10 Jobs That Will Take You on Wild Adventures

A climber rests below Aguja Standhardt, with the west face of Cerro Fitz Roy in the background, in Argentine Patagonia. Rolando Garibotti/Getty Images

Are you the adventurous type? Do you spend your vacations and days off looking for something to do that gets your adrenaline pumping? If so, you've probably already figured out that sitting behind a desk from 9 to 5 isn't your ideal job. You want to be out there, experiencing life and going on adventures — and getting paid for it, too.

Sound too good to be true? Actually, if you look "outside the box," many jobs out there offer not only ways to go on adventures, but in some cases, they provide a way to take other people with you, too. Of course, not all of these jobs are without risk, but we figure that if you're in the market for excitement and adventure, you're likely not too worried about that. We chose 10 jobs that could take you on some wild, fun adventures. Read on to find out what they are.

Wildland Firefighter
Firefighters battle the Woodhouse fire, also being called the Calimesa fire, in San Timoteo Canyon on Oct. 6, 2005, near Calimesa, California. David McNew/Getty Images

A huge threat to our national forests, wildfires cost U.S. federal agencies over a billion dollars per year [source: Job Monkey]. It makes sense, then, that wildland firefighting requires a huge amount of manpower, especially during wildfire season, when forests are dry and ripe for burning. These seasonal jobs take you right into the belly of the beast — fighting fires as well as aiding in preventing them. In addition to specialized firefighter training, you must also be extremely physically fit for this job.

You can take many different jobs in this field. A forestry aide works in fire prevention, thinning brush, digging ditches (to stop fires from moving forward) and conducting controlled burns. "Hotshot crews" set up fire control lines, suppress ground fires, implement fire prevention techniques and may assist in search and rescue operations. Smokejumpers have one of the more dangerous firefighter jobs. They typically travel to specific fires, rather than work in one place. They provide the initial response and jump from aircraft right into forest fires to fight them from within. If you're looking for adventure, you've found it here.

Marine Biologist
Marine biologists holding coral — Maldives © Massimo Brega/The Lighthouse//Vi/Visuals Unlimited/Corbis

Marine biology is the study of plant, animal and microscopic life in the ocean. With pollution and climate change affecting our environment, our marine life also experiences changes. A marine biologist studies these changes and works to address problems. As 80 percent of all life on the planet is found underwater, consider this an important job [source: IMarEST].

As a marine biologist you can find yourself out at sea, working in the field collecting samples and logging hours back in the lab to compile the results of your research. Marine biology offers so many career tracks, opportunities abound for almost anything. Building artificial reefs, designing marine reserves, mapping the geographical area of a species, studying the effects of pollution or chemicals on marine life — the specialties are vast, just like the ocean. And, depending on your interests, you can even take a job in a research capacity, as an environmentalist or as a consultant. Expect to get your feet wet!

Adventure Guide
White-water rafting in Colorado Ben Blankenburg/ThinkStock

If you're looking for an adventure job, this one has "adventure" right in the job description. An adventure guide has the opportunity to enjoy the rush of adrenaline every day, and the bonus of introducing it to new people. No matter where you live, there's probably somewhere (usually a national park area) that has an adventure component. You need to be an expert in your chosen activity and typically need a license to ensure you and your customers' safety [source: Career Planet].

Adventure tour guides lead tourists and adrenaline-seekers on activities like kayaking, white-water rafting, skydiving, horseback riding, zip lining, scuba diving or snorkeling, fishing and even shark diving. As you can see, depending on the area in which you live and your interests, the possibilities are almost endless. As an adventure guide, you need to be friendly, informative, helpful, calm and — most important — trained in first aid and emergency situations.

Adventure Therapist
Adventure therapy usually involves lower-risk activities like ropes courses, rock climbing, camping or white-water rafting. sezer66/ThinkStock

An adventure therapist is more like a psychotherapist with a big helping of adventure guide on the side. You'll find yourself not only as a physical guide, but also an emotional one. Adventure therapy typically focuses on troubled youth, people suffering from depression or post-traumatic stress disorders, people with developmental disabilities and those dealing with addiction. This type of therapy takes people out of their comfort zone and teaches confidence and problem-solving skills.

