‘When people think about adventure, they tend to think of hardcore endurance travel and there’s been a trend towards pushing higher, further, faster,’ says Henry Comyn, one of Joro Experiences’ three co-founders. ‘We’re reframing all that by identifying our clients’ passions and asking how they want to feel when fulfilling them.’
The company has gained a mighty reputation since Comyn, Duncan Over and Justin Packshaw founded it in 2017, in the belief that travel could be a force for good. ‘The more you immerse yourself fully in local cultures and environments, the likelier you are to respect them,’ explains Comyn. ‘But it’s a delicate balance, ensuring the positive impact created by being in our planet’s most extraordinary places is not outweighed by the damage done in getting there.’
Early on, Joro made a carbon offset fee mandatory and after every trip provides its clients with impact reports, showing the carbon they’ve emitted and offset, and how their money supports the communities they’ve visited. Since 2019, Joro has gained B Corp certification, signed up to the Tourism Declares a Climate Emergency initiative and created The Conscious Travel Foundation, educating members on the impact of travel. Last year, Joro became a carbon-neutral company and signed the Glasgow Declaration.
This level of eco-consciousness, combined with the founders’ experience in adventurous expeditions, makes Joro attractive for anyone seeking to explore the world differently and respectfully. Co-founder Packshaw, who recently completed a kite-skiing journey to the South Pole, personifies the company’s mission to help people achieve their dreams at no cost to the environment or communities encountered along the way.
For example, Joro organised an interactive family treasure hunt down the Nile to bring Egypt’s past alive, and enabled two friends to acquire the skills to summit Mont Blanc. Currently it’s helping a mother and son gain the proficiency for some challenging diving in the Galapagos and sending a father and 15-year-old son to a desert island off Panama, where they will be taught survival skills – foraging, building a shelter and fire lighting. ‘Real adventure is trying something outside your comfort zone and Joro Experiences offers alternative ways of seeing the world that open up different perspectives or passions,’ says Comyn. ‘We provide the back-up cover and support you need but above all, we plan a flawless build-up, so you are confident you are in the best possible state to face the adventure ahead.’
Joro believes that clients return again and again for the sense of achievement they gain from learning the skills to navigate adversity, especially when they do it under their own steam. ‘Adventure is no longer about an exotic, far-flung destination but pushing through and crossing your own personal boundaries,’ says Comyn. ‘Holidays are precious, in terms of time as well as money, and we know we need to work around our clients’ business and family lives. It might take two years to prepare for a trip, but we take a long-term view, just like a financial advisor. Helping people achieve their ultimate goals is our goal.’
THREE OTHER RESPONSIBLE TRAVEL COMPANIES FOR THE ECO-CONSCIOUS ADVENTURER
INTREPID TRAVEL F
Founded in Melbourne, Australia in 1989, Intrepid is proud to describe itself as the largest purpose-led small group adventure travel company in the world, with a mission to give back, creating positive change through the joys of travel. One of the first travel companies to gain B Corp certification, Intrepid was a pioneer in the field of responsible travel, offering enormous variety from community-based tourism to new experiences. It has been carbon neutral since 2010 and has a seven-point commitment plan that supports its Climate Emergency declaration. The Intrepid Foundation has contributed around £6.5 million to more than 130 community organisations since 2002.
MUCH BETTER ADVENTURES
Founded in 2012, the company’s mission is to help ‘adventurous souls swap the city for the great outdoors’, whether for an epic weekend or major trip. The organisation thrives on its “happiness guaranteed” promise and has built a relationship with clients based on trust. Its ethos is that the trips it organises help protect and conserve wild places while benefiting local communities. Last year it received six nominations at the annual Travolution Awards (winning the prestigious Best Travel Agent gong), alongside other honours for responsible and sustainable tourism. The company has also been a driving force behind Tourism Declares a Climate Emergency.
Specialising in travel to Spain, Portugal and Latin America, the Brighton-based company’s story began in 1995 when ‘a Brit, a Spaniard and a Basque’ met in Patagonia and went hiking together. Having gone their separate ways, the founders started the company as a way of paying back the debt of gratitude they felt, sparked by the excitement of discovery. In 2019, Pura hosted the European launch of Patagonia’s Route of Parks, the world’s most ambitious conservation tourism project, which covers 2,700km of South America, encompassing 24 ecosystems, 60 communities and nearly 200 bird and mammal species. The route aims to preserve the region through thoughtful small-scale tourism.
Images: Ben Haggar; Ultima Thule Lodge