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The original idea started during a familiarization trip in Madagascar when Justin Wood from REI Adventures and Kurt Kutay from Wildland Adventures were having drinks at the end of the day, discussing how much fun it was just hanging out together.
“We declared then and there, ‘Why not continue this when we’re back home in Seattle, and invite others to join us?’” And thus, Seattle’s monthly networking gatherings soon dubbed AdventureDrinks was born.
“From the start, it was designed as a casual no-host social gathering for our friends in the adventure travel and outdoor industries – it was just a matter of picking a place and making an announcement,” says Kutay.
With little time or funds to sponsor or organize ongoing events, a committee was formed to share the tasks of choosing venues, creating a website for RSVPs, and generally spreading the message. Between Wood, Kutay, Troy Glennon (GoSouth Adventures), Jake Haupert and Dan Moore (EverGreen Escapes), the site www.adventuredrinks.org was created. Wildland’s Marketing Director Tad Bradley, and IT Director, Tim Hocking collaborated to create the website’s iconic logo with a glass of Scotch on the rocks (in front of the Perito Moreno Glacier in Argentina).
“We’ve had a few inspirational or entertaining speakers, but we keep them short and relevant in order not to deter from simply hanging out together and networking,” says Kutay.
Since 2010, the AdventureDrinks model has taken on life in cities around the nation, such as Denver/Boulder, San Francisco and Boston. In 2011, the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) helped revamp the website, manage communications and event listings, even scheduling them to overlap with the ATTA’s annual regional meeting series.
The program’s success is likely due to the industry’s strong population of like-minded professionals who enjoy becoming friends with colleagues and competitors alike, meeting new people and potential partners, or are seeking career shifts and overall transformative experiences through work in the travel and active outdoor fields. Any professionals interested in joining established committees or starting a new AdventureDrinks locale is encouraged to contact the organizers directly.
“In my experience here in Seattle, a range of tour operators, expedition cruise lines, travel writers, outdoor clothing and gear manufacturers, and others operate from home-based or medium-sized offices in neighborhoods outside the city. In the dreary winter months especially, it’s great having a casual mingling event to look forward to,” says Alice Gifford of ATTA, and one of AdventureDrinks’ committee members. “I always meet someone new, and I get to catch up with long-time friends and business acquaintances, which is why I attend almost religiously.”
To find out about upcoming events or to organize an AdventureDrinks in your nearest city, go to www.adventuredrinks.org to learn more.