Tom Allwright’s childhood dream of being an AFL star was over before it ever got going. A small taste of the AFL taught him to change the definition of ‘failure’ into ‘discovery’. He lives a new dream where anything is possible. Tom travels the world with a purpose to provide inspiration through unique adventure experiences that you wouldn’t even dream of.
I grew up on a small farm in central Tasmania. I loved being outside, and more importantly, I had a deep passion for fitness and team sports. I was a nuggety kid with big ambitions, probably from the endless hours of chopping wood and picking up rocks so that our paddocks were clear to plant crops. I was the kid who always wanted to be the first to jump off the biggest rock into the water or climb the highest tree. I was 5 when I learnt to drive, and only 10 when I moved out of home and went to boarding school, which gave me the opportunity to pursue my passion in sport. After representing Tasmania at a number of different sports, I got drafted to my favourite AFL team, the Geelong Cats. My football career ended before it really began due to several knee injuries outside of my control, including a knee reconstruction – my dream was over! Or so I thought at the time.
With a devotion to learning, I completed a Bachelor of Commerce and Law at Deakin University. It didn’t exactly fill me with excitement, but it did make my parents very happy. I worked as a personal trainer during my spare time and quickly found out what excited me. It was a passion to motivate and inspire people to go and do something they thought they wouldn’t be able to achieve. International marathons and famous hikes seemed to be the ‘in’ thing. It was my job to prepare them as best I could before we set off on an adventure together – New York Marathon, Kokoda, Everest Base Camp, Kilimanjaro and the list continues.
I founded Adventure Abroad because for a long time, adventure travel had been associated with having to rough it through cold, wet and uncomfortable conditions. We were always told that was just part of the experience. I’d been to Kokoda fifteen times, Everest Base Camp and Kilimanjaro amongst others, and every trip was that typical ‘rough slog’ that was sold as ‘character building’. But deep down, I knew it didn’t need to be this way.
I was hiking towards Mt Everest with a friend and we’d been talking about the opportunities of creating adventure experiences that weren’t limited by our imagination, where anything was possible, and the ‘roughing it’ mantra was not required. Most people would laugh at the ideas that we came up with, but we were confident we’d struck on a winner. Tragically on this same trip, my mate passed away in my arms only days away from our goal. It was in that moment that I realised how quickly it can all be over. He’d moved to Australia from England and told me how much he was in love with his family only the day before he passed away. I now needed to love those closest to me and live my best life not only in honour of my mate, but also in honour of myself and those around me.
Today I get to live our dream, the one most people laughed at.
I get to inspire and motivate people from all corners of the globe to have inspirational adventure experiences. From a long lunch in the Arctic to climbing Africa’s highest peak with Michelin star chefs, to our signature European experiences where your local wine sommelier is never far away. It’s my purpose to show people that
we are only limited by our imagination, and providing unique adventure experiences without needing to ‘rough it’ is my way of communicating this.
There’s a passion and dream inside all of us, my advice is to find it, cultivate it and then run with it!
Check out Tom’s website for more information on Adventure Abroad: https://www.adventureabroad.com.au
The Carousel would like to thank Tom Allwright for his article.