The Anthem of the Adventurer

S2 E5: Tourism for Peace and Stewardship w/ Shannon Stowell

Episode Summary

Today we have Shannon Stowell, who is the CEO of the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA), talking to us about the amazing impact that adventure can have on our lives, as well as those we adventure with. Want to learn about amazing experiences that are available, no matter your budget? Or get motivated for travelling differently, in a way that promotes peace and stewardship? Shannon's your guy, and the ATTA are your people!

Episode Notes

Today we have Shannon Stowell, who is the CEO of the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA), talking to us about the amazing impact that adventure can have on our lives, as well as those we adventure with. Want to learn about amazing experiences that are available, no matter your budget? Or get motivated for travelling differently, in a way that promotes peace and stewardship? Shannon's your guy, and the ATTA are your people!

 

Here's where to find Shannon and his great work:

https://www.adventuretravel.biz/leadership/

https://www.linkedin.com/in/shannonstowell/

Episode Transcription

Dan Zehner  13:51  

Alright, so today, I'm so excited. We've been looking forward to getting this interview together for a little while. And huge props to Jeff banal day. For an introducing me to this awesome guy we get to talk to today we have Shannon Stahl from the adventure travel trade associations. Shannon, welcome. It's so awesome to get to talk to you today, man.

 

Shannon Stowell  14:11  

Thanks so much. Happy to be here.

 

Dan Zehner  14:14  

So as we kind of talked a little bit offline beforehand, I like to hit people right in the face at the beginning with a challenge to kind of set the stage right. So what would you challenge us to today to incorporate an environment of practicing perseverance?

 

Shannon Stowell  14:31  

Hmm, that's a great question.

 

I think slowing down long enough to actually face whatever issue it is in your life. I am guilty of not doing that very, very often of waking up and checking my phone before I even get out of bed and starting to do emails and starting to get My mind, dragged into the vortex of whatever that day is going to hold. I would encourage people to take five minutes in the morning and do absolutely nothing. Don't let your hands touch your phone. Close your eyes, maybe say a quick prayer and really think about being intentional about what it is you need to persevere in. And I have plenty of things that I need more perseverance in. And so I'm going to, I'm going to take my own challenge and do that as well.

 

Dan Zehner  15:37  

That's awesome. I love that it's funny how like some of these challenges end up being more of a mental rather than than physical perseverance because it's the same part in the brain that you know, is worked. Either way. We'll make sure so what we're doing with each of these challenges, we're going to make a special hashtag just for you and feel free if you have any input on what that should be. People are going to be tagging us on Instagram, the end of the adventure with that hashtag with a picture of them after they've done this. And once they've done every episodes challenge, they're going to get a really awesome rough patch at the end of the season. So you have a preference for what you'd like your hashtag to be.

 

Shannon Stowell  16:18  

Put your phone under your bed, love it. Or it could be phone under bed.

 

Unknown Speaker  16:25  

Like that.

 

Dan Zehner  16:27  

So, now we've got our phones under our beds, how have you gotten to where you are in your life of adventure, and just kind of give us a little bit of your background, your family and what adventure has done for your life?

 

Shannon Stowell  16:41  

So yeah, thanks. I, you know, I was born and raised in Colorado, and but in a very suburban area of Denver. And, and I think that my parents were very good about allowing my Brother and I really just to have freedom to roam. And freedom to to play play is such an important part that I think that's kind of where it all started. And then when I was a junior higher we moved to the small town of Salida, Colorado up in the mountains. And that's really where adventure became reality for us because we were no longer in an urban environment in suburban or suburban environment rather, running around neighborhoods, but instead we were freed to go into the hills and we hunted for arrowheads and climbed and explored ghost towns and mines. That was the one thing we were not. We were completely forbidden from doing but we did anyway. Is went into numerous old mines mine shots and area but we we went caving and fishing and hunting and you know, basically every outdoor sport possible We were out there doing it. And so that's where adventure really started for me. Our family didn't do any international travel, at least to that point in my life that they have since then, and I went with teen missions to Fiji right out of high school. That was a real international trip. I've been to Canada, but that sort of sort of doesn't count as an American. So went to Fiji spent a summer there and building we were building a house or a building a building for a camp, and a church. And it was such an incredible experience to be with a bunch of other people, bunch of other kids my age, and not be in the US for three months living in we lived in tents. We didn't have running water or electricity. So we bathed in the river and worked hard all day. And it was it was an incredible experience. So that started and then I went College studied biology thought I was going to be a biologist. I loved Jacques Cousteau.

