The Unforgettable Bridge
Dear Advisor Partners,
I was 18 at the end of my first year of university when I came home for summer break. I had just recovered from an injured Achilles tendon and was on crutches for what seemed like the millionth time. I am not sure what came over me, however, my sense of adventure went into overdrive. Within days of returning to Florida, I went skydiving with a friend. Some kids sneak out of the house to party, and I snuck out to jump out of an airplane… go figure. The landing didn’t go as smoothly as I hoped. The instructor, who was supposed to plant his feet first, ended up being too short, and my 6 ft 3 frame and healing foot landed for both of us and none too gracefully. After grimacing, I asked what any 18 year old would ask, “Can we go again?”, because I wanted to step out on the landing gear of the Cessna at 15,000 feet again!
I thought of that story the entire way up the side of the cliff at Sky Vertical in the Sacred Valley, the subject of Part II of our latest Peru dispatch. We crossed a cabled bridge that made you count the steps just to avoid the feeling of falling, and that was after descending by cable from the starting point to the bridge. We had to go down before going up. It was at this moment when an important thought hit me. I forgot my %$#@ GoPro! It’s a good thing that John Ellis from Ellis Travel House in Portland, a key member of our amazing group, brought his (we included some of his footage in this week’s blog). Up the side, we went one hand here, one foot there, detaching and reattaching our carabiners as we moved from one cable to another during our ascent. Knowing where to place your feet, sometimes in contorted positions, was key so your hands could be placed to help your legs move up.
The adrenaline starts kicking in fully when you look up, and the capsules suspended off the side of the cliff above you get closer and closer. Every now and then, I would turn around to look at the view, even getting the rare sighting of the peak of Mt Veronica to the side of us as we approached our summit. As we summited, another thought hit me.. we get to zipline down to the lobby area from the summit, I wonder how fast I can get going. I know, I’m a nerd.
What a zipline it was, getting back to the starting point, stunning views, a speed of about 30mph, just enough to hear the wind, not enough to be blown off course. The adrenaline was in full force, I didn’t care that I was going to have jello legs in about an hour when my senses returned to normal levels. Like I said, after sky diving, when do I go again?
Enjoy this week’s video, and stay tuned for Digital Founder, my father’s avatar, at the end. He seems to want some attention.
The End of the Beaten Path
Those of you who saw my Peru images on social media know it was one of the most epic adventures ever as we discovered Peru beyond Machu Picchu. This will be a three-part dispatch, so stay tuned as part 1 may look familiar, and parts II and III will look decidedly “BigFiveish.” One of the other aspects that I was most excited about was the introduction of synthetic media to enhance your client’s in-country experiences. I know you are likely asking, what does he mean by synthetic media?
I mean digital renderings of me and my father, aka avatars that have our likeness, both in sight and sound. This adventure allowed us to test the application, and it spurned so many ideas that we are beginning to plot out and design, all for you. In this video, our avatars make their first appearance. As you watch them, let your imagination run wild.
Our first stop was one of the Seven Wonders of the World, Machu Picchu. Now you will laugh, maybe even cringe, when I say this. As amazing as Machu Picchu is, we wanted to see it first to get that box checked.
That is not to take away from the “how magical this sight is” but rather an acknowledgment that we mark the end of the beaten path with this visit because of how unorthodox our next activities will be.
Check out this week’s video, and make sure you wave to Digital Founder, my father’s avatar.
Beyond Arenal / La Nueva “Pura Vida”
At 14 years old, I made my first visit to Costa Rica. Arenal was erupting back then, every 30 minutes, to be exact. The lava flowed on just one side due to the angled cone. This allowed me to walk up close enough to feel the heat of the lava. Back then, there was no platform, no barrier, only me and the lava. I was so close that a hot piece of ash, small in nature, landed on my camera lens (a 35mm film camera in those days). For the first few seconds, I thought it was the coolest thing, and considering I was traveling on my own, there was no one there to worry about for logical reasons. The next thing I knew, the camera lens went black, and the ash burned through it. Although losing the camera was a setback, the memory from that trip shaped my passion for Costa Rica.
Years later, something changed in Costa Rica. I don’t know if it was the mass market takeover or the excursions all looking the same, visiting the same zipline in Arenal and the same beachfront in Guanacaste. It seemed like the destination was not the wild Costa Rica I remembered. However, I went back with the family, and compared to other destinations, it seemed there was a disconnect. Well, over the last few years, our team has been developing new products in the region, following the many indigenous communities that are usually glossed over.
The Big Five focus on sustainability centers around community support and allowing those rightfully due a seat at the tourism table to finally get their voice.
With that being said, we introduce our new Costa Rica adventures, focusing on the indigenous trails and adventure spots that have reignited the spark I had as a child with my first visit to Costa Rica.
There are more adventures to come, so stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy this video put together by our team as they explored the remote regions looking for unwritten adventures.
Click HERE for our Newest President’s Pick, enjoy!
Costa Rica The Indigenous Trails, La Nueva Pura Vida