Nancy, could you tell us something about yourself and how did you become interested in setting up Adventure Travel Media Source?
I had been doing general marketing consulting for a variety of clients, including guest ranches, river rafting companies and B&B’s. In the course of this, I realized over many years that the best thing I could do for them as far as marketing was to get editorial coverage for them. I eventually made the decision in 1999, to switch to doing media relations exclusively. That’s when ATMS was born.
What are the principal objectives of ATMS?
To obtain quality editorial coverage for our clients in targeted publications. To provide employment for a team of talented people and allow them to grow and develop skills in the media relations environment. To serve the publishing industry by providing them access to and information about unusual trips and destinations; and to be a participant in the global community of adventure travel and ecotourism.
Have you found that adventure travel today is much more popular than it was several years ago, and if so, what do you attribute this to?
Adventure travel has become a very popular form of travel, making it the fastest-growing segment of the travel industry for the past 5-7 years, according to various industry specialists. Adventure travel takes many forms and can mean anything from a bus tour through a national park to extreme mountain climbing in Nepal.
The reasons for this are many including the fact that the baby boom generation has had access to travel during their lives. They tend to be well education, high wage earners and very curious about the world around them. These tendencies make them a natural for adventure travel where they can do such things as: a cooking school in Provence, a bike tour of the Canadian Rockies, a safari to Kenya, an adventure cruise to the Galapagos, a backpacking trip in Moab, skiing in Jackson Hole, wildlife expeditions to Churchill, Manitoba to view Polar Bears, a Native American guided tour of the Ute Tribal Park, etc.
No more are travelers content to drive through Glacier National Park- they now want to hike the glaciers, view wildlife and learn to fly fish on their vacation. These factors have led to the genre of adventure travel.
No doubt, you have experienced many adventure experiences. Which ones would you consider to be your favorites and why?
My personal favorite adventure is whitewater rafting. I did not begin adventuring until I was 40 and recently divorced. I took my first week-long rafting trip on the Main Salmon River in Idaho with a client. I was frightened to death and determined that I would do it and survive.
I did survive the River of No Return and have now done that trip 13 times as well as the Middle Fork of the Salmon, many stretches of the Colorado River as well as other rivers.
River trips are wonderful because they include many other elements such as hiking, fly fishing, wildlife viewing and camping. I also enjoy hiking, camping and fishing with my husband, riding horses, snowshoeing really anything that takes place outdoors, in nature, and involving some activity or personal challenge. I’m a 58-year-old grandmother and if I can do it, anybody can!
Would you be able to recommend five adventure tours that you would not only consider to be adventurous but also romantic?
Lapa Rios Eco Lodge in Costa Rica is a spectacular and romantic destination. It is located on the Osa Peninsula of Costa Rica so there is plenty of surfing, wildlife tours, hiking and water sports available right outside your door. Activities at Lapa Rios are focused around the rainforest and the nearby Ocean. Rainforest hikes, bird watching, Ocean Kayaking, horseback riding, catch and release sport fishing and surfing are some of the activities offered. Furthermore, guests can take massages, participate in Yoga classes, relax at the pool with a tropical cocktail or just take a nap in a hammock and maybe observe the birds, monkeys and other animals that come by. For many guests, the highlight is a tour to Corcovado National Park by plane or a night camping in the jungle.
The Ashley Inn in Cascade, ID is the most beautiful Inn I’ve ever visited it’s so sweet and romantic with a fireplace in every room, a spa tub with lighted waves for soaking, very feminine dÃ©cor and the most attentive staff anywhere. And, you can board the historic Thunder Mountain RR line right behind the Inn for a trip that follows the Payette River Scenic Byway. There are dozens of creeks and rivers for fly fishing, Lake Cascade 2 blocks from the Inn. Its Idaho’s own little mountain kingdom perfect for a romantic getaway.
Canyon Villa in beautiful Sedona, AZ, is located right on the border of the Coconino National Forest. Of course, everyone knows that Sedona is a getaway for the rich and famous and you don’t have to be rich OR famous to stay at this beautiful Inn. It’s a hideaway just for the two of you and when you’re ready to peek outside your door, you are surrounded by the red rock beauty which beckons you to come out and play. Options include jeep tours, horseback riding, golf, tennis, and spas, biking, hiking and shopping at Tlaquepaque, a unique arts and crafts village with shops, galleries and fabulous restaurants.
Brooks Lake Lodge in Wyoming’s NW Corner, just outside Grand Teton National Park, is a very special place. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Lodge is secluded in winter only reachable by dogsled, snow coach of x-c skis. Their lodge rooms and individual cabins are so cozy; you will just want to snuggle together with a cup of hot chocolate or a special bottle of wine. Gourmet food is prepared by the four star chef and a winter wonderland awaits you when you want to be active. To top it all off, Brooks Lake Lodge just added complete spa facilities, so you can share a couple’s massage to soothe those sore muscles after a day of play. The Lodge is open in summer as well but nothing compares to the winter getaways at Brooks Lake Lodge.
Hidden Creek Ranch in Harrison, ID, just outside Coeur d’Alene is a dude/guest ranch second to none. The cabins offer the perfect retreat for the two of you, all decorated in Native American style. Gourmet food and wine are served in the dining room; horseback riding takes guests through forests and up the mountainsides each day. Hot tubs are discreetly positioned behind the cabins for late night soaks under the moon. A very well-trained staff will attend to your every need. Each Wednesday evening, owner, Iris Behr, leads a special program of Native American ceremonies, including a pipe ceremony and a traditional sweat lodge. What a wonderful way to connect with your spouse or lover than to share such an intimate evening. Massages are available as well as yoga and meditation classes; fly fishing lessons, an adventure challenge course and much more await you at this beautiful Ranch.
What does travel mean to you?
Travel is an exploration, a learning experience and an opportunity to refresh and restore my spirits through trying new things, meeting new people, etc.
How many months of the year do you devote to travel?
It varies, according to my business, but counting both business and leisure travel, probably about 5-6 months are spent on the road.
What advice would you give to anyone who never experienced a travel adventure tour and would like to try it?
Be sure to go with a reputable outfitter or operator. Try something you’ve always wanted to do the options are limitless! Ask for references from others who have traveled with the company you are considering booking with. The company will provide you with lists of what to wear, what to bring and what to expect. If they do not answer your questions and treat you with courtesy and kindness go to someone else.
There are resources out there that provide professional credentials to outfitters America Outdoors, the Dude Rancher’s Association, etc. They will work with you to find the right trip and the right outfitters or operator.
Is there anything else you wish to tell our readers?
I have had a much more wonderful life in the years since I began adventuring. Experiential travel is so fun and exciting. I’ve met wonderful people and it has enriched my life beyond measure. I encourage everyone to get out there and learn about our world, about the cultures of the world, about nature and wildlife. It will make you a better citizen of the planet earth!
The above interview was conducted by: Norm Goldman, Editor of Sketchandtravel.com.