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Team Member Profile: Andrew Stevenson
From his first taste of the outdoors as a reluctant teenager, Andrew Stevenson was hooked. Since those first halting steps he has gone on to do many of the world’s great treks. These days Andrew combines his work at Anaconda’s South Wharf store with regular weekend’s away bushwalking and the occasional overseas jaunt with his partner Louise. We talk to him about his love for the outdoors, his role as the President of the YHA Bushwalking Club in Melbourne, his favourite hikes and, most importantly, which piece of outdoor gear he likes the most.
How did you get into the outdoors?
Just by accident really. My father took me for a hike when I was about 15 – I had no real choice in the matter – but it was something I really enjoyed. Ever since then I have had a keen interest in bushwalking. Then, when I was living down the Peninsula, I joined a bushwalking club, and I really enjoyed the social aspect – meeting different people and getting outdoors.
Is that why you work at Anaconda?
It is, but it is also about maintaining a lifestyle balance. I used to work for a large retail company, and that was a great job and I really enjoyed it, but when I left there I thought about what I really wanted to do – and I thought, well, I really like the outdoors. So I decided I wanted to get a job that was more of a lifestyle. I had always wanted to work in the outdoors industry, so I decided to give it a go. When Anaconda came along it really suited me and I have loved it ever since!
Do you enjoy selling outdoor gear then?
I do. I love it. Because I’ve owned a lot of it. I had a long involvement in the outdoors before I came to Anaconda, so I had the experience there to back me up. It is hard to get people with field experience these days, so it makes a difference. It makes me feel great to provide the right products for customers based on their adventures and I make sure to get as much information from them to be able to do so. My favourite part of the job is inspiring people.
Are you a bit of a gear junkie?
Yes, definitely. I am a self-confessed gear freak.
Do you have a bit of kit for everything?
Yeah, I do. But I have changed it a bit now, I’ve really honed it. I am trying to get rid of a bit of gear, I keep it really refined now. I just take away the same kit these days that I know does the trick.
Do you have a favourite piece of gear?
Definitely. I would say at the moment it is the Jetboil. I really enjoy it. It suits my lifestyle because I can take it travelling with me as well as bushwalking and I love cooking on the trail!
We know you like big treks, what is your favourite?
I ‘ve done quite a few treks in the last ten years, but my first real big trek – where I went over to Nepal and did the Annapurna Circuit – was just a fantastic experience. I went there not knowing anything about the country, only that it was going to be a great walk, and I just met a really wonderful bunch of people. It was as an organised walk – I actually did two walks while I was over there, one was organised and the other I did on my own. It was an amazing experience: doing a trek that was almost four weeks long, forgetting about all the troubles of the world – you could really immerse yourself in the culture of the area.
You are the president of the YHA Bushwalking Club in Melbourne. A role like that is quite a bit of responsibility, why do you do it?
I like doing things for other people. I like the volunteer aspect, it does take a lot of work, but I like doing something and seeing other people getting enjoyment out of it. I also enjoy running events, I look at it as trying to entertain people.
Our last question Andrew, what do you get most out of being out in the bush?
I find it’s very relaxing, but at the same time it’s also invigorating. When I am outdoors I get lots of ideas; I feel that it’s really good for the brain – and also good for the soul. I enjoy doing it and I never get sick of it. Even if I do a walk just near home, just being outdoors is really good for me.
If you are a keen bushwalker and after experienced advice, then pay Andrew a visit at the South Wharf Anaconda store.