Wish List: Rafting Guide School

Wish List: Rafting

I’ve mentioned before how I almost quit everything to become a rafting guide. Then computers happen (or at least, didn’t go away), I launched my startup WeddingLovely, and ended up not going to New Zealand to become a rafting instructor and travel for the rest of my life.


Not that I regret my current path — working for yourself on your own time is a pretty sweet deal — but I do wish I spent more time outdoors, especially rafting. There’s something about the combination of slow, relaxing floating with adrenaline-filled rapids. Unfortunately, it’s so expensive to go often (at least, for a cheapo like me). However, I might have found a solution.

The rafting company I used for my very first rafting trip has a one week rafting school. Unfortunately not three months like the New Zealand option I was considering, but one week of dedicated rafting might get this bug out of my system — or at least, tamp it down a bit.

Fees are $675 + 8% river use fee (so, ~$729), which doesn’t seem that bad. Unfortunately I don’t know much about other rafting companies in the Sacramento area, so I’m not sure if this is a good price or if it’s a good guide school. All I know is that my original rafting guide said she loved it and highly recommended Mariah, and everyone seemed happy.

So, May 2014: rafting guide school. Not to go into guiding after, but just so I get a week of rafting out of my system, and a potential side career for summers in the future.

Thoughts? Recommendations? Cheers of encouragement? Leave them in the comments!



A few years back I almost changed my entire life. My second parent had just died and I was feeling disillusioned with my job. A friend brought me along on a rafting trip. I was in love. I’ve always had an affinity for water, and the combination of slow, relaxing gliding down a river surrounded by nature with adrenaline-inducing and exciting rapids was just perfect. (Not to mention on my first rafting trip, I did a Class V river — go big or go home, right?)

I also spoke at length with the female guide about her life — spending half a year guiding on the American river, and the other half of the year traveling the world for cheap, occasionally guiding in other places. I. was. convinced.

I immediately started making plans to quit my job, and (since it was the summer and rafting season starts in California in the spring), I would move to New Zealand to join a three-month rafting guide school, where I was guaranteed a job afterwards. I could raft, then travel, then come back to California, and raft some more. I planned this to happen after hiking the John Muir Trail (another thing which I have not done yet), and even went as far as telling my family (who were very unhappy.)

Of course, this didn’t happen. I met someone, fell in love (awww), and started my business (WeddingLovely) which took off. I put away my plans to raft and travel and hike the world in order to be on a computer. I’m only just now getting back into making outdoor trips and adventures a priority. I don’t think I’ll ever completely quit my computer job, but I am considering doing a 1-week guiding course in California this Spring just to get it out of my system. I still raft every now and again (the above picture is from Summer 2012, rafting in Bend, Oregon).

Still, strange to think how different my life would have been had I gone through with those plans.