Convergence of the Outdoors and Business

Over the last 30 years, the trend of expedition or adventure trips has exploded. The notion that we of the late 20th and early 21st century are the first ones to develop a way in which the outdoors and business converge is a misnomer. Check out the following interesting facts about the world of outdoors. With that said, the one thing that has not changed is that whatever type of trip that meets your liking the results are always the same; the feeling of accomplishment, a better understanding of yourself and your colleques, and a readiness to tackle the next challenge. Here are a few highlights from from that last 150 years or so.

From the Smithsonian, we hear about the inventor of the modern day concept called “vacation”

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Vanderbuilt Cabin in the Adirondacks built in the late 1800’s.

“One of the little-known turning points in the history of American travel occurred in the spring of