Adventure therapy usually involves lower-risk activities like ropes courses, rock climbing, camping or white-water rafting. One of the reasons counselors believe adventure therapy works is because it takes participants "out of their heads" and into the moment — you can't do a ropes course if your mind is elsewhere. Then, as the therapist, you sit down with the group and process the experience. Participants can take the confidence and mindfulness learned during their adventure and apply it to their real life.

Park Ranger
Park rangers help preserve the forests as much as possible, while still allowing us to visit and enjoy them. John Lund/Sam Diephuis/Getty Images

The job of a park ranger can bring a new adventure every day. Your duties include keeping the part of the forest in which you work clean and safe and ensuring visitors enjoy a danger-free and responsible visit. Park rangers usually study forestry and conservation and work in national or private parks. Along with everyday duties, rangers also have seasonal and emergency duties. Park rangers help keep forests preserved as much as possible, while still allowing us to visit and enjoy them.

You never know what you might find out there in the forest, plus you get to be outside most of the day, so the job of a park ranger can be exciting, too. During your inspections of the park, you look for blocked trails, potential dangers (like overflowing rivers or potential mudslides) and enforce park rules. You might also clean up campsites and trails in the spring. And a park ranger must always be prepared for an emergency. This includes forest fires, wounded or aggressive animals and human medical emergencies.

Alaskan Crab Fishing
A fisherman smiles and holds a wild Alaskan Dungeness crab (Cancer Magister) in hand in Haines, Alaska. Brian Stevenson/Getty Images

It's one of the more physically demanding jobs in the world, and if you've ever seen the television show "Deadliest Catch," then you know Alaskan crab fishing is one of the wildest jobs around, too. Crabbing in Alaska is indeed the deadliest profession in fishing, although the job has become a bit safer since the North Pacific Fishery Management Council and the State of Alaska implemented a "catch-share" system in 2006 [source: Christie]. Crabbing boats no longer have only 3 days to reach their crabbing quota, so they don't have to rush out during dangerous storms or work sleep-deprived.

If you have the grit and determination to go out on the ice-cold sea for about three months at a time, and you're ready to perform grueling physical work, you'll be rewarded with up to $50,000 per trip [source: Christie]. That doesn't come without a price of its own, of course. Pulling up crab traps is dangerous, with 700-pound (317.5-kilogram) traps, ice-coated decks and the always-present risk of capsizing. But the excitement and money can certainly be tempting.

Travel Writer
A young woman writes in her journal inside Stanley's Copje Tented Camp while on safari in the Mikumi National Park, Tanzania, Africa. Emmerich-Webb/Getty Images

Do you have a yen to travel and a way with words? Add them together and you have the makings for a great travel writer. As a travel writer, you can wind your way around the world or the country, visiting specific destinations and writing vivid descriptions and reviews for readers. And you can do it all on someone else's dime! You need to be independent, courageous and creative and up for anything new and different.

Don't expect to start right off with paid projects, however. Usually you'll need to build up your own portfolio first and publish your stories and photographs online or try to freelance with a local paper. If you don't have the money to travel on your own, become a tourist in your own town. Hone your writing skills by experiencing your local environment through the eyes of an outsider. The job of a travel writer is to bring your passion for travel and new experiences to the minds of those who have never been there.

ESL Teacher
A Latino teacher instructs an ESL (English as Second Language) class at Pace High School in Brownsville, Texas. Many of the students at Pace come from across the border in Matamoros, Mexico. © Erich Schlegel/Corbis

Teaching English as a second language (ESL) isn't a high-paying job, but you can affect people's lives and immerse yourself in a new culture at the same time. For many students and adults in some countries, learning English is the pathway to a better-paying job or career. In return for your teaching skills, you typically travel and live for free, learning and enjoying a new way of life.