 

All the things that he did and put out there.

 

Dan Zehner  19:12  

Trying to follow Robert Ballard's footsteps little bit,

 

Shannon Stowell  19:16  

he was he was totally a hero of mine. Absolutely. And then, and then I finally got out of college and got a job, a science job and was suddenly around scientists, and had this kind of slow dawning revelation that I was not a scientist, that I was a people person, and that the guys that could fix the machines, the gas chromatograph machines, just from their own intuition and knowledge, and I was sort of lost. And so I realized I wasn't a scientist and started changing my career course towards business and sales and marketing and And I had a super strong entrepreneurial urge, I had multiple ideas per week, probably probably a lot of them were would have been complete failures, but that that idea machine just kind of always was going. And so I stayed at the company for eight years, the the guy that hired me gave me lots of opportunities to expand. And so towards the end, I got to develop business in Asia. So I was in my late 20s, going to Taiwan and Thailand and Korea and China, and building a network of international engineers who needed our services. So it was an incredible experience, but I just didn't love the work itself, the chemistry itself, I never was going to be passionate about it. So a friend called me in 1997 and said, Hey, I think this internet thing is going to be big. I think people are going to buy stuff on the internet. It's like what? come on that's ridiculous. I I remember exactly where we were when we were arguing about whether the internet was going to be a big deal or not. And I thought it was going to be ridiculous and nothing. And I couldn't imagine buying something from a computer. So, you know, fast forward one year, and we launched all tech com. We said, Well, if we're going to sell something on the internet, let's sell something we really like. How about outdoor gear? Yeah, that sounds great. Okay, well, REI wasn't online yet. And so we thought, you know, we could be the first so we put together some people, I quit my job. And as we were in the process of building the concept out rei.com went live. So it both terrified us and also validated that this was going to be real. And so we got moving on it. And the company ran for 16 years and went out of business about three years ago. Wow. And And got to I think, maybe 50 million in sales. So it was a real, it was a real opportunity. It really went somewhere. It ultimately ended up not working out for a number of reasons. The the site got hacked during the holiday season. And so we couldn't do any sales during December one year. And we had tons of inventory and it sort of started this spiral of decline. But, um, but during that process, I was only there for six years, actually, it was around for 16. I was there for six year for we joined the adventure travel trade association. And pretty soon I started digging into it to try to figure out what what is this thing what, what do I get as a member and it became apparent that you didn't get much that there was not much going on sort of a dead organization at that point. So long story short, I met with the guy who was running it and bought the assets from him. And 2004 I took over. And I've never looked back.

 

Dan Zehner  23:08  

Wow, there's no wonder that we get along well, because my, my story right now is, is very similar to where you were in about 1996 Hmm.

 

Shannon Stowell  23:21  

Interesting. Interesting.

 

Dan Zehner  23:24  

Yeah. You know, the whole I mean, did missions trips to South America in high school and and I'm in an engineering career right now and love the love the people of the idea but not so much all of all of the actual work.

 

Shannon Stowell  23:39  

Right. Right. Yeah, that was that was definitely my journey. And it's funny because we celebrated our 15 year anniversary this year of the ATTA, and we had a cake made that said Happy birthday, and then underneath it said ruined for life. Because we've talked we've talked amongst start our team and Friends and none of us can imagine going back to a corporate environment, I just can't imagine it because the the joy, and the energy that you find in the adventure travel community, for me is something I've have not seen in any other community other than the outdoor recreation industry also, which you just have people who who have made a decision to pursue their passion. And so when you get in a room full of these people, the energy is unlike anything else. And I'm not the only one that thinks that we, we hired a guy named Lee Kitchen who's a, a creative, he unlocks creativity in people and in groups. He He's a former Disney guy. And he came to our team retreat this summer to facilitate and afterward he just said, there are lots of people that talk about corporate culture and talk about amazing cultures. said you guys have the most unbelievable culture I've ever come across. Cross, it's the best, the best culture I've ever come across. I'd like to say it's unique, but I'm just going to say it adventure travel companies, it's all over the place because it's people not motivated by money. Ultimately, they're motivated by passion and making a difference. So it's powerful combination. That's awesome.

