If you visit the store on a regular basis, you’ve probably heard rumblings about Adventure Bound’s new expansion into destination travel. In the past three years, Adventure Bound’s owners and staff have traveled either independently or together to the Peru, the southern part of the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, the Patagonia region of Chile, Columbia, Guatemala, Panama, and Nicaragua Through these forays, we have been forming partnerships and solidifying relationships to will pave the way for Adventure Bound Destinations.
We have a lot of reasons for expanding into destination travel. It’s no surprise that owning a brick and mortar retail store is tricky when faced with the challenges of a competitive online retail environment. But our decision to expand into destination travel is driven by a motivator much deeper than economics. It goes straight to the heart of our core values.
When John’s parents first started Adventure Bound, it was a camp to take kids into the outdoors. Whether on skis, bikes, carrying packs or paddling a canoe, Adventure Bound’s mission was to get kids out of their comfort zone. John’s childhood stories include hiking portions of the Appalachian trail, Adirondack climbs, canoeing, and even a bike trip across England with Adventure Bound kids.
The next chapter in the history of Adventure Bound Destinations includes Mud, Sweat and Gears owner, Miguel Azcarate. Almost 30 years ago, John joined Miguel and Ellicottville local, Scott Cant, for a ski camp and ski races in Chile. Later that year, John worked in a bar for six months in Miguel’s hometown of San Sebastian, Spain. In San Sebastian, John’s passion for amazing food, language study and global travel was solidified. He then went on to spend two years working with Lori and Bill Northrup’s company, Stride Tool, expanding their company’s distribution in Latin America. During this time, John lived in Santiago, Chile and Guadalajara, Mexico with extensive travel throughout Latin America.
While John was increasing his fluency in Spanish and deepening his roots with the Latin culture, Christy was studying Russian and worked with a non-profit organization called Friendship Ambassadors. Friendship Ambassadors organized cultural tours for performing groups during the Cold War era. Christy’s job was to organize tours for American performing groups traveling behind the Iron Curtain and to accept up to Eastern European performing groups into the U.S. As part of her work with Friendship Ambassadors, Christy had the opportunity to work as a tour guide in Russia, Estonia, Poland, Hungary, the former Czechoslovakia, Romania, Bulgaria and the former Yugoslavia.
When John and Christy met, a shared passion for international travel, great food, and coffee was the catalyst for their relationship. They hiked the Inca Trail in Peru for their honeymoon, returned to Peru to summit El Misti in Arequipa, and summited Aconcogua in Chile.
With Adventure Bound Destinations, we have the opportunity to share our passion for travel! These are some concept that set us apart from other travel companies:
- A place is more about its people than its monuments, museums, and churches. Our goal with Adventure Bound Destinations is to create opportunities for authentic cultural connections. We aren’t going to be another tour company shepherding people between points of interest from the comfort of an air-conditioned bus. Yes. We will visit point of interest. But our goal is that our customers walk away with a personal connection that is much more impactful than the trip to Machu Picchu.
- Authentic travel includes the good, the bad and the ugly. One of the most poignant moments in a person’s life is the moment when you travel to a 3rd world country and discover that you are not the giver but the receiver. This statement will only truly make sense when it happens to you. Whether it’s a family offering their meager share of bread or discovering the joy of celebrating New Year’s Eve in a Mexican barrio, we are humbled and grateful for those moments when the teacher becomes student.
- Travel should change you. If a trip to an international destination doesn’t change you, you might as well go to Disney. Yes, that sounds harsh. No, we have nothing against Disney. But international travel should be the exact opposite of Disney. One of our favorite adventure traveler’s is Anthony Bourdain, who says, “The journey changes you. It should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, your consciousness, your heart and on your body. You take something with you and, hopefully, you leave something good behind.”
Anthony Bourdain had some great other perspectives that are aligned with with many of our goals for Adventure Bound Destinations, as described in this article in San Francisco Chronicle’s June 11, 2018 blog post in Travel / Leisure.
If you would like to learn more about the trips offered by Adventure Bound Destinations, be sure to fill out our contact form.