As we approach our second decade in business this 2020, one tenant that has carried us through (beyond education and stewardship), and continues to drive our business, is that of exploration & international adventure. While I see eNRG Kayaking having two distinct phases within the decades, I am thrilled that we continue to develop the international component. This year’s Ecuador trip was so special because it was the first time we offered a guide training for OUR managers and core staff, and focused on team building while experiencing a new culture.
During the first ten years of business, our international focus was Costa Rica / Panama, Thailand / Laos, Nepal, & Zambia / Botswana, and SW Yunnan China. In this second decade, while we have focused considerably more on building our domestic business in Oregon City and Mill City, our international trips have been focused more on S. America, taking us to Chile / Argentina, Peru, and now Ecuador (and Columbia).
What makes traveling so special for me is the perspective you gain about how others live. Different cultures, different languages, different ecosystems, and different ways of life. Paddling is such an international sport making it a wonderful way to tap into new cultures and experience different ecosystems, with paddling as the medium. It is an amazing way to see the world, reminding us that the world is substantially broader than America. Even though I feel incredibly fortunate to be an American, it can be eye opening to see how others live. It always feels good to bring economy to the small communities we visit, and support the local businesses that sustain the water tourism industry in their respective country. There are so many hard working, trustworthy, and amazing people in this world that work on rivers internationally, and it is an honor to be a part of that community. It is a connection that is palatable and powerful.
In the coming email newsletters, we will hear from our core staff (and consultants) about what made Ecuador so special to them. Also, I have to throw a huge “shout out” to Boof Sessions in Baeza (Abe Herrera- a fellow Rescue 3 instructor), that helped us arrange our trip. Without his help, this trip wouldn’t have happened, and to my partner Justin Rae who believes in our vision of investing in those that work so hard on the day-to-day in Oregon. If you get a chance to pat either of these guys on the back, please make it a double for me. While it is a huge investment to do a staff retreat in a foreign country, it proved to be very valuable, and has reinforced that indomitable spirit that drives us.