 

Dan Zehner  25:21  

I really like your, you know, the, your approach to the ATTA as kind of looking around some of your things that you're up to, but it's about responsible travel is not just, you know, going somewhere for the sake of going somewhere and spending a bunch of money and living the luxurious life, although a lot of trips there, folks put on you know, our luxurious but it's with conservation in mind, with community in mind. What are some of those core values that you will live out in your team?

 

Shannon Stowell  25:54  

Yeah, you know, it's interesting, it's, it's, um, I would say these are values that have always been important to me and everyone else on the team. But it wasn't until about the fifth year I have a clear memory of a guy named Gustavo Chima who, from Brazil, who's now on our team. But at the time, he was running the adventure association of Brazil. And we were sea kayaking. And he said, you know, that you guys need to start taking vocal stands on issues. And we were about five years in and we had we had barely survived 2009 crash in 2008. The financial crash just about took us out in 2009. We had a month where we had $1,000 left in the in the checking account. And you know, a payroll with, I think nine people on it at that point. And so we were barely surviving. So when Gustavo said that I was like, No way, man. We're just focused on surviving. We don't have time to go and like tackle issues. I do care about them. But you know, we're barely making it in He just looked me in the eye and he's like, you need to do both. I'm telling you, you need to do both. Oh man, and it was such a great a great, you know, call out for us. And for me personally, it never left my head. And so we started being a spokes, you know, spokes voice for issues, Protection of Children and tourism, wildlife protection, preserving local cultures, involving the local people in the economic equation of tourism, which many times they get left out.

 

Dan Zehner  27:35  

Yeah.

 

Shannon Stowell  27:37  

Take taking care of being stewards, basically being good stewards with tourism because tourism, it's like fire. It's either contained and doing a really good job of heating or cooking, or it's consuming and destroying. And a lot of tourism is destructive and not helpful and yeah, oppressive and exploitative and abusive. Because it's an expression of humans, right? And And interestingly, humans, a lot of people tend to behave differently when they're suddenly out of their normal environment. And they feel like no one's watching. And so, so yes, now we're I would say, We're an incredibly strong advocate on these issues. And we have launched our own nonprofit, we're involved in numerous other nonprofits, we pile on with other organizations to help them achieve issues that they that they want to want to see solved, you know, assuming they're aligned with our values. And what we found is that not only did it not harm us, it has made us incredibly strong because we attract people who hold the same beliefs. And so they come and they're like, I finally found Mike, my people finally found my community. Like I'm committing to this I'm going to be a part of this forever. And it also means that we attract team who usually come from another company in the industry and then pursue us and say, I want to work for you guys. So it's been in recruitment, and not that we ever planned it this way. It's been an incredible recruitment tool. It's been both for team and for customers. And occasional hate repels people. You're absolutely okay with that. Yeah, it's fine. Not everybody wants to be a part of this, this sort of movement.

 

Dan Zehner  29:32  

Yeah, that's, that's really helpful to if you're living out a powerful set of values, yeah. Not everybody's going to share that. And that's great for both of you to know that. Right. Right. You have any favorite stories of either something you personally experienced or from one of your members. That is just a good example of kind of living that out?

