Travelling Tradies was created for Tradies by a Tradie.
I'm Adam Valastro, Founder of Travelling Tradies & a Qualified Plumber by trade. I worked in the construction industry for nearly a decade, earning good money and in a 'stable' job. From the outside in, it looked like all 'roses and dandelions', but from the inside out, I was absolutely miserable.
Working 70+ hour weeks, constantly on the edge of burn out and using band-aid solutions like drugs and alcohol to 'fill' the void inside myself, I fell into a deep depression. After two fellow tradies took their own lives within a week, it was the straw that broke the camel’s back for me.
I decided enough was enough.
I spontaneously resigned from my job, booked a one-way ticket to South America and disappeared overseas. I had a non-negotiable goal for myself, I wanted to be overseas for a minimum of six months. Within a month, I had spent a third of what I had saved. Low on funds, but wanting to continue travelling, I decided to offer and exchange my skills to hostel owners I was staying at - for food, accommodation and experiences. As a result, I travelled for nearly 3 years to 11 countries, spending less than AU$12,000.
Money aside, the benefits that were gained from this experience made me think less about myself and more about others. Travel not only expands the mind but also the soul, and my perspective of people, places, the world, other cultures and what's important in the world dramatically changed.
My understanding of myself, the importance of my mental health and the things I wanted to do to truly live and enjoy my life rose to the surface and the priority of ensuring that I lived life with 100% drive and enthusiasm for a cause I truly believed in became the forefront.
Upon returning home, it was my mission to help other Tradies have an epic adventure, improve their health & well-being and become a global-local as I had. I realised that I was not alone in my initial mental health challenge. Through research and statistics, I uncovered that 1 in 4 Tradies Suffer with a Mental Health challenge of some degree, and that reasons such as burn-out from working like a dog, having to live up to the 'macho' image, toxic workplace environments, the pressure from employers, friends and family and unfulfillment in themselves which usually leads to drug and alcohol dependency are the root cause for most of it.
BUT we also had to address that Tradies weren't able to get off the 'hamster wheel' so easily and added to this, the pressures and compounded effect of:
• A "macho" culture in the industry where vulnerability or pain is seen as a weakness
• Feeling burn-out, guilt from employers and family (everyone thinks you're crazy), and being uninspired by their jobs
• Working long weeks and not making time for themselves or their families
• Toxic workplaces resulting in stress, depression, drug and alcohol dependency
• Stuck in 'normality', a routine and unsure of how to break free and truly live life
• Unable to just quit their job and head overseas (job security and other commitments 'outside' of their control)
What We Are Trying to Do?
• Build a movement, a community, a TRIBE
• Impact mental health statistics in the construction industry
• Reduce suicide statistics in Australia and enable opportunities for people to take a break and be aware of their mental health
• Remove the barriers of the 'hamster wheel' of working
• Create opportunities for travel 'paying' with their skills globally
• Build the technology to facilitate flexible working on a global scale
Our Adventure So Far...
Here are some highlights