“Don’t be afraid to travel farther than your own expectations,” said fifth-year social ecology major, Giancarlo Raymundo.
When Raymundo is outside the classroom, he is always actively working or planning business ideas. Unlike most other college students who try to get work-study or typical on-campus jobs, he set out to only do things that he’s passionate about. One of his odd side jobs is a Nature Expedition Leader at Green Lake. Always one to break new ground and stay busy, Gian also spends weekends making money as a bartender and finds time to be a beer homebrewer in his hometown of Corona.
“I have always loved the outdoors, breathing fresh air, trekking through the forests and drinking good beer,” he said.
He has spent the past two years working at Green Lake. After visiting often and getting to know a lot of people in the area, he was asked to work there by a friend who organizes group hiking trails and expeditions. It’s a great spot to enjoy the beauty of nature and he has a cabin in Green Lake during winter break and summer vacation.
From his experience travelling, hiking and exploring the outdoors as a kid, Raymundo has learned to not be afraid of the unexplored. He recalls going to Yosemite Park as one of the best experiences, as he he got the opportunity to be free in nature and open his eyes to the world of environmental ecology. This interest turned into his passion to always learn more and gain insights about nature.
“While most friends were playing video games and going to the mall, I set out to be different and go to parks, climb trees and roll down hills; it was an amazing time not following the cultural norms,” he said.
Raymundo’s favorite hobbies include hanging out with friends, nature and spending time every month homebrewing and creating his own beers to take on his camping and expedition trips.
“My first love was stouts because of their creaminess and smoothness like soda, but soon I learned to love drinking all sorts of styles, especially IPA, or India Pale Ales,” said Raymundo.
Being a little business-savvy, and along with some help, he made his own Kickstarter fund to start homebrewing.
“I didn’t have tons of money, but I had a lot of friends who were willing to help invest in my passion for beer, and anyone who donates gets some of my brews,” he said.
Raymundo even spent time creating a business plan and calls his product Kucho IPA, with a wolf as his logo.
As well as working at home, he brings his equipment to his cabin where he brews and works on mastering his craft. His inspiration is to create, and his true motivation lies in being able to enjoy working for himself.
Thinking that bartending would be the next step, Raymundo got in touch with some homebrewing friends who had already worked as bartenders. He began working as a bartender and found that it was the perfect balance of work and play.
“Since I needed a little extra money, bartending at a beer bar was the best side gig I thought I could get and now I get paid to pour beer for friends and cool people.”
Although he enjoys his different jobs, he admits it’s not always a walk in the park. Each comes with its own challenges and drawbacks.
“When I brew, sometimes I ruin a batch of beer or I end up with a lot less than I planned on, but it’s all a part of the process of mastering a craft,” he looked back.
Likewise, he notes some crazy experiences and times when he’s encountered a few wild animals on his hiking expeditions. Sometimes, he gets so caught up in his passions that he forgets that he’s a student first and needs to focus on his studies more.
“Although it took me five years to finish school here at UCI, I’m a lot more empowered and not afraid to take chances on things that I like, and four years ago I doubt I would have been as open-minded.”
His experience has taught him the value of great friends and professors who helped shape his interest in social ecology and the environment. While his side jobs are not as related to his field of study, they are a rewarding venture.
“I do what I love and it doesn’t become work anymore, it continuously fuels me to keep striving for my personal success.”