Staff Member Spotlight: Chris Bond

Title
Head of Operations

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Chris Bond grew up in Cape Town, South Africa. An avid surfer since the age of 8, he took a two year gap year to compete on the local circuit initially and then to fuel his desire for travel and adventure in the second year, which is where he got his initial accreditations coaching surfing. After this he went into a 4-year Business Science degree at the University of Cape Town, working part-time coaching surfing and running tours for Ticket to Ride, before becoming a full-time member of the team when he finished his degree.

Did you take a gap year? If so, where and what inspired you to go?

I was lucky that, despite my dad being a professor at the University, I didn't have any pressure to study straight away. Taking a Gap Year (two in fact) was an important time in my life learning more about myself and the world, whilst helping me figure out what I wanted to study. The working world is changing, and finding a passion in what you do is important when there are so many different options these days.

What do you find most fulfilling about your interactions with gappers?

For me it is very simple, seeing the gappers at the beginning and then at the end of their experience with us makes it all worthwhile. When they tell me that their trip was life-changing and that it was the best trip of their life, it reminds me why we do what we do, giving people that opportunity.

What is the level of cultural immersion your gappers receive?

One of our main focuses is to take people to places they may otherwise not feel comfortable to travel to, especially on their own. Immersing them in the local culture is crucial in the overall experience, seeing how different people live and hearing their stories. Our gappers get hands-on with projects in the local townships, as well as using local guides to work on our programs.

How does your organization differ from other ones in the industry?

The organization was started by two gappers who enjoyed their particular experience in South Africa so much, they wanted others to be able to share that experience. It was original, and not just following a trend as a way to make money. We still pride ourselves in the experience we offer, having our staff with the group 24/7 for the full 10 or 13 week-experience, ensuring they have the best trip possible.