out for new opportunities and shoot your shot at the right time, but I’d say most importantly, stay true to yourself, stay humble and always keep learning.
You’re here for a reason, everyone has something unique to give so give this, be authentic and real. If you have the passion, motivation and can see a path then you can’t go wrong. If you keep learning and never give up then I promise you that you will absolutely achieve your dream.
There will be a lot of setbacks and rejections, I’m sure there are many more for me to come, but if you practice resilience and understand that you can’t have everything then eventually you will learn that this is all a part of the journey. Don’t expect it to be easy, you don’t get to see the hard work involved behind an influencers’ profile unless they choose to show you, you are seeing the product that they have worked hard to show you; that is the aim after all.
I am starting to get a firm plan in place to really align my goals and objectives. I would love to continue collaborating with adventurous brands but perhaps on a more personal level where we work together and carry the collaboration forward throughout both our journeys.
The future is looking really exciting now as I embark on a new journey of research and discovery in the academic world, in the new year I will be starting a PhD with research focused on the Brazilian Amazon. This is a dream come true for me, real scientific exploration, I never thought I would make it this far but I’m incredibly excited to see what the future brings, who knows … maybe I could write a book.
As a huge advocate for positive mental health, I think a connection with nature and the outdoors is paramount to living a healthy lifestyle. There are so many scientific reports and findings out there that prove the positive correlation between nature and mental health, it’s so important that we look after our environment, even if it’s just for our own wellbeing!
I’d say my biggest challenge at the moment is finding the time to do everything that I need and want to do in a day. With my lifestyle, I find it very difficult to keep in touch with friends and family, and also to keep on top of looking after myself. I often find myself quite sleep deprived which doesn’t help with staying productive!
I think my biggest hurdle will be time management and staying on top of my game. My priorities will have to alter and I’ll have to create more fixed routines as I juggle my career, research and adventure goals. It will be hard to avoid that burn out phase, but I know if I stay in the present moment and keep working, it will all come together!
Kate Booth is a passionate adventurer and explorer based in the UK. Using a skillset that involves scrambling, climbing, scuba diving and hiking, she finds no limits to her adventures. Now ready to make her mark in the academic community, Kate is ready dive into the world of research as she takes on a PhD based in the Brazilian Amazon.
Alongside exploring, Kate is a strong advocate for positive mental health as she shares her experiences, techniques and ways of thinking to help promotive a positive mindset. Instagram @kateamandaexplores
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