Q&A with Chris Ball from AdventureHoney

11 Jan

 

Paddling the length of the Dead Sea

Paddling the length of the Dead Sea

Talking about travel gets me excited. It reminds me of the wonderful times I have had on the road and inspires me to work hard towards having more. I recently met Chris Ball, CEO of AdventureHoney, a fantastic website where you can book adventurous activities overseas with 25% of the profit going to impoverished communities, and the conversation naturally turned to travel. He has had some incredible adventures and I thought it was a crime not to have him share some here. So, enjoy Chris’ story or visit AdventureHoney to check out the adventures on offer. And for the record, this isn’t a sponsored post, it’s just something cool!

How did the idea for AdventureHoney come about? After a ‘gruelling’ two years spent travelling through 50 countries, across six continents, AdventureHoney was born. In my travels, I noticed that although there were a host of online options for booking flights, accommodation, travel insurance, rental cars etc there was very little when it came to tours and activities and everything out there was lame (i.e. bus tour of city sights…meh!)

Now, I dare say that for any adventurous traveller many of the greatest experiences can’t be bought. However, there are many amazing things to do that are only possible if bought from a trusted operator. Whether white water rafting a remote jungle river, tearing over single track trails on a mountain bike or scuba diving a tropical reef – AdventureHoney is the place where you find and book all those adventurous tours and activities. In fact, the name is a reflection of what we offer – the adventurous ‘honey on top’ for your travels – connecting you to all those cool things to do.

What makes AdventureHoney different from other travel booking sites? In a sentence: A place to buy adventurous tours and activities direct from operators, curated by fellow travellers, which generate a positive local impact every time an experience is sold.

So, there’s three points that make us unique:

1. Adventure experience specialists.

2. Buy experiences curated by fellow travellers, like TripAdvisor with a booking engine.

3. We leave a positive local impact on the people and place. 25% of the proceeds invested into our Changemaker Program, investing in social entrepreneurs suffering extreme poverty.

AdventureHoney Logo

To be sharing these adventures with the world, you must have an adventurous spirit yourself. Tell us your most adventurous travel story. Ah-ha, I love this question! But how do I pick just one? Kayaking the length of the Dead Sea before being intercepted by the Israeli military – that was pretty wild; two weeks trekking in Patagonia – almost getting lost in knee deep snow and horizontal sleet; cycling from London to Istanbul; touring Cambodia on a motorbike…so many wonderful adventures!

I’ll go with trekking deep into the Amazon with a local Colombian and living like a local. We lived a subsistence life for a week or so. By day we’d explore the jungle, fish for catfish and piraña, pick fresh mangoes and pineapple and have wonderful conversations using my limited Spanish but mostly just smiles and body language.

At night, I slept in a hammock strung up in a local man’s jungle hut. Regular thunderstorms lit up the night sky, the thunder occasionally drowned out the sounds of the jungle.  One night, we went hunting in a traditional canoe. We shot a Caiman (like a small crocodile) and ate it for breakfast the next day. And yes, it tastes just like…chicken!

The jungle itself was something that must be experienced to be believed. The level of biodiversity was phenomenal. It seemed like every butterfly that landed on you or bee that buzzed by was unique. There was a beetle that came out at night, which had a light as bright as burning magnesium on its abdomen! Monkeys, snakes, monitors, lizards, bugs, birds, bats…a truly amazing part of the world.

Amazon Man

Amazon Man

Bulgarian Black Sea on London to Istanbul ride

Seeing the Bulgarian Black Sea on Chris’ London to Istanbul ride

And your most touching moment on the road? Great question. There are two moments that jump to mind, which are hard to separate. One was in Malawi were I spent some time in a school for orphans whose parents had died of AIDS. The children were filled with love, curiosity and an eagerness to learn. It wasn’t until I left that I discovered that the majority also carried the HIV virus – passed down by their parents before birth. It was sad, but the positive energy and attitude of these children was inspiring.

The second moment was in the Palestinian refugee camps of Lebanon. To see thousands of displaced people, wanted by no one, with no country or home to call their own, living in fields under plastic tarps was shocking. It provided a deeper understanding behind some of the issues in this troubled region.

Moments like these in Malawi and Lebanon inspired AdventureHoney’s commitment to invest 25% of proceeds into the Changemaker Program.  The program is an incredibly powerful way to make a real and lasting difference. By empowering local people with great social business ideas we can make a difference to the lives of thousands of people around the world. Travel is the ideal vehicle for such a program. By 2020 1.6 billon fortunate people will travel the world accounting for 10% of global GDP. We have a phenomenal opportunity to leverage this weight of money for the benefit of those who need it most.

What can travellers expect from AdventureHoney? They can expect to find real adventure experiences, Thailand only for now, which run from a couple of hours up to three or four days. From free climbing and cliff jumping to kayaking and trekking, from single track mountain biking and motorbike tours to scuba diving and elephant treks – AdventureHoney is where real travellers find real adventures.

It’s safe to book (we have a 100% money back guarantee) and the niche focus means you know what you’re going to get and you won’t pay more than what you would pay going direct to the operator (no big fat travel agent commissions!)

Rafting Chaing Mai

AdventureHoney guests Rafting in Chaing Mai

AdventureHoney guests visiting an Elephant Sanctuary in Northern Thailand

AdventureHoney guests visiting an Elephant Sanctuary in Northern Thailand

AdventureHoney Four Day Moto tour in Northern Thailand

AdventureHoney Four Day Moto tour in Northern Thailand

What are the next steps for AdventureHoney? Getting more great adventurous experiences from awesome operators and getting lots of bookings from awesome travellers! Once we are comfortable with progress in Thailand, we’ll look to expand through South East Asia and beyond!

Where is your next trip or ultimate adventure? One of three places: Nepal, Bhutan or Borneo. I’ve never been to any, but will get to one in 2013. I like Nepal as a destination for awe inspiring trekking and spirituality. Bhutan fascinates me for the way it manages tourism and its take on GDP with the ‘Gross Happiness Index.’ And Borneo is attractive for a nice mix between great jungles trekking and beautiful beaches. Of course, all three are rich in adventure!

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One Response to “Q&A with Chris Ball from AdventureHoney”

  1. Jess January 11, 2013 at 6:03 pm #

    Mmmm, this really makes me hunger for another adventure. Great stories, thanks for posting 🙂

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