As both an intrepid traveller and an Intrepid traveller, I was keen to learn about this responsible travel company and its role in giving back. I spoke with the co-Founder of Intrepid Travel, Geoff Manchester, about the future and mission of his company as well as his ideas around mindful living. This is what he had to say:
What motivated you to found Intrepid Travel? We wanted to offer affordable travel in Asia to small groups of people in a way that enabled them to see a country as it really is, not as tourists isolated from real life. At the time, no other company offered travel using public transport, staying in small-scale, locally owned accommodations or with a focus on interaction with local people. We also wanted to offer travel opportunities at a cost that related to the wealth of the area.
What is your definition of living mindfully? I see this as understanding that everything you do in life has an impact on other people. As individuals we cannot focus solely on ourselves, and as businesses we cannot focus solely on profitability for shareholders. We should always work and live with consideration of those around us.
Of what achievements are you most proud that Intrepid has accomplished? The impact that our trips can have on the life of our travellers, opening their eyes to completely different ways of life, new cultures, religions, history and activities. I’m also very proud of the opportunity Intrepid provides for our staff to develop and grow as people, both personally and professionally. And I am proud of the positive impact of our trips on hundreds, if not thousands, of people in our destinations impacted by Intrepid and Intrepid travellers, many in developing nations. This may be in the form of direct employment, through service provisions or simply regular contact with travellers from distant lands, who enjoy visiting them.
What do you see as the future of Intrepid? Intrepid will continue to grow by opening travellers’ eyes to alternative possibilities in travel. As they travel more, they realize there is much more to travel than international hotels and beach resorts. People come to realize there is more to learn about destinations and we are pleased to help them learn. Intrepid will continue to be a leader in Responsible Travel and as a Responsible Business more broadly. We hope to become more visible in public debate around important issues such as what is responsible travel, or global warming and the carbon issue, or environmental protection, social development and more.
How do you hope to make a difference in this life? By enabling people to learn about new cultures so that they are no longer afraid of difference. Many international issues are predicated on ignorance and fear. Travel - real local travel - offers a fantastic opportunity to understand differences and overcome fear. I often say every American teenager should travel in Egypt or Turkey to understand how incredibly welcoming and generous the (Muslim) people from those countries are and to learn about their religion, history and culture.
What advice do you have for someone who would like to make a mark, but doesn't know how? Follow your heart. Do something that you are passionate about. Think long term and consider the impact of what you do on others.
For more information about Intrepid Travel or to book a trip visit www.intrepidtravel.com.