“Pushing Rubber Downhill” by Adam Piggott

It is a great pleasure when a riverguide replaces paddle with pen for a moment and share with us his rich experiences which he gained on different continents doing this job. We love these books and so we are pleased to present this one.

Pushing Rubber

If you look at the back cover of the book “Pushing Rubber Downhill” by Adam Piggott” you will read this description:

“… When Adam Piggott rode his motorbike across Australia chasing a girl he barely knew, he didn’t understand much about anything at all. He wanted to change his life but he didn’t know how, and he didn’t know what to change. But the girl was the catalyst that forced him out of his comfortable existence. This is the story of how a young man with no direction ended up working as a riverguide in a range of exotic locations around the world. And on the way while battling crazy bosses, fearsome rivers, and hordes of charlatans, thieves, and witch doctors, he learnt what it is to truly effect change in oneself. Told with humour and honesty, Piggott shows how it’s possible for a young man to end up in extraordinary circumstances through a willingness to take a chance instead of settling for the safe option …”

This introduction awakens the imagination and the desire to find out more about the adventures that he led in his life. It certainly motivated us interview Adam Piggott to find out a little more and to better understand the book.

Hi Adam, you’ve done an excellent job of writing a book about something we all so love. A large number of our members are working as riverguides, but very few of them are writers. So what has motivated you to put your story into a book?

The idea for the book began over seven years ago when I told a brief version of the story on an online forum. I received a huge response from people all around the world, (the thread received over 500,000 hits and over a thousand comments). A professional editor contacted me and encouraged me to write the story in book form. I worked with the editor for two years. We wrote four drafts of the book, so I actually wrote the entire thing four times. It was a lot of work but I wanted to do the best book I could.

What is the core of the book?

While the theme of the book is a rafting memoir, the core of the book is a message on how it is possible for a person to change their life when they don’t know what it is that they want to do. How do we get from one point to another in life when we don’t know that the other point even is a possibility? The answer is to put yourself out there, to accept challenges, and to have the courage to say yes when most people would say no. At the start of the book I am chasing a girl across Australia on a motorbike. I have no job, no home, and I am not a riverguide. By the end of the book I am working as a riverguide in Italy. The story of the book is how I made this journey when I didn’t know where I was going.

Do you recommend the life of a riverguide?

I think being a guide is a wonderful job for young people. You learn how to manage people, how to deal with stress and difficult situations, how to problem solve, and how to make effective decisions. You work with fantastic people, (the friends I made from fellow riverguides are the best and strongest friendships I have ever made), and you get paid to live and work in some of the most beautiful places in the world. However, you are not going to make very much money, so by your mid-thirties it is generally a good idea to transfer your skills to a higher paying profession.

What’s your favourite river?

For customer satisfaction the best river I worked on was the White Nile in Uganda. Nobody ever complained after a day on that river that they didn’t get their money’s worth! But my personal favourite has to be the North Johnston River in tropical Far North Australia. You have to enter by helicopter with your rafts underneath in a big sling, and then you have a 2 or 5 day trip in very difficult and technical class V water in a World Heritage rain forest setting. Spectacular.

What is the one piece of advice you’d offer to the youth of today?

Don’t be a sheep and do what everyone else is doing. People are too focused today on going to university. Get a job where you can learn real social skills. You always have two decisions available to you. Yes and no. Shall I do this? Yes or no. The freedom to have that choice doesn’t mean that you will take it. Have the courage to take the difficult path. There no guarantees but you will most likely have fewer regrets.

That’s good advice. Thank you Adam for setting aside the time to talk to us about your book, we hope that this is just the beginning of your creative work as a writer.

Here is an excellent book for yourself and a great gift for friends, an enjoyable read that will make you laugh while following his wonderful adventures. Enjoy!