It's Not The Destination: 5 Explorers Who Found Themselves On The Journey


When we hear the word “explorer,” we often think of it in the traditional sense — wandering through forests, climbing mountains or backpacking up the coast. Careers abound in the outdoors, but in the professional sense, there are Explorers of all kinds. A visual artist can stretch the imagination. An actor may push the boundaries of their body or their voice. And sure, an outdoor adventurer may travel to places unknown, and take others with them.

Whatever your passion, there is always room for exploration. In fact, the Explorers on today’s list would tell you that allowing passion to drive your career can lead to amazing possibilities. Read on as they share the niches they found by keeping their goals in sight and forging ahead.

Joseph Hanseling

First up, Joseph Hanseling takes us back to that idea of literal exploring. Those careers are still out there if you look. His job at the University of Nebraska Omaha outdoor adventure center has taken him from the mountains of Utah and Colorado to the vast forests of Minnesota. Along the way, he learns new skills to tackle the terrain and passes them on to less experienced trailblazers.

When Hanseling, the adventure center’s Assistant Director, isn’t leading trips in the field, he’s in the office planning the next one. Or he’s making connections on the ground in what he calls a very relational business. While climbing and backpacking may seem intimidating, Hanseling stresses the fact that it’s not all just for super-campers decked out in Patagonia, but for anyone interested in learning new skills.

Hanseling talks about his love for the great outdoors in our video interview.

Frank Carpenter

A childhood trip to Waikiki’s Big Blue sent surf shop owner Frank Carpenter on a collision course with permanent oceanside residence. After growing up in small-town Idaho and graduating college, Carpenter lived on the West Coast working suit-and-tie jobs to support his blossoming passion for surfing. One more trip to Hawaii, this time with a group of surf buddies, confirmed his need to make the sport his life.

Two weeks later, he got a job for Kona Boys, the shop he now owns. He worked his way up to manager, then stakeholder, then full-on owner of the company — all because he persevered and centered the lifestyle he wanted to live.

Read our interview with Carpenter on his journey to the island and his laid-back daily routine.

Shelby Parks

When photographer and videographer Shelby Parks moved to Los Angeles, she had no idea how the film industry worked. She had just graduated from the Kansas City Art Institute and looked to launch her creative career. She says for the first year, she divided her main gigs and her personal work into separate piles — later realizing having one strong style will get you hired.

Today, Parks works as a full-time editor for a makeup company while working on numerous side and freelance projects for the likes of Pepsi and Sketchers. In that time, she has explored and honed her voice, delving deeply into abstract mood, motion and light.

Parks talks more about finding inspiration in nature and Hans Zimmer in our video interview.

Edward Mazzarella

Our oceans face numerous challenges from pollution every day, including toxic waste runoff and massively accumulating plastic. Surfrider Foundation’s Edward Mazzarella has channeled his passion for the ocean into fighting for it. With more than 140 chapters and clubs around the globe, the organization champions environmental policies, engages in legal battles, brings awareness to what threatens the ocean and helps raise money for these efforts.

“We have an appetite for adventure and we all share a common passion. We love and appreciate our oceans, waves and beaches.”

Since joining Surfrider in 1992, Mazzarella has helped the foundation grow from 19 unorganized chapters to the strong organization it is today. Read more from the Director of Chapters & Clubs about what Surfrider does, how he got involved and how you can too.

Greg Cipes

Voice actor Greg Cipes is an explorer of a different pitch. As a young boy traveling the country with nine brothers and sisters, he learned he could manipulate his voice by throwing it through the family camper intercom. While his antics often ticked off other motorists, his father predicted one day he would do cartoons.

The elder Cipes had it right, and today his son voices characters for popular television shows like Teen Titans and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. He says the most important thing for young people looking to voice-act is to just start doing it. Take seminars, create your own characters and develop your repertoire.

Cipes recalls his voice acting journey and inhabiting the Beast Boy character in this interview.

Want to learn more about the Explorer lifestyle? Take our Lifestyle Assessment to see where you fit in and what professional paths might suit the skills and passions you’re already developing. (Main photo by René Reichelt on Unsplash.)

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