During my years as a guide in Alaska, it bothered me that our trips were only affordable for people with good income.
Join Me is for adventurers fit and motivated enough to accompany me on my travels. As a team. As friends. Everybody covers their expenses themselves. I’m in charge of planning the entire endeavor, helping everybody with their personal preparation and leading the group on location – for these services I will only charge a small amount.
No Join Me trips in 2019
In summer 2019 I’m going back to Alaska for a long and demanding packrafting journey. Some whitewater stretches will be class III and IV, which is already going to push my very own limits. I feel comfortable paddling these rivers, but I can’t take responsibility for less experienced paddlers. My only two partners on this journey are skillful packrafters and adventurers themselves.
However, I do already have some ideas for 2020, which I will publish here as soon as they are concrete enough. Until then, feel free to get some inspiration from previous journeys.
From choosing the right flight to grocery shopping on location: All members pay for themselves, there is absolute cost transparency. I’m always there to help and give advice when my expertise is needed.
Physical and mental fitness
I expect everybody to be motivated, emotionally stable and physically fit. There will always be demanding situations, so resilience, flexibility and team spirit are essential requirements.
We travel to rather remote places on challenging routes that I myself look forward to explore and which I prepare for as thoroughly as I can. There can still be unforeseen difficulties – be prepared for an adventure, not a holiday.
a) Planning: I will plan and organize the entire trip, including route, maps, logistics (transport, housing etc.) and food supplies.
b) Preparation and advice: Step by step I will guide all team members through their personal preparation, including:
– Choice of equipment (some of which I can lend)
– Physical preparation and training
– Arrangement of travel documents and help with visas (if required)
– Help with the choice and booking of flights
c) Permits and local help: I will organize local assistance and take care of any special permits required for certain regions. The costs will be shared by all team members.
d) Satellite phone and emergency device: I will be carrying and pay for the essential tools necessary in case of emergency (Iridium phone and SPOT GPS messenger).
e) Leading: I will make sure our journey runs as safely and smoothly as possible and that we will make good decisions despite all difficulties. Certain adjustments might be necessary during our trip, as that’s the nature of wilderness travel. On location I’m usually in favor of group decisions, but if push comes to shove I expect that the rest of the team will trust in my judgement and experience. Yet, I’m not the “guide” who’s main goal is to make “clients” happy – out there, we are a team and everybody is responsible for making our adventure a success.
a) Commitment and emotional stability: “Join Me” travels are demanding endeavors that require a high level of dedication, effort and mental strength. Challenges and difficulties are likely to occur, we then need to pull ourselves together and stay focused. At times of extreme pressure it’s essential that all team members stay calm and optimistic – they have to be committed enough to embrace the challenge and tolerate the stress that comes with it.
b) Physical fitness: Please be fit! You don’t have to be a marathon runner, but good health, basic body strength and endurance are indispensable. Strong joints and muscles help with the sometimes heavy backpacks on treks.
c) Equipment: You don’t only need good gear, you also need to be familiar with it. I will help you choose and get to know the right equipment, but ultimately it’s your responsibility to bring all the items and understand how to use them. I might be able to lend certain items to you, just ask me if that’s what you prefer.
d) Insurance: You will need insurance to cover your costs in the unlikely scenario of an evacuation or health issue. I can help you choose one.
Additional to your own expenses I will charge a fee for the services I provide (see under “What are my responsibilities?”). The fee depends on the length and complexity of the trip. The amount mentioned above is an estimation of all costs related to the journey, including my fee. Not included are expenses for equipment and visas.
Once I have answered all of your questions, I’ll ask for a deposit, which once paid will guarantee your spot. From this point on I will assist you during all necessary steps from getting the right equipment and booking flights to physical training and visa applications. The rest of the sum can be paid just a few weeks before the trip starts. Of course I will inform you about all of these things anyway when we discuss the details of our journey.