We walked down the deep canyon walls of the Zambezi Gorge, and sat into our raft right next the majestic and powerful
As a child I had many experiences in nature, which were to develop a great sense of adventure within me and a powerful connection with our environment.
I first started studying outdoor education back in 2001 at the Castlebar campus of the Galway Mayo Institute of Technology. Going to college was never a thing which particularly interested me, even though I always liked learning. In my final year of secondary school, I decided to take a look at what sort of college courses were on offer. This was a decision that would change my life forever. I discovered a course called outdoor education and decided to apply immediately. Interestingly, I had sat a job suitability test with the career guidance counsellor in our school. The results of the test showed that my ideal job would be an adventure sports leader. The career guidance counsellor, was as unaware of outdoor education as I was, and never knew to mention the course available in Castlebar, Co. Mayo. That’s the thing about outdoor education in
I took an interest in everything that came my way once I started the outdoor course. I graduated in 2004 and along with my degree I also gained qualifications in hill walking, surfing, rock climbing, kayaking, lifeguarding, archery, powerboating, sailing, sea kayaking, canadian canoeing and snorkelling. While in college, I also gained vast experience of the many adventures which can be had both in
I had spent time doing work experience while I was in college and once I graduated I went into the Irish outdoor industry working as a full time outdoor educator and adventure sports instructor. I worked on the shores of Lough Mask, in the isolated
Any opportunities that have arose to travel and develop my adventure and survival skills, I've taken them. I have experienced as much as I could so far in life, all over
My passion for nature and the outdoors has taken me on journeys to many beautiful places, but my favourite place has always been
And so then, in 2007 I returned to Castlebar to do an add-on honours degree in outdoor education. It was a very worthwhile year and gave me new perspectives on where to go next. During the degree year I developed a business idea which was about utilising an organic farm as an outdoor education centre.
After completing college I went to work at “Ballinreeshig Nature Farm” in Co. Cork. While developing my own business ideas within the farm, I also started getting involved with the farming. I gained skills in areas such as horsemanship, beekeeping, organic food production and animal husbandry. The farm produces a range of things including fruit, herbs, vegetables, grain, forestry, eggs and meat. All the work is done with the ethos of adding to the overall biodiversity of the farm, hence the name, “Ballinreeshig Nature Farm”.
During my time as a nature farmer, I had been constantly working towards being able to achieve my dream of offering top quality nature education courses and adventure experiences for everyone.
Unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances my vision for turning an organic farm into an outdoor education centre was not to be realized... At least not as I had planned!
It became apparent that the best way for William O Halloran to move forward, was to create an umbrella under which he could offer many of his skills to others. The new umbrella became “Will and Away”, a mobile outdoor education service which has the flexibility and expertise to cater for the needs of everyone looking to experience what the outdoors has to offer. Through Will and Away, I can now provide top quality nature education courses and adventure experiences on farms, in the woods, at the beach, in schools, up mountains and anywhere really!
I am delighted to be in a position to be able to design and deliver top quality educational adventure programmes for people from all walks of life.
It is important for all outdoor educators to learn from their experiences, and to want to continually improve themselves. Hence, I believe strongly in constantly developing my own expertise through personal experience, learning from others and being a reflective outdoor practitioner.
Thanks to my life experiences, I have a passion for showing others the many things we can learn in the outdoors and I love enlivening people’s awareness of nature.
A day out with Will and Away will introduce you to the many joys of nature, and the many adventurous possibilities which we all need to experience... So let nature take you on a journey… I did!