For our Scotland Weekend Challenge in May 2019, we asked one of our participants to write the report, to see the challenge through their eyes and a different lens. Perri took up the mantle and was kind enough to share her experience with you all here.
Adventure travel is not easy. There is so much preparation, dedication and knowledge that one must know before embarking on a journey that can be dangerous, strenuous or life-changing. After finding out about IGO Adventures, a company that plans the adventure, cooks delicious food, pitches the tent and organizes an on-site safety team, I knew it was an experience I would have to try. A travel company that focuses on community, adventure and mindfulness. Yes, please.
IGO Adventures started after the founder and some friends had racked up many “out of reach” expeditions, you know the ones I am talking about; rowing a tiny boat across some huge body of water for 48 days, reaching the south pole, or going off the grid for extended periods of time. The types of trips many of us dream of, but the reality is we do not have the time to train or potentially have the sponsors to make such a trip possible.
That is when they started designing weekend and week-long adventure challenges (keyword that gets me super excited). IGO is for someone looking to breathe in the fresh air, feel all of the elements, meet a new community of friends and join a trip that will potentially give you a new perspective on life.
While there are several locations to choose from, I decided to gift my boyfriend the Scotland weekend experience for this birthday as both of us had never been there and the adventure looked right up our alley. This trip was perfect for solo travellers, couples, a group of friends or colleagues.
IGO has many aspects to a long weekend of travel that I can get behind: Challenge, Wilderness, Community, Self-Discovery, Adventure & Stewardship.
1. The Challenge
IGO has crafted, designed and plotted out a strenuous challenge where guests can either choose to compete or complete. After all, 22km of running/hiking up and down 1000m along with a 2km kayaking trip is not a casual trip in the park, especially if you decide to compete for the top spots. Some of their other challenges include cycling and swimming. Let’s call the challenge the “main event”.
Not only were we out in the middle of pretty much “nowhere”, but I was also able to disconnect from my phone during the days while being able to enjoy all of the elements mother nature threw our way. On one of the evenings, we were able to participate in a bushcraft course where we were able to learn survival tricks, the most important aspects to remember when trying to stay alive in the wilderness and of course we learned how to make a fire in all sorts of ways. It was one of my favourite moments of the weekend. There is something special about going back to our basic survival instincts.
As I mentioned above, the IGO concept attracts a really special type of person. There are athletes who are training for their 5th Iron Man, and there are those who are there for a good laugh (and a drink or two) around the campfire. While some are there to compete, and some may be there to complete, everyone is there to expand their community. As a female, I typically find it hard to convince my girlfriends to choose an adventure trip over a beach vacation. While I certainly enjoy both, a weekend out in nature is so fulfilling that it was nice to meet many solo females and male travellers or small groups of friends who all can enjoy this experience together, and potentially many more in the future.
I am all about learning new things, pushing myself and discovering how far I can go, and that box was certainly checked off. The challenge is tough, it was steep, long and hard though we were all able to complete it at our own pace. I also learned what it was like to bath in a cold river, and walk in the pouring rain for 10 kilometres. It was amazing and I had a smile on my face for every second of it.
The comfort zone. It is a scary place, the more I stay in it, the harder it becomes to let out my inner child, play in the rain, splash in puddles, climb new mountains and try new things. I feel like the weekend was a group of adults there to explore and enjoy the adventure together.
This is something that is very important to me in both my personal and professional life. We live in a world where we are consciously faced with tough decisions in order to make the world a better place. While by no means we are perfect, it brings me great joy to choose a travel company (similar to the one I work for full time) that hires local companies, sources sustainable food, and leaves the space we temporarily lived in better condition than when we came. IGO was very conscious about reducing waste, leaving nothing behind and packing sustainably and for that, I will be forever grateful.
While it is easy to escape to hop on a plane to a sunny coast, or take a train out to the countryside the reality is many of us will still spend time on our phones, only with the same group of friends, never being challenged and not reconnecting with nature. IGO makes it very easy to enjoy a mini expedition type trip made simple. I would certainly give it a go solo, with your partner, your family member or even a co-worker and of course friends.
Perri Rothenberg is a travelling creative currently living and working as the Digital Strategy Director at Pukka Travels, an arctic sailing company for modern explorers based in Tromsø, Norway. Previously, she was the Content Marketing lead for the US at Trivago in Düsseldorf, Germany. She is an alumnus at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) receiving her BFA in Fashion Marketing and Management and concentration in Business Entrepreneurship. Throughout her travels, Perri has been inspired by a variety of cultures thus designing solutions for an omniscient and seamless future with a sustainable purpose.