 

Shannon Stowell  29:56  

Yeah, I have a lot of stories that I that I I mean, I think you could probably go out to our membership, which is almost 1400 organizations. And I'm fairly certain that 95% of them could tell you a story that would bring you to tears. It's just it's incredible the work that that this community does. But one that, you know, sticks out that I've that I've talked about publicly before was a gentleman named George Wendt, who has passed away, but was an amazing, amazing man. He started a company called Oars, and it's a major rafting company here in the US. And in Fiji. They they started rafting a river there they they created a company in Fiji. Were taking people rafting there and and then a logging concern, acquired a huge amount of land on either side of this river and was going to just drop the whole forest and George and his team met with the the tribes in the region, the tribal heads, who had sold the land to the logging company and said, or we're in the process of selling it, and said, Can we please talk you into preserving at least, you know, a, a set of trees, you know, you know, an amount of forest on either side of the river so that the river isn't destroyed, because erosion and you know, it's never going to be the same if you cut down all the trees. So So please, you know, we understand you need to make money and there's going to be some logging, can you please preserve the the forest around the river. And if you do that, what we'll do is assure you that we're going to hire locals to be the guides of the river company. And also a we will pay a fee for every rafter that goes down this river to the tribes, and that will last as long as we raft this river. And so it'll be it'll be long term income versus, you know, One time shot at the logging. And so and so they agreed. And so they have a long term lease. And Oars pays the tribes, a fee for every person that goes down the river. It's locals that that co own and, and then run and raft and guide. And so it's a that is just one of many. We've got a member in Africa whose whose lodge, the tourism income is both protecting the gorillas and protecting the forest. And the staff is post conflict. Hutus and Tutsis. Whoo. And so it's a it's like working together. Yeah, working together. It's a multi layer and it is not easy. Owner. The owner is a good friend of mine and on our advisory board, and he has described how difficult it is. But how vital that work is so tourism done right is a peace building. tool. It is a preservation tool. There's the saying from a friend of mine who's a tiger conservationist in India. And he said, I is on the tiger mean the tiger is safe. If there's an area of the forest where nobody's watching, poachers are going to go in. poachers are going to shoot the tigers. Sell the skins. So eyes on the tiger are a good thing. So tourism, tourism can be a really powerful tool for good. And then of course, there's a dark side to it as well. Hmm.

 

Dan Zehner  33:34  

That's we're going to need to have a whole nother offline conversation from all the gears that are speaking my head off. Absolutely. Absolutely. Um, what do you say? So a lot of people that I run across are like, ah, adventure travel so expensive. I don't have time. Why should I even bother? Like, what do you say to those kind of those, those people there? Especially like, you know, Bring a real local on, you know, some of our listenership is in the Midwest, the United States and there's nothing here. It's all flat cornfields and being fields.

 

Shannon Stowell  34:08  

Sure, you know, I think I would, of course want to understand better what their concerns were. Adventure can be expensive, it doesn't have to be. And there, there are a lot of people who do it on their own. We, of course represent the side of the industry that works with tour operators and guiding companies and outfitters and that sort of that sort of business. So we we don't have our eyes as much on the individual, what we call in our parlance, the, the fit the fully independent traveler, but you can do it on your own quite inexpensively. And there are a lot of people who do that. And I think especially when you're young, you should absolutely do that. Working with tour operators, it depends on your budget. There's there's two big adventure travel companies both are members of our of our association G Adventures and Intrepid, who have done an amazing job of creating fantastic adventures at a at a value price. I'm not going to say budget because they're not dirt cheap. But good adventure travel often is not dirt cheap, and it shouldn't be dirt cheap, because it should be done responsibly, which in some ways costs more to do it right. And also, it is our belief and I would say the majority of our membership that if the local people aren't benefiting from it, if they're being left out of the equation, then it's really just self indulgent travel, which I understand why people do that I've done plenty myself, so I'm not judging. But you know, I'm 51 years old. Now I've seen my own mortality. And I want my trips to make a difference. So just like a lot of people are buying, you know, responsible trade food or coffee or organic, whatever. This is sort of like applying those principles to travel and saying, you know, I want to do this and, and I also think when people think adventure travel, I would say more than people reacting and saying it's too expensive I here. Oh, I'm not extreme. You know, I don't do that. Yeah, sure a ton of that. And yeah, in fact, funny situation I, I met a group of travel media once and when they found out that I was with the adventure travel trade association, they're like, Oh, so you're Mr. zip line. That was my nickname the rest of the trip is Mr. zip line. But the way that that that we define adventure travel is nature, culture, and physical activity. So it can be very soft, very accessible, or it can be very extreme. And the extreme is actually the minority of the trips out there most. Most adventure travel trips are very that are run by tour operators are accessible to a fairly broad group of people. Because it's important for, for them to make it accessible so that they're not attracting not only the most hardcore, and actually the most hardcore people usually do it on their own.

