Jobs in adventure: Urban Adventures tour guide

For tour operator Kent Cuthbert, adventure is his 9-5.
Participating in an adventure race in Lorne © Kent Cuthbert
By Red Bull Australia

You don't have to head out of the big cities to find adventure, you know. Kent Cuthbert is living proof. Having operated the Melbourne arm of global adventure tour company Urban Adventures since 2010, the Canadian has forged a path that sees him indulging his inner adrenaline-junkie on an almost daily basis.

He made the switch from a big, serious corporate job because he wanted to spend more time outside and being active. And now, he gets to take travellers from all over the world on seriously fun adventures. So if you're reading this from behind a suit and tie - fret not. There's hope for you yet!

Setting up for an Urban Adventure in Melbourne © Kent Cuthbert

Kent! Where are you from, where do you live, and what do you do?

I’m Kent Cuthbert, originally from Toronto in Canada I’ve lived in Melbourne, Australia for 12 years. I operate Melbourne Urban Adventures

How did you get the job with Urban Adventures in the first place? Had you worked in a similar area before?

My former career was in marketing working in an office environment for a big multinational not even remotely similar! My initial move away from the corporate world was to take over an existing kayak tour business. Urban Adventures approached me shortly afterwards.

What made you want to make the switch from the corporate world? 

My time working in marketing was rewarding but I knew it wasn’t what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I’ve always been passionate about adventure and sport. My hobbies over the years have included triathlon, cycling, running, kayaking, and outrigger canoeing. Basically anything that gets me outside, active and in nature!

What does your job entail on a daily basis?

My days at work are quite varied, but might include a mix of admin, planning and meetings in the morning, then leading a kayak or bike tour later in the day.

Cycling, Queenstown, New Zealand © Kent Cuthbert

What's your favourite thing about your job?

Just meeting like-minded people from all over world. We get a mix of locals and tourists on our tours, but everyone tends to be similar in that they're all seeking an off-the-beaten-path activity.

I absolutely love seeing the way locals react when they’re seeing their own city in a new way and exclaim “Where am I!?” when they’ve been in the area dozens of times but are seeing it from a completely different perspective.

Do you get up to much in the way of adventure in your spare time?

Yes! I definitely enjoy adventure activities in my spare time. Whether it’s simply a trip out to the nearby hills to go mountain biking, or bigger trips overseas. In the past couple of years I've been cycling in the South Island of New Zealand; joined an outrigger canoe race along the Nepali coast in Kauai, Hawaii; and tackled a long-distance triathlon on a small Japanese island called Miyako Jima.

What, in your mind, is the definition of adventure? Is it possible to have adventures in everyday life?

I think adventure is when you explore the unknown or take yourself out of your comfort zone. You can definitely do that in everyday life - whether you explore a new route on your daily commute or try a new activity, like kayaking. Just breaking out of your routine and challenging yourself can lead to all sorts of adventures close to home.

Outside of work and everyday life, what's the best adventure you've ever embarked on?

Probably the Escape from Alcatraz triathlon in San Francisco. You get to swim in San Francisco Bay next to Alcatraz Island, ride around the nearby hills and do this incredible run along the beach.

Do you have any advice for those who might want to get into more adventurous jobs themselves?

I think if you follow your inner spark and do something that really lights you shines through. And sharing that enthusiasm with others is infectious. For me, the attitude and passion are probably the most important attributes, I love working with people who seem like they’d be doing what they’re doing whether it was their job or not.

Thanks Kent!

Got the itch? Set off for an adventure in Melbourne with Kent and Urban Adventures.

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