I recently had a chance to talk to Chris Ronneseth of Trek Holidays (see interview preview) who gave me a good overview of adventure worldstravelonline, an area of travel I definitely would like to explore sooner than later…
1. Tell us how you got into the adventure travel business.
I grew up around travel. My father, Allan Ronneseth founded the company in 1972 and with a passion to see the world in a different way than the norm, we had the opportunity to travel to countries that were considered exotic at that time and to some extent still are today. Venturing out on my own traveling while attending University I became more and more passionate about the world beyond North America. With a degree in marketing, I ventured off first to New York and later to Toronto working in sales and marketing for technology companies during the tech boom. Having learned the skill of sales in an industry outside of travel but backed with an upbringing rooted in adventure travel, I made the progression to heading up sales in Eastern Canada for the family business where I now provide support to our network of travel agents across Eastern Canada as well as compiling our monthly newsletter on adventure travel trends.
2. What countries have you traveled to?
Africa: Namibia, South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Zambia, Egypt, Morocco
Europe: UK, Greenland, Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Austria
Asia: Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Hong Kong
South Pacific: Australia, Cook Islands, Tonga, Fiji
Americas: Canadian High Arctic, USA, Mexico, Jamaica, Cayman Islands,
Guatemala, Honduras, Belize, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia
3. Please share with us your top three travel memories of all times.
A. Peru -The last descent into Machu Picchu on the famed Inca Trail from the Sun Gate after seeing sunrise over the site, being the first to enter the site at daybreak and having a feeling of peace, harmony and strong magic in the air.
B. Vietnam – Travelling the countryside of Vietnam by motorbike and stumbling upon a hidden and seldom visited Buddhist Monastery resulting in a three-hour visit with a young Buddhist monk learning and understanding each other’s ways.
C. Namibia – Skydiving at sunset at Swakopmund on the coast where the Atlantic Ocean meets the blood-red sand dunes for as far as the eye can see. One of the most tranquil moments of my life.
4. What is adventure travel and how has it evolved over the last few decades?
Adventure travel used to mean high adventure back when the company was founded in the seventies, it was time when the ‘hippie-trail’ was hot and buses used to travel across Asia from London to Kathmandu with itineraries that were largely invented along the way. Today it is about the small group experience and about experiencing a destination rather than simply seeing it. It is about participation and understanding of cultures, history and customs and being able to take that experience away as enrichment to your daily life.