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Spotlight on Adventure Champions: Geographic Expeditions

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Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) Adventure Champions are the vanguards of the adventure travel industry having been members of ATTA and leaders in the community for a minimum of 15 years. They are true believers in the power of adventure travel and have made an impact on the direction of ATTA and on the industry as a whole. To honor their commitment to their ethos and lasting contribution to the adventure travel industry we are spotlighting Adventure Champions through a series of interviews

Geographic Expeditions (GeoEx)

Tour Operator

Headquarters:  United States

ATTA Member since 2005

A GeoEx traveler takes in the stunning Paine Massif in Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park / David Samuel Robbins

Introducing Brady Binstadt, CEO

GeoEx CEO, Brady Binstadt, on a recent trip to Pakistan.

Tell us about GeoEx:

A pioneer of travel to remote and challenging destinations since 1982, San Francisco-based Geographic Expeditions specializes in designing custom journeys and small group trips—cultural tours, treks, safaris, cruises, and journeys by train—to the world’s most astonishing places. We are renowned for crafting trailblazing, life-changing adventures, and for nurturing a cooperative, congenial workplace that has made us an Outside magazine Best Place to Work for more than a decade. We believe passionately in our mission: sharing our appreciation of Earth’s diverse wonders to support local communities and build bridges of understanding and connection around the globe.

Why have you stayed an ATTA member for 15+ years?

GeoEx believes in the purpose and power of the adventure travel industry as a force for understanding, connection, and regeneration around the world. And we believe the ATTA community plays an undeniable role in moving the industry in a more meaningful, sustainable direction. We appreciate the opportunities the association offers for forging connections with other member companies and with travel-focused media, and we value the important discussions our community generates concerning travel’s potentials and pitfalls, and the future of this evolving industry and of this planet we all love.

How has your company/destination changed over the last 15 years?:

Building on our foundation as a pioneer in opening destinations, we have expanded our trip offerings to new countries and to lesser-known regions within countries where we already have well-loved trips. We have always been passionate about our role as stewards of the planet, and lately we have focused most keenly on the potential of our journeys to be forces of regeneration, for the communities we visit and for the travelers we take there.

Finally—and for me, most gratifyingly of all— last year I was able to realize a long-held dream and became CEO of this company I love deeply, and have loved ever since I started working here answering phones in 1999. I’m thrilled and honored by the opportunity to continue the vision and commitment of George Doubleday, our beloved and revered previous owner, who was passionately committed to GeoEx’s role in making the world a better place.

What is the greatest force that drives you to work every day? 

I recently returned from an adventure in Pakistan up the Karakoram Highway to amazing Hunza and beyond, and my experiences on that trip crystallized for me what drives me to work every day. We take people to places that change their lives, that open their eyes and their hearts and their minds. We forge incredible connections with locals around the planet, creating memories and bestowing lessons that will enrich their lives just as those memories and lessons will enrich ours. We make the world a kinder place, a more appreciative place, a place fused with a greater understanding of the wonders that grace our planet—and a greater commitment to preserving those wonders.

And I get to do this every day, working with a staff that is (to my biased mind, at least) the most talented, knowledgeable, impassioned, and altogether extraordinary in the industry. Despite the challenges and frustrations of the past two years, GeoEx staffers have given it their all each day, maintaining their unwavering dedication to providing our travelers with the kinds of life-changing experiences I had in Pakistan. I feel more fortunate than I can articulate to be able to do this work, with this team, every day.

What gives you hope about the next generation of adventure travel leaders?

I’ve taken over the reins of GeoEx with a profound sense of optimism and excitement. Although we’ve had to navigate probably the most challenging period in the history of the adventure travel industry, I believe that we are emerging from that period with a new understanding of how intricately interconnected our world is, and of how important our industry is to the future of that world, economically, ecologically, and culturally. We have a grave responsibility, and a great opportunity. I’m excited about working with adventure travel colleagues to tackle the pressing issues that confront us and to fashion solutions that lead us to ever more transforming, enriching, and sustaining journeys.

What gets you excited about the future of adventure travel?

One of the things we have been able to do at GeoEx during the pandemic is to dialogue more closely with our travelers, to talk with them about their values, goals, and dreams. And we’ve been excited and inspired by what we have learned. Our travelers prize immersion in local cultures and authentic interactions that enrich both the hosts and the guests. They value the kinds of insider, door-opening experiences we are able to give them through our long-cultivated local connections. They believe deeply in the sustainable travel practices and giving back opportunities we build into our trips.

As we celebrate 40 years in adventure travel this year, this knowledge is inspiring us to redouble our efforts in these areas that our travelers cherish just as much as we do: Building on our proud legacy of trailblazing journeys, we are excited to continue to thoughtfully and creatively open up new parts of our planet, to expand our efforts to incorporate giving back experiences into our trip itineraries, and to continue our mission of bringing people together around the globe, in a shared appreciation of the differences that enrich us and the commonalities that connect us.

Is there anything else you would like to say?

2022 marks our 40th anniversary, and we’re celebrating by launching some trailblazing journeys to Algeria, Angola, and Eritrea, and a series of special Giving Back adventures, beginning with trips to Nepal and Mozambique. For me, these combine the elements—giving back to local communities, insider access, cultural immersion, and interpersonal connection—that are hallmarks of all GeoEx journeys. I’m especially excited that I’ll be able to join our inaugural Giving Back trip in Nepal this September, returning to that special corner of the world that inspired our founder to create this company 40 years ago.

Connect with GeoEx:

Curious meerkats in the Makgadikgadi Pans in Botswana / Kim Keating

GeoEx staff members Carey Johnston, Don George and Shana Chrystie outside our offices in San Francisco’s Presidio Park

Intrepid GeoEx travelers crossing the Hussaini suspension bridge in Hunza, Pakistan / Sara Barbieri

Karo tribal dancers in southern Ethiopia’s Omo River Valley / Mariska van den Brink

A land iguana strikes a pose in the Galápagos Islands / Kirk Uhrlaub

The intricate interior of the Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque in Esfahan, Iran / Vassi Koutsaftis

The gold leaf façade of Kinkaku-ji Temple in Kyoto, Japan / Jenny Velasco

A traditional ger under bright blue skies on the Mongolian steppe / Kirk Uhrlaub

The Tides Converge building, home to GeoEx’s offices in San Francisco’s Presidio Park / Vassi Koutsaftis

GeoEx staff members Natalie Crow and Jesse Knight enjoying an early morning hot air balloon ride above San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

 

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