Some of my favorite travel memories have to be from living in the Orinoco Delta with the Warao (indigenous people who have inhabited that part of Venezuela for about 30,000 years). They live a simple existence of hunting and gathering, disconnected from the problems of the modern world and in harmony with their surroundings. They dwell in simple huts without walls, lounging in their hand woven Morrichi Hammocks or spend their time gliding through the vast labyrinth of magical green waterways in their dug out canoes; often with the whole family onboard. They have a simple language that's never been formally documented or written and contains only a hundred or so words with no numerical system nor anyway to offend someone. Jakera is their favorite word and they use it as a greeting to say hello or goodbye, or how nice things are, much the same way as the Ticos use Pura Vida!
What is your favorite travel memory?
How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?
I certainly have grown as a person and Jakera has helped me to realize that work can be a fun and rewarding. It's given me the chance to travel and discover new and exciting cultures and to develop new skills, but perhaps, most of all, to be able to share my experiences with others. It opened up a whole new world of opportunities for me and made me who I am today.
I honestly can't imagine what would have become of me if I'd stayed in Scotland :)
What is the best story you've heard from a return student?
The best stories I've heard from a return student have to be from Thor Jensen upon his return from his epic circumnavigation of PNG. A young Danish adventurer who came to us many years ago and ended up working his way up the ranks to become our lead adventure / kayaking guide in Venezuela. After some years with us, he decided he needed more and went off to paddle around Papua New Guinea.
The stories he came back with are hard to beat.
If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?
I'd go to Cuba to participate in the Learn Spanish and Dance program in Old Havana. Cuba is such an amazing destination, full of music and friendly, social people who are as keen to find out about the countries and cultures you are from as they are to teach you all about theirs. Cuba is all about music and enjoying life, stress free and away from the problems of the modern world.
What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?
Our company is unique because it grew organically from the ground up with no real plan or strategy and as a direct result of my wife and I doing what we love to do. I love to explore and share my experiences with others and Ada loves to make any place we live into an amazing family home for us and all of our Students / Travelers. I'm especially proud of my wife and kids for sharing our home with so many people for so many years and welcoming group after group into our lives.
What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?
The biggest factor to being a successful company is to love what you do and to be positive and to spread that feeling or physiology throughout the company to every worker and every guest alike. Live is for living and there's no point doing anything without enjoying it and being positive about it. It's easy to grumble and complain and to become really good at it, but it's a lot more fun and equally easy to enjoy it all and become really good at that instead.