Working abroad as an ESL teacher used to be taken less seriously than it is today. Some companies or schools now make teachers sign a contract with a deposit, to cut down on the amount of teachers who decide the country isn't for them and leave partway through the school year [source: Beck]. However, for those who enjoy teaching, traveling and learning new customs, teaching ESL can be extremely rewarding. Look into reputable schools and programs with high consumer ratings. You can also find a variety of programs with different lengths — often ranging from two weeks to several months.

Deep Sea Diver
A deep-sea diver watches a humphead wrasse (Cheilinus undulatus) while scuba diving in the Red Sea. © Jeffrey L. Rotman/Corbis

Even though today remote-operated machines perform many deep underwater tasks, these robots can't completely replace human deep sea divers. Exploring the unknown depths of the sea is not for the faint of heart. Divers need to be in top physical shape, able to remain completely calm in the face of danger, and (obviously) have excellent swimming skills. You'll also need certification in various kinds of diving, like closed bell, surface, and SCUBA [source: National Careers Service].

Deep sea divers perform many different types of jobs, depending on where they're working. Divers work deep underwater for many industries, including: offshore gas and oil pipelines, scientific research, filmmaking or stunt work, forensic work for law enforcement, archaeology, civil engineering or leading recreational dives. In the case of offshore saturation diving, a deep sea diver might live for up to 28 days in an underwater pressure chamber to get his or her body adjusted to the water pressure of the ultra deep sea.

Wildlife Photographer
Photographing an Emperor penguin (Aptenodytes forsteri) Weddell Sea, Antarctica. Kim Heacox/Getty Images

Wildlife photographers capture the most stunning pictures of the wild — allowing us a view into a world we may otherwise never see. They put themselves and their cameras into the middle of the action, whether it's a forest, a jungle, a desert or a plain. Wildlife photographers travel around the world and work to give the rest of us a taste of the habitats and lives of wild animals. It's a job that can run from tranquil to dangerous in a minute.

Most wildlife photographers work as freelancers. You'll build up a portfolio of photos in hopes of selling them, or publications will hire you and send you to specific locations. Wildlife photographers need a certain set of qualities in addition to sharp photography skills. Outdoor survival techniques, patience, quick reflexes (that perfect shot is only going to happen for a split-second) and the ability to move silently and inconspicuously, along with the ability to understand animal behavior, all make a good wildlife photographer great.


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Author's Note: 10 Jobs That Will Take You on Wild Adventures

If you can't possibly see yourself behind a desk from 9 to 5, check out an adventure job. Once in a lifetime experiences, and you can satisfy the adrenaline junkie in you while still earning money. Unfortunately, I am not one of those people. My perfect workday is sitting on my couch, pecking away at my computer, churning out pages of content. Really! Your work uniform might be safari clothes and boots. My work uniform is usually pajamas and cat hair. To each her own, I say.

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  • Beck, Jessie. "Teaching ESL: Travel Opportunity or Serious Job?" Go Overseas. May 2, 2012. (Nov. 28, 2014) http://www.gooverseas.com/blog/teaching-esl-travel-opportunity-serious-job
  • Career Planet. "Tourist Guide: Adventure." 2014. (Nov. 28, 2014) http://www.careerplanet.co.za/careers/tourism-hospitality-gaming-and-lotteries/tourism/tourist-guide-adventure
  • Chicago Tribune. "Travel Writer." 2014. (Nov. 28, 2014) http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/careers/sns-jobs-cool-jobs-travel-writer-story.html
  • Christie, Les. "'Deadliest Catch' not so deadly anymore." CNN. July 27, 2012. (Nov. 28, 2014) http://money.cnn.com/2012/07/27/pf/jobs/crab-fishing-dangerous-jobs/
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  • The Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology. "How About Marine Biology?" 2014. (Nov. 28, 2014) http://www.imarest.org/membership/education-careers/careers-in-the-marine-profession/how-about-marine-biology
  • JobMonkey. "Forest Service Firefighter Employment Outlook." 2014. (Nov. 28, 2014) http://www.jobmonkey.com/parks/html/outlook.html
  • National Careers Service. "Diver." 2012. (Nov. 28, 2014) https://nationalcareersservice.direct.gov.uk/advice/planning/jobprofiles/Pages/diver.aspx