Had you asked me aged seven what I wanted to be then; ‘explorer, inventor and adventurer’ was the response. Turns out I had things pretty well worked out as a boy!
Voluntary work in various South American countries and a Geography degree certainly tapped into these elements of my boyhood dreams. But subsequently working 9-5 in an office from 2000-2005 nearly killed me. I and my colleagues yearned to be outdoors more, and every lunch time spent marching around the green just wasn’t cutting it. I needed more wild.
After a stint as a shepherd/assistant zoo keeper (I can tell you about it around a campfire), I became the Technical Officer within Tearfund, as part of their international disaster relief activities. Within the Logistics Unit I managed a team responsible for the practicalities of operating a global 4×4 vehicle fleet, emergency communications equipment, and remote power supplies. Engaged in adventure with purpose, technical problem solving, and thriving in challenging environments (physically and politically) makes me tick.
The balance of time spent defusing spreadsheets and grappling with emails still outweighed the time raising radio masts in the jungle or training colleagues to winch Landcruisers out of the mire. I still yearned for more wild.
Becoming a Dad in 2008 crystallized for me the importance of access to the wild as a key part of helping my children grow up to be daring, resilient, and well rounded characters. I also realised that access to natural spaces where we could light fires, carve wood and explore, was very rare in the UK, without access to private land.
In 2012 I began a new journey as a freelancer, eager to tap into the range of activities I feel made for. Delivering Disaster Relief Training for humanitarians (helping them stay safe, and operate effective logistics in challenging situations) remains a key aspect of Nathan Beard Ventures, through my experience of travelling and working in different parts of the world. I am proud to be a member and Associate Trainer for RedR. A season working with International Charity Restored deepened my appreciation of the global challenge of ending violence against women, and I am glad to be counted as a First Man Standing.
Realising that Bushcraft has been a major passion of mine for years, I then embarked on a 2 year training course at Woodland-Ways School of Bushcraft & Survival to grow my skills and experience. But where could I really practise and share this?
Amazingly, through old family friends the opportunity arose for me to access a beautiful private woodland estate; and to do the things I loved. Thus Wild Ventures was born.
I am inspired to be a member of Christ Church Fulham, a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and member of the Scientific Exploration Society. I love being outside, and am actively pursuing growing in character as a man. I love that my faith, family and passions require me to be increasingly adventurous. The natural world is amazing. So are relationships. I help people connect deeper by giving them a wild space.
Here are some of the amazing places I have been privileged to work and visit