Let Zephyr sweep you away to new locales
Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 13/02/2018 (1638 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
With an MBA in entrepreneurial management, Allan Wright knew he wanted to start his own company.
The caveat was that it had to be in a field he enjoyed, and would meet his personal criteria for outdoor activities, international culture, travel, group bonding, and fun.
Enter Zephyr Adventures, based out of the small town of Red Lodge, Mont. The company was founded by Wright in 1997 as the world’s first inline skating tour company. Over the past 21 years it has evolved and adapted to offer additional active travel excursions like hiking, trekking, biking, and sometimes, a combination of activities.
Rather than trying to be everything to everybody, Zephyr focuses on tours where they can be the best in the business, accommodate people of varying skill level, and stand out among hundreds of adventure tour companies.
“We are unique because we purposefully stay small, running only about 15 published tours per year. This allows us to hand select locations that we love, and treat our travellers like individuals, not numbers. In fact, one of our alumni recently told me she loves calling our office because we know who she is, which is not true for most companies you call nowadays.”
Zephyr is one of the few tour providers to combine physical activities with a focus on regional food, wine, and beer, as well as cultural experiences, and historic highlights. “We love being active on vacation because it’s such an intimate way to see the world. Your chance of striking up a conversation with a local or discovering that hidden treasure is so much greater when you are on foot, bike, or skates.”
Participants don’t have to worry about transporting their own gear from location to location either. Trips are arranged for someone else to carry the load, and at the end of each day, guests arrive to their destination ready to settle into comfortable accommodations ranging from quaint and rustic to five-star.
I recently travelled with Zephyr to Peru, to visit Machu Picchu — a destination that has long been on my bucket list. My favourite thing about the trip was that it was hosted by a born-and-raised local guide named Santiago, who knew the language, the history and culture, and the regional nuances. He even had face paint with him, ready to adorn us in Peruvian colours for the World Cup soccer match that the entire country was enamoured with.
I also liked that Santiago was willing to adapt our itinerary from day-to-day, so as to better accommodate the needs and pace of the group. This allowed us to visit additional sites beyond our original itinerary, take time for fun photos like selfies with llamas, and to even have moments in places all to ourselves, away from the crowds.
Among the most popular trips on Zephyr’s roster are Peru Inca Trail Trekking, Chile & Argentina Wine Multisport, and Italy Biking and Hiking. They can also arrange private tours to any of their locations, which appeal to those who can only travel on certain dates, or who want to travel with a group of their friends and family.
As for Wright himself, his favourite trips change over time. “I fell in love with our treks in Tibet years ago. There is not a South American tour I do not love. But I think that, year after year, my favorite is bicycling through Provence in France, with outstanding food and wine, beautiful scenery, and excellent side roads for biking.”
RoseAnna Schick is an avid traveller who seeks inspiration wherever she goes. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
RoseAnna Schick is an avid traveller and music lover who seeks inspiration wherever she goes. Email her at email@example.com