It's been a while since our last 'Surf Careers' post, but we certainly haven't forgotten about those many awesome ocean women around the world combining their passion with their career. Some of you might be getting ready to start uni in a few weeks or even to start the 'real' job thing. Whatever your situation, a little inspiration never hurt no one! Ready for part 4? This time we speak to Kathryn Curzon (39), another awesome lady currently in New Zealand. She's a communication specialist, author, conservationist and much much more. Read all about how she combines passion, career and the ocean.
Kathryn, what did you become a conservationist?
I studied Ecology and Environmental Biology and wrote theses about the diet of European otters and the social behaviours of great white sharks. I was lucky enough to spend time in Scotland and South Africa during my studies.
Did your love for the ocean influence your choice of studies?
I chose those studies because I wanted to do something to help the environment and hopefully work with the ocean. I didn’t know about marine biology at that time, as it wasn’t very well known.
What did you love most and was there anything you disliked about your studies?
I loved modelling fisheries and the potential impacts of overfishing and climate change on different ecosystems. I wasn’t a fan of the pure maths it involved though! I also really enjoyed the chance to do research overseas. My time in South Africa eventually led to me working and living there as a great white shark safari guide.
"I have my education and voluntary work in the early days to thank for opening doors when I took the big leap to leave the UK."
Fast forward to nowadays, what does your typical working day look like?
I work from home as a content writer and community manager for a company in the travel and scuba diving industry. It is my dream job and my typical days involves hanging out in my home office, writing for various media outlets, doing PR work and scheduling social media. I get to write about all things ocean, diving and shark-related, and work with people all over the world who are passionate about the ocean.
Is the actual work what you expected it would be when you studied the subject?
Yes and no. I expected to be running my own marine conservation cause, which I also do. My husband and I set up a shark conservation cause Friends for Sharks and we spent a year touring the world giving free public talks about shark conservation, the impacts of the media, and overcoming fear. All whilst raising money for charity. It was incredibly challenging, but we loved it and completed 87 events in 8 countries over 10 months, including giving lectures at marine conservation projects in Fiji, Cambodia and Thailand. We presented to over 7000 people and helped many children overcome their fear of sharks.
Who would you recommend these studies or your job to?
I would recommend getting experience as a scuba diving instructor and shark dive guide to anyone who wants to get into ocean-related work in tourism or with sharks. The practical and people skills you gain are well worth investing in. Writing and social media experience are also very useful and open doors to remote working that can be combined with travelling. Plus, if you love writing, it’s perfect.
Has your job or education taken you to places you might not have been to?
Absolutely! I had no idea I would end up jacking in a regular life and career in environmental enforcement in England to travel the world. I went on to live in Egypt, South Africa and New Zealand. I have my education and voluntary work in the early days to thank for opening doors when I took the big leap to leave the UK. Likewise, I wouldn’t have predicted I’d end up publishing books and now be a full-time writer. Life is just incredible. You can achieve anything you put your mind to, so long as you don’t quit and keep smiling.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
I will still be a content writer and I would love to also be a successful author of fiction and non-fiction work. I intend to still be living in New Zealand with my gorgeous husband and plotting our long-term escape to the very top of the North Island, so we can live by the sea and enjoy the marine life up there.
"Use the unexpected mishaps and fears to fuel your fire and make your life something special."
What other advice would you give to people who are looking to combine water sports passion with work?
Don’t listen to people that tell you it’s risky to do marine work or something else out of the ordinary because there are no jobs/money in it. It’s always easier to stay in your safety net but it’s far more fun if you leap, trust yourself, and go for it. Thank the people who tell you to stay in your comfort zone, ignore them and do it. Do it anyway and enjoy the journey.
I have had some massive life-changing ‘Bridget Jones style’ moments, including being left at the almost-altar twice (go me) and being innocently put in a South African jail (which by the way, is not fun). I also used to have a chronic fear of being underwater. Use the unexpected mishaps and fears to fuel your fire and make your life something special. If I can do it anyone can.
Get out there and share positive messages and media about sharks whenever you can, especially with children. They need all the help they can get and there really is nothing to fear.
Also, if you want to hear more about how I turned my life around, go check out No Damage.
or follow Kathryn on social media: