Motoring up the Amazon River in a dugout canoe 30 years ago, we could see them running from afar. As soon as they heard us approaching, the small native Yagua tribe ran into their huts in jeans and t-shirts, and exited to greet us half-naked in grass skirts with blowguns in hand. In that instant leading my first group tour I decided this:
At Wildland Adventures, authenticity will be our highest priority; that we will approach our world and the people and cultures we share it with embraced in an ethic of honesty and sincerity.
What otherwise might have been a one-sided tourist parade turned out to be a heartfelt cultural connection when we approached in gratitude with respect for who they are, not what everyone might have otherwise pretended as a bygone primitive people: Here was a group of individuals not living in the past, but rather an indigenous community transitioning into the modern world willing to share their traditions with a group of ecotourists genuinely interested in learning about their culture, customs and present day lifestyle.
We laughed hysterically together learning how to use a blow gun! But, by asking deeper questions about them as individuals and inquiring how they live today and provide for their families in the jungle, a façade between us faded, and an opportunity to share opened. In the end, as our canoe drifted off the sand bank downriver back into our reality, we were returning home with a new found understanding of indigenous peoples struggles everywhere, especially the difficult challenge overcoming inequities, prejudices and human rights to participate in modern life while preserving cultural heritage on their terms. They shared with us how our interaction on that sand bar in the middle of the Amazon River was their opportunity to earn income and share their culture with the outside world, like so many other community-based ecotourism initiatives we seek out in the world that support conservation of wildlands and benefit local people.
Today, three decades later, our "Wild Style" of travel has become the affirmation of your choice to travel with Wildland Adventures—to experience a real world without artifice, that craves our understanding and compassion rather than our judgement; a world that seeks to welcome us rather than entertain us.
Over the course of our 30-year journey, we hold firm to a truth we declared about travel from the outset that "…it may be the most important path to a growing global community which sustains life on earth rather than degrades it." Together, with our travelers, we have expanded our global community, not between nations, but among conscientious individuals and communities who care about our Mother Earth, economic inequities and social injustices. Now, more than ever in our lifetime, we are part of a pivotal global movement to build inter-personal, inter-cultural, and environmental bonds among the people and the places we travel.
We invite you to join this movement together with us, open to the possibilities how our trips will strengthen our own humanity. Our approach to authenticity in travel has become more than learning about our world, immersing in its beauty, and facilitating personal connections and mutual understanding with new friends in other cultures.
When you travel in gratitude open to the intention of experiencing the world in sincerity without judgement, every Wildland Adventure becomes your own personal journey to discover something in yourself. The 'Wild Style' of travel opens new horizons for you to explore, as author Joe Robinson describes, "…the vast incognita territory within each of us." Our intention is to return home from a Wildland Adventure not only knowing the world, but our place in it.
"We but mirror the world. All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change."
In this way, to be transformed by travel, is to transform the world. Over the years we've discovered when we journey down a truly open road we shed our baggage and find our soul, summoning us to cultivate love and celebrate life.
Keeping it wild,
Kurt & Anne Kutay