Wanna Live The Dream? I Did.
Bored with life in the fast lane? Had enough of the suits, stress and the weather? Want to change your Life? Why not become a PADI Scuba Diving Instructor on Koh Tao?
PADI Course Director Justin Mayers did just that!
Justin initially completed his PADI Divemaster course with Crystal Dive in 2001. Residing on Koh Tao for the past 14 years, Justin talks about his favourite aspects of being a PADI Instructor.
10 Things YOU Can Do As A PADI Instructor
I have been a PADI Instructor since 2001 and have been actively working in the SCUBA Diving Industry here on Koh Tao. I wanted to share with you some of the key things I have done over the years that I think might appeal to people who feel stuck, as I was, in the corporate western world.
1) Work In Exotic Locations
Because of the very nature of SCUBA diving, the majority of pretty, colourful dive sites are located in tropical or sub-tropical regions of the planet. Hot dive destinations are South East Asia, Indonesia, Phillippines, Australasia, Caribbean, Central America and the Middle East. Living and working conditions in each of these areas vary but the dive experiences are amazing.
2) Meet & Teach Different Nationalities
In Thailand we are lucky that there are many different nationalities who tend to holiday here and want to learn to dive. English is the main language that I have, plus a good level of French and a smattering of German and Spanish have helped me immeasurably. To date I have personally taught over 40 different nationalities to SCUBA dive.
3) Learn Cool Stuff To Impress Your Friends
This I didn’t appreciate until one of my ‘holidays’ back to the UK where, whilst watching an awesome BBC documentary on Sharks, I was able to drop in a few things that I have learned during my diving experiences that made my friends’ jaws hit the floor.
Their most common comment was ‘really, wow’.
4) Teach Family & Friends
If you speak to some PADI dive Instructors they will tell you to NEVER teach friends and family as they are a handful! I have very different perspective on this. I love it! When teaching family who are visiting on holiday it is a great opportunity to not only bond more with them but to show them exactly what you do since you dropped out of the rat race.
You might even get a comment from a parent, as I did, along the lines of ‘I’m really proud of you’. Teaching friends is an even bigger pleasure – be they old friends from school, college, Uni or newer friends from travelling or work – they are typically all in awe of you for living in a lush tropical place and diving every day. You can’t beat that!
5) Holiday In Even More Exotic Places
Using Bangkok as a hub there are so many destinations that are affordable and close that I have visited over the years. World class diving locations such a Sipadan in Malaysian Borneo, Phillippine Islands such as Boracay, Negros and Cebu and Pulau Wei in Indonesia have given me some amazing holiday memories.
6) Exchange Your Business Suit For Board Shorts & T-Shirt
Having worked in an office in the City of London for 8 years before arriving in Thailand, I was very accustomed to wearing a suit. I didn’t realise how oppressive this was until I discovered the required ‘suit’ for the PADI Instructor is mainly board shorts and/or a PADI dive centre T-shirt. If I was to wear a polo shirt with a collar I would be smartly dressed!
Shoes are optional..!!
7) Earn Money
Whilst you are never going to become a millionaire teaching SCUBA Diving you will generally earn a good wage compared to the cost of living in your chosen tropical location. Some SCUBA dive Instructors, who can teach fluently in a few different languages, earn an enviable salary even by Western standards. The key thing to realise is that this is a lifestyle choice and not a financial one.
8) Have Amazing Underwater Encounters
There are very few things in this world that can compare to the experience of diving with one of the giants of the sea, the Whaleshark (Rhincodon typus). These gentle giants can live for up to 70 years old, can grow to a length of up to 15 meters and feed predominantly on plankton. It is a truly humbling experience to swim next to these awesome sharks. On the other end of the spectrum is the clown frog fish (Antennarius Maculatus), which grow to around 15cm.
9) Make New Friends For Life
I am still in touch with students of mine from 2001 and we regularly meet up whenever we are in the same place around the world. Facebook has made it very easy to stay in touch with my previous students – I’m now up to around 1,500 friends!
10) Have Fun!
This is possibly the easiest and most obvious thing. It is truly an amazing experience to look forward to going to work – I never had it in the UK but here, teaching diving, it is a regular occurrence.
Over the last 14 years I have been very privileged to have helped transform people’s lives and enrich them immeasurably by introducing them to the underwater world whilst sharing my underwater passion with them.
It’s the best job in the world!
Author: Justin Mayers (PADI CD #472708)