 

Dan Zehner  37:11  

Yeah,

 

Shannon Stowell  37:12  

that makes sense, which is understandable. Hmm. So I would say, I guess I would say to that person rather than going with that $999 all inclusive cruise for five days where you're just going to gorge yourself, drink too much and not actually meet anybody local. I would encourage you to save up. Don't go anywhere this year and plan on next year and go somewhere like Ecuador. It's only a five hour flight from Houston by the way. You can get to South America so easily. Oh yeah. And or the Caribbean or you know, Asia and go somewhere with a good tour operator that has strong values and you will have your mind blown because they will take you places and introduce you to people that you could not have done on your own that you could not have found on your own. That's my that would be my encouragement. Save up and do it right

 

Dan Zehner  38:12  

is such a good way to put it because I see so many, you know, friends and coworkers things just go down to Florida every year and they take the kids to Disney every year. And like for less than that, my wife and I went to Normandy for the 75th anniversary of D day and then a life changing experience. Granted, we didn't go with a tour operator. But it was it was amazing. I'm like, why? And I get it because Florida is comfy. And that's indulgent. And it's you know, you've always done it.

 

Shannon Stowell  38:46  

Yeah, I understand. And I definitely don't bash I just think that there are there are better ways to travel. And that's part of what our whole job is to educate and encourage people to to take that step. And especially if you're going to go somewhere challenging, then it definitely makes sense to have a tour operator who knows how to navigate, you know, potentially dangerous situation, or just complicated or hard, hard transportation or hard. Maybe an inability to access a more remote culture. That's where you want somebody who can say, I know how to do this, and I work in this region, and I work with these people. And so you're going to be able to have a meet, you're going to share a meal with a Kurdish family, or a Turkish family or, man, How awesome would that be? Oh, man. Yeah. In fact, so I my own personal example like that is I've been to Kurdistan, northern Iraq. Whoo. And the first time I went without a tour operator, and I had an interesting time it was it was, it was incredible, actually. But at the end of the trip, the the person who was showing me around From the tourism Ministry said, well, there's actually an American here who runs tours. Would you like to meet him? Like, yeah, absolutely. So on my last day, I went and met this this American guy who had lived there for 17 years and had been involved in the humanitarian aid post. Post Saddam's, you know, massacre occurred. And so he fell in love with the Kurdish people and stayed. Wow. So I went back nine years later with my son who turned 17 on that trip, and and went with this tour operator. And the experience was so much better because they knew they knew how to take people to these, these places that would that would blow our minds so we went to a destroyed Saddam palace and to the mountains and we went to the the what is essentially mecca for this Yazidi religion for the Yazidi people where you walk into this village and you leave your shoes and you walk barefoot through this experience. And there are no tourists there. We didn't see any tourists. And we got to go to a because of the tour operator and his relationships, we got to go to a captured ISIS vehicle graveyard Where were the vehicles that had been taken from ISIS were all stored in this one location. So it's like a Mad Max parking lot because they they take any vehicle possible and and weld sheet metal all around it to protect it. And so it's this just insane, insane experience that if we went by ourselves, we would have never gotten in there.

 

Dan Zehner  41:44  

So without getting shot at

 

Shannon Stowell  41:47  

Yeah, maybe I don't I just we wouldn't have known it existed for one and and then getting access into it. So that's it blew my son's mind to, I think I think years from now. He'll understand what an insane trip that was that he actually got to go to Iraq. At one point, we were standing in a monastery talking to a priest who pointed down to the road below and said ISIS got clear to here to that road. And everybody here fled except for me and one family. And, and I stayed, I wasn't gonna leave. And while he was telling us the story we could hear, this is 2017 we can hear very faintly, the bombs, the bombs that they were, ISIS was being bombed right then. But we had two lines of Army between us and them, and the US was doing the the flight of the bombing. So it was just such a real world experience. It was probably, I would say, the most memorable trip I've ever been on. We spend some time in refugee camps, which was heartbreaking and life changing. So a good you know, a good tour operator can take you places that will be forever seared into your memory. Paint. beautiful, amazing, fun. Gorgeous.

