Today we have a very special guest, Eric Sprinkle is here to tell us all about being a Professional Adventurer!
Check it out!
Q. Tell us a bit about yourself
A. My name’s Eric Sprinkle and I love adventure! I am a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, have traveled the world, won awards for my photographs, and even written three books so far.
I’ve taught Swiftwater Rescue courses for the military, jumped out of planes, sat and watched penguins play, and even spent time visiting spooky castles in Romania. I currently live in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Q. What is a Professional Adventurer?
A. I go out and do crazy looking stuff – safely hanging off cliffs or white-water rafting – where I take photos and video, and then write about, or give talks about what I did. If somebody is bored with life or spending too much time watching TV, they might see a photo of mine, or hear something I said, that motivates them to
go outside and play. Then I’ve done my job.
I get people excited about being healthy and living life, all because I camp on narrow ledges above raging rivers, scramble through slot canyons, run rapids by moonlight, and hike up snowy mountains in shorts. I also lose a lot of sunglasses.
Q. What type of education/training do you have?
Lots! You can’t get a degree in it, but I’ve taken classes for Night Photography, Survival, Wilderness First-
Aid, Rock Climbing, River Rescue, and more. Going out and doing these things with others – watching how they do it first, safely – is a great way to learn many of the skills you need.
Q. Have you always been adventurous?
Always. Climbing trees and jumping off cliffs into water was just how I grew up. Nearby forests in Michigan were magical places to explore and curiosity always pushed me to see and know more about the world.
Q. Tell us about summiting active volcanoes in New Zealand
A. Exciting, but also a bit smelly and tough on your hiking boots. Picture those rocks people pour into grills to make them cook more evenly? Now imagine hiking in them. Lots of them. Up to your ankles, and cutting into your skin, every step. Yup, hiking an active volcano is loads of fun, but you pay for it until you get to the top.
The volcano down range was “going off” at the time, but mine was just smoking. And when the wind shifted so that the smoke hit you? Just forget breathing for a bit. The fumes were really smelly, and made you cough, but at the same time, the views on top were spectacular.
Q. You have a fun (and slightly gross) story about a manatee? Tell us about that experience!
A. Manatees – small, harmless, whale-shaped animals, about the size of your couch – love warm water, and so many of them swim into fresh water springs along the Florida coast during the winter months. If you’re careful not to bother them, you can kayak into the area, and then swim nearby, watching them all napping underwater. Groups of them, babies too, just floating together in the crystal-clear water, occasionally surfacing to catch a breath.
As I was paddling out, one of the younger ones approached my kayak. I immediately froze, trying not to scare him, as he sat there, underwater, just looking up at me. Fun! After a minute, he even came to the surface, right next to me. Amazing! And then, because he had been holding his breath, he exhaled, blowhole pointed straight at me, exhaling fishy smells and some slimy snotty stuff all over.
Uhm, not so amazing…
Q. What was your most dangerous adventure?
A. Every adventure can be dangerous, that’s just how it goes, but as a professional, you are careful to do everything you can to minimize those risks with equipment, training, and experience.
Even then, rafting over a 21ft waterfall was pretty crazy, along with the time I followed a narrow jungle trail past a live military firing range, just to get to a secret beach.
Still, the soccer riot that blew up around me while traveling in Turkey was probably the most dangerous. Never underestimate unhappy soccer fans!
Q. Do you have any advice for our young readers that want to be an adventurer?
A. There is no “off switch” for those that love adventure. We must explore around the next turn, see how deep the water is, or how high we can climb. But there are ways to do all of it safely, and that’s the key. Find an adult, a club at school, or in your community, that will share opportunities for you to go outside and learn to explore safely, and then try everything once!
Occasional adventures are great too. Things like hiking in the woods, or camping out overnight, even in the backyard, can be super scary though! A good idea is to always bring a friend along. You can help each other out, share snacks, and they might see a bird, cool rock, or lost dinosaur that you would have missed.
Even better, bring Mom or Dad along on your adventures with you!
Q. Anything else you would like to add?
A. Nobody starts being an adventurer on day one. Take it slow, get plenty of experience, and learn everything you can about First-aid, Safety, and how to use your equipment. Then, explore as much as you can!
Don’t forget that you don’t have to travel around the world to have adventures, you can start right where you are! Explore nearby woods. Climb those hills. Even paddling nearby lakes are all great ways to practice exploring, exercising safety, and picking up adventure tips that will help you the rest of your life.
Lastly, always try and be respectful when you go adventuring. No matter where you go on planet Earth, it’s someone else’s home. It may be a mouse, or an owl, or someone your age, but it’s always nice when we leave things looking good for them after we go back to our own homes.
Thank you, Eric for sharing your cool adventures with us!
Check out some of Eric’s photos!