How would you rate your adventures? How do they compare to other “adventurers'” travels? If you’re experienced in this realm, you probably have epic stories you’d love to share with those less-traveled. Or, maybe you just want to be the most adventurous person on earth. And if you’re part of the “less-traveled” camp, you’d probably appreciate some inspiration, and unique suggestions of places to visit.
We’ve all read those “Top 10 Tourist Destinations” lists with excitement and yet equally know these shutter-happy places aren’t the best way to discover yourself in nature. It’s hard to bare your soul to the universe when you’re self-conscious of the 600 other tourists standing within 10 feet of your little patch of the ground. If you desire to seek out the “less-traveled” parts of the world, and want to do it in a sustainable way, you share a lot in common with Fuchsia Claire Sims.
Born in the USA, Fuchsia Sims is filled with a love for many other countries around the globe. Even her studies reflect her traveling spirit, as she earned her Bachelor of International Marketing in Sydney, Australia, and spent another year in Denmark at the Copenhagen Business School. She has been on an adventure ever since. Just a few weeks ago, she returned from a breathtaking trip to the “end of the earth” in Tierra del Fuego at the very bottom tip of South America. Fuchsia describes this island with its polished glaciers and rugged landscapes as one of the most pristine, untouched places she has ever visited. It’s a destination she recommends everyone add to their bucket list.
Alongside exploring magnificent scenery, Fuchsia is also fascinated by cultural tourism. She fondly remembers the time she spent in North Australia in Arnhem Land, and the welcoming that the local indigenous community provided her. She lived on their land, stayed in their houses, and learned about the unique ways in which they live their lives.
Fuchsia subscribes to the idea that there are two ways to go on an adventure. Many of us will travel with the first and foremost goal of enriching our own well-being. This is a totally understandable mindset. Most of our travel education comes from corporate marketing slogans persuading us with the idea that we deserve a vacation that focuses on our every need. We all recognize these tourists.
There’s a more natural form of traveling available, though. If you’re willing to give it a try. Instead of the first goal being self-fulfillment, you can start with the intent of enriching the well-being of the people and places you visit. Learn their stories, speak to their communities. Remarkably, by traveling in this alternate way, you will likely end up having a powerfully richer experience. And sharing it with those around you. This type of travel allows you to give something first, then receive joy and rejuvenation 10-fold in return. It is this side of adventure that Fuchsia is interested in.
The passion Fuchsia has for adventure stems from the time she spent in the Costa Rica Jungle. At the young age of 18, she grew tired of the traditional 12+ years of schooling life and was hungry for a change. Sound familiar? After experiencing her own real personal growth in that jungle, Fuchsia worked as a guide and observed other people’s lives being similarly changed in a profound way. “I would watch these troubled, sometimes really emotionally unwell people arrive,” she recalls. “They would stay for 2 weeks to 2 months and then I would watch them leave to become these incredible humans. That’s where I really saw the power of adventure.” It was this realization that life begins at the end of your comfort zone, that compelled Fuchsia to take a risk and step away from her corporate career. How did Fuchsia and Nigel end up creating an app?
Back track seven years earlier. Fuchsia was heading up a marketing agency in Sydney and brought Nigel Malone on board, a like-minded adventure seeker. They shared similar values. Both were passionate about sustainable tourism. As Fuchsia put it, “We were working pretty hard for someone else and we wanted to actually make a change for ourselves.” Within the year, these great vibes led the pair to quit their jobs. They joined forces and became co-founders of a game-based travel app named “Adventure Junky.” Leaving their full time jobs to pursue their startup dream was one of the biggest adventures they have ever embarked on. They’ve built a loyal tribe of followers who are thrilled with their unique adventures and love being part of a global movement.
The motivation to create the app was clear from the start. It troubled both Nigel and Fuchsia that 1 billion people were crossing international borders per year, and that figure was set to double within the next decade. They wanted to promote sustainable travel. Knowing that the future of travel lies in the hands of the tech-savvy 18-35yr old Millennial age group, Nigel and Fuchsia decided a points-based app which promoted sustainable tourism practices, would be a perfect way to combat this rising interest in taking vacations. People already use game-based apps like Strava and Fitbit to track our exercise, so the co-founders knew this travel app edition would fit right in.
The World Tourism Organization defines sustainable tourism as “tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment and host communities.” The Adventure Junky app embodies this motto entirely. It provides experiences to its users that are environmentally friendly and contagiously adventurous. Every experience uploaded to the app is tested through a rigorous proprietary algorithm to ensure that it fits the app’s sustainable vision. You won’t find any mass-produced holidays here. Big cruise liners and noisy, party buses that superficially sightsee an overcrowded city, are not what the app is about.
Instead, the Adventure Junky app promotes authentic adventures that are unique, up close and personal. There are hikes through the Grand Canyon or the scenic mountains of New Zealand’s South Island. You’ll be inspired to try a rafting trip down the Salmon River in Idaho or rappel through a thundering waterfall. Real adventures.
Jumping on board is a simple process too. More than 10,000 other Adventure Junkies are ready to welcome you into their tribe. You simply download the free app and create a killer profile! You’ll be greeted with a newsfeed filled with thousands of real-life adventures. Each adventure you take will earn you points to rank on the Adventure Junkie’s leader board. There’s a global leader board and a private one too, so you can compete against your close friends.
If you’re looking to be part of a tribe of people who care about you and one another, as well as sustainable travel, there’s an adventurous community right there ready for you to jump on board. There’s also a whole world of unique adventures just waiting for you to accept the challenge. As Fuchsia puts it, “being an adventurer is as much a psychographic as a demographic. It doesn’t matter where you’re from, or what age you are. It’s a way of life.” You don’t need permission from anybody – not even your boss – to take that leap of faith. Go and make the most of your life today.
First two photos by Hassen Salum