 

Yeah, all the above.

 

Dan Zehner  43:22  

And that sounds like the perfect way to illustrate, you know, we were talking about our mutual respect for John Eldredge before we got on the call here, it's like, of that adventure to live and does that feel like that's healing part of your heart somehow? Or how does that feel kind of heart wise going through something like that?

 

Shannon Stowell  43:48  

Yeah, I think that, that John Eldredge was one of the first people to help me understand that I could be me and still be a

 

Somebody who, who follows the Christian faith.

 

You know, I grew up in an extremely conservative environment where I felt like I was always in trouble and always misbehaving. And I think that I think that people and I think, you know, I can only speak from the man's experience, but I know that the men that I know are built for adventure, they want adventure. And yet many feel like they're somehow not allowed to do that are not allowed to really be themselves. And, and some of that I, you know, unfortunately, is modern American Christian culture. And I reject it completely. I reject that culture completely. And I went through my own journey where I actually, for a brief period felt like I was about to reject my faith to and Which is too long of a story for here. But what I found is that I actually needed to get out of that the culture that I was in and really figure out, you know, what was my relationship directly with God? Hmm. And then and then work backwards and now, you know, I found a church that that I don't feel like is infected with

 

what I think is unfortunately, a lot of

 

lack of authenticity because of fear of getting in getting being judged or or getting into trouble instead of just being honest about what our issues are as as men and and people who are trying to follow. follow God. So I think adventure is important and I think people find incredible joy when they really let themselves go in a good in a good adventure experience. And it doesn't have to be outrageous. Crazy, it doesn't, you don't have to go to a rack, you know, you could, you could go to Texas, you know their adventures to be had in Kansas, their adventures everywhere. And it's more about a state of mind than anything else. And I think rigidity does not help. I think being flexible and being willing to sort of roll with what happens. And actually really good adventure travel operators know this and build no time, like downtime into itineraries knowing that something's going to happen at some point where you should just roll with it. And if you're super scheduled, you may miss something that becomes the most powerful experience of a trip. And I would say that that was the case for us on this. You know, I'll refer back to this Iraqi trip the the opportunity to go to a refugee camp and It wasn't on our original itinerary. But the guide asked us Do you guys want to do this? And he said, Yeah, let's do it. And some experiences that we had in there just left me speechless, and is one of the most powerful parts of that whole trip. So. So my point is being open to saying yes to something that initially might go Oh, no way. No, thank you. Instead, think about reacting differently and saying, Yeah, I, I may not even like this part of this experience, but I'm going to do it. I'm going to go for it. I trust this operator, I trust that, you know, I'm going to get through okay. And so yes, I will jump off that cliff into the river. Or I will go to that, that refugee camp or I will try that crazy dish that normally my reaction would be absolutely I'm not eating that. So yeah, I think adventure is healing. I think it's important in it, it unlocks that play a factor in us to which I think is incredibly important. Yeah,

 

Dan Zehner  48:02  

you're you're totally right and like something that showed up for me. Recently I've been watching a bunch of my adventure movies that kind of like stir my my heart a bit and I watched Kon-tiki last week marks that one story of Thor Heyerdahl going across the Pacific in a raft and that moment where he he hits the beach and he's just like, Oh my gosh, we actually did this and just like this, we could just see this wave of joy come across his face and it feels like that's that's what adventure does for us. It's just like when you when you answer that question for yourself that you've got what it takes night and that's that's where it lives and hits us.

