Walking in front of Teatro Verdi on Sunday afternoon, I saw the first real sign of this year’s Adventure Travel World Summit. Two friends, both wearing event name badges, spotted each other from across the street. After a quick glance for oncoming traffic, one raced across the road and enveloped her colleague — her friend — in a hug. “It’s so great to see you! How are you?” Their words tumbled over each other in a chorus I began hearing throughout the evening.
One of the things I love most about the adventure travel community is how quickly it coalesces every time it comes together. Montecatini Terme’s sidewalks are humming with activity, but I can tell who is here for the Summit (and it’s not just the trail runners and backpacks that give it away). The Day of Adventure is always an incubator for fast-tracking that awkward get-to-know-you phase for first-time delegates, and by Monday evening I spotted seasoned and new delegates laughing over a shared bottle of wine and chatting about their personal travels over gelato.
The theme for this year’s Summit is Wellspring, a return to the source from which the adventure travel community sprung, so it seems particularly fitting to see all this interaction on Montecatini Terme’s streets. After all, this destination is known for its therapeutic spas, narrow alleyways, and street cafes. If it seems like the kind of place you should slow down and explore, that’s because it is — and we hope you do!
Between juggling professional obligations and personal priorities, working with global teams and trying to stay on top of all those tech notifications, deadlines, and trends … well, it can all be a bit overwhelming at times. Of course, there’s work to be done as well, but even as you dive into this annual event — either in-person or via the Summit Daily — I hope you’ll keep Wellspring in mind throughout the week. Listening to our outstanding lineup of keynote presenters, allow yourself to get lost in their stories. As you participate in the interactive workshops and educational sessions, fully engage in the experience. When you meet with colleagues over formal meetings during the Marketplace or MediaConnect, or you strike up a conversation over lunch, fully embrace the opportunity. (A huge thank you in advance to our partners Norway and Brazil for those magical lunch moments!) And walking through Montecatini Terme, give your mind and body room to relax and be present in the moment.
We are working in an important industry at a pivotal moment as political ideologies, cultural clashes, and environmental changes begin to redefine a new normal. I encourage you to dig deep during the next few days to remember what led you to this place and moment. Sip an espresso. Linger over gelato. Wander with an open mind through Montecatini Terme. And then, with that rediscovered passion and recommitment to be the very best embodiment of adventure travel, our community will be well-equipped to move forward into the future together.
Summit Daily Editor