Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Why We Travel, Especially Now

The following is by Tom Cole, who produces the elegantly written Geographic Expeditions newsletter and catalog. In light of lay-offs, 401(k)'s that are more like 201(k)'s, and the lack of consumer confidence, this made me want to pack my bags.

"We hardly need tell you that the financial seas are a bit choppy. And if your boat has sprung a leak or two, the last thing you need is for us to tell you that spending a lot of dollars on a journey afar is necessarily a fine, what-the-heck thing to do. We have 401(k) plans, too. Yet we have some thoughts about travel in these times that you might find interesting.

"First, we figure that if we're going to spend money, we might as well enrich ourselves. And there's hardly a better path to enrichment than on the road. That's our theory, at least. Of course, we're merrily swimming in a sea of subjectivity. We're travelers. And if we couldn't visit places like the Galápagos, Tibet, Kenya, Patagonia, Mongolia, Costa Rica, etc., we'd get on a Greyhound and head for Nevada's Ruby Mountains, a little near-Arctic town in far northern Saskatchewan, New York City, or some such wondrous place. And since you're reading this newsletter, we assume you've got a more or less chronic hankering to hit the road, too.

"Second, we believe strongly that travel offers a magnificent return on investment. Big-screen plasma televisions are fine, and that gorgeous stainless-steel mega-refrigerator is dandy, but travel is an inexhaustible font of heartening memories. You know this well, from experience. We remember our first trip to Europe, our first sight of Mount Everest, that little guy in Cairo who led us around by the hand to meet his family, the Maasai tracker in Kenya whose gentle grace was so touching, the almost shockingly blue sky of Mongolia...Our memories are brilliantly textured and rich, and they will warm us on a cold, dreary night. (And the older we get, the warmer those memories become, as you may have noticed.)

"Third, travel is a nearly matchless way to bond with family and friends old and new. If we put a little effort into it, travel opens our hearts and minds, and draws us closer to our fellow humans. How many times have you heard a happy family remember "That time we went to..."?

"And fourth: travel, rain or shine, is the highest form of re-creation, as our guy Seamus O'Banion often says. As soon as you lock the door and get in the car to drive to the airport, you are who you want to be. And these days (not to be too facile about it), it's very re-creative and restorative to take a trip and create a person who is not (praise be) fixated on the 24-hour news cycle and the ups and downs of the Dow, but rather is open to the world and its immense ability to give joy to those who seek it."

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Edge of Never book signing at SIA Show, Jan. 28

It's trade show season again. While I'm in Salt Lake attending the Outdoor Retailer Show, LEKI USA, makers of Ski, Trekking and Nordic Walking poles is busy here and, next week, will be busy in Las Vegas, presenting their new lines.

If work takes you to the Ski Industries America trade show next week, here's an event you may want to attend:

Author and journalist William A. Kerig, a professional skier for 10 years and co-producer of Steep, a feature documentary about big-mountain skiing, will appear with skiing icon Glen Plake at a book signing event in the LEKI USA booth (no. U88) at noon on Wednesday, Jan. 28.

Kerig’s book, The Edge of Never, is the saga of world-famous skier Trevor Peterson’s death in Chamonix in 1996, and the attempt by his 18-year-old son, Kye, to conquer the same deadly couloir that killed his father.

The SIA Show is closed to the public, so you need to be in the industry or need to befriend a local retailer, to get you in.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Great day to work on a book

People are in a panic here in southern Connecticut – the supermarkets are jammed - as the locals await a winter storm that promises to dump oh, maybe 5-7 inches. Ha! I've got more than that in the freezer section of the refrigerator. The cross-country skis are ready to hit the local golf course, so meanwhile it's a great time to immerse myself in writing my first book.

"You Want to Go Where?" provides insight into the adventure marketing field from the perspective of 25 years advising and promoting adventurers, explorers and corporate sponsors. The book covers a range of projects, from world class expeditions by Will Steger, Paul Schurke, and Col. Norman D. Vaughan, to some of the more oddball expeditions ever conceived, including a sailor planning to remain at sea for 1,000 days (a record). It will be both a great read about past expeditions, and advice to the budding adventurer or explorer on how to launch their own trips and possibly get someone else to pay for it. The publisher is Skyhorse Publishing in New York. Publication is set for Summer 2009.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Welcome to the Expedition News blog

After 15 years covering expeditions I know that a lot of interesting news comes up in between publication of each monthly issue of Expedition News. Check in with this new EN blog from time to time for latest skinny.

Stay tuned this summer for the publication of "You Want to Go Where?," my book on adventure marketing with tips on how to get someone to pay for the trip of your dreams. It's already listed on Amazon so I guess I better get cracking. My college age daughter suggests I do what she does when working on papers: "pull an all-nighter." Uh, maybe not.