 

Shannon Stowell  48:49  

We've done some research on people and why the motivations for why they do adventure travel. And one of them is challenge. They want to be everybody wants To, even if they don't admit it, everybody wants to challenge and wants to be proven worthy by that challenge. And it might be different. It is different for different people. You know, I look at some of the challenges that people do like climbing K2, that is not for me, far beyond. That's that's far beyond my ability, skill or desire. But I do want to climb mountains. So, you know, what is the bite size that I can take, you know, how can I be challenged and come through the other side and feel proud of what I was able to go through and see to the end, or sometimes get defeated and say, Okay, well, I took on the challenge. I'm proud that I did it and I didn't succeed. I didn't get there. And I've had those two and those are fine. Also. Those are good learning moments. And part of adventure too, I think for at least at least for a lot of us is not about checking a box. No bagging a peek. It's about The whole experience and sometimes the most powerful pieces are, were never in your mind when you booked that adventure, right? Like if you go to, let's say you're booking a safari in Africa and your goal is I want to see a lion. It may be a conversation with the the guide that sticks in your mind even more than seeing the lion or not seeing the lion, that you had this connection with another amazing human being whose life is radically different than yours. And sometimes that's the adventure. Um,

 

Dan Zehner  50:40  

that's, that's really powerful. And especially if you can get in that mindset of being more about the kind of emotional environment you want to create throughout the adventure rather than I got to do these five things that you can get to be so much more fulfilled at the end?

 

Shannon Stowell  51:03  

I think so I think also as humans we when our expectations aren't met, we're disappointed. Yeah. And that's normal. So if you set your expectations low and open, then almost everything becomes a delight. Hmm,

 

Dan Zehner  51:20  

that's really good. Okay, that's kind of universally applicable not just adventure travel.

 

Unknown Speaker  51:24  

Absolutely.

 

Dan Zehner  51:27  

Absolutely. Oh, man, we could and probably should talk all day some other times. But what's next for you? What do you got? You just got back from Sweden. I know you've got something coming up on the couch. What's your next adventure that people can follow you along into?

 

Shannon Stowell  51:44  

Well, the next one is, is that I'm actually going to Japan in a couple of weeks. And we are working on helping we're helping to develop the adventure travel industry in Hokkaido. Nagano and Okinawa, Japan. Three very, very different location. Wow. And so we're engaged with a number of government agencies there. And also travel companies, tour operators. And then I'll be speaking at a ministerial roundtable in Japan to a number of tourism ministers from different countries and talking about adventure travel and the value of powerful, powerfully done. Responsible adventure travel. So that's my next adventure. But honestly, for on a personal level, my next big adventure is I've been working inside this organization and that and the one before which were both entrepreneurial for more than 20 years, and so I'm going to take a sabbatical. And so this this over this winter, I'm going to take three months where my wife tells me I will not be allowed to look at social media, nor post And I know she's right. So I will be I will be walking away from my email from my my work from social media for

 

Dan Zehner  53:11  

I want to come build a canoe in India.

 

Shannon Stowell  53:15  

I've got some of the awesome invitations but I'll throw that one on the list. As soon as I told people they're like, you need to come here. You need to do this. Oh yeah, I'm sure I haven't figured out what I'm going to do yet. But I'm but I hope for some long long hikes. Oh, awesome. And to to rediscover the joy of reading. Yeah. And just having some alone time. So that's my that's the adventure that I'm actually My my, my heart's really pounding for right now.

 

Dan Zehner  53:40  

That sounds fantastic. In a way, well, so before your sabbatical and afterwards, when you're when you're on social social media. Where can people connect with you?

 

Shannon Stowell  53:52  

Yeah, I'm on Facebook and LinkedIn, and Instagram. And you can find me by just typing my name in Shannon Stowell on any of those and you'll find me I think on Instagram, I'm @attastowell. And I tend to be more lighthearted on Instagram and then more business on LinkedIn. So but and then Facebook is sort of just a big mess.

 

Dan Zehner  54:17  

As usual, man, you know, every conversation I have with, with guys like you, it's just so nourishing. I really appreciate you taking the time to just talk about the things that really light us up. And it's just just really great. So thanks. Well, it's very mutual. It's very mutual. Thank you. Well Enjoy the rest of your hopefully restful day after a pretty crazy trip. And looking forward to the next time we get to connect man, this has been awesome. Thanks so much.

 

Shannon Stowell  54:51  

Thank you for having me. Appreciate it, Dan.

 

Transcribed by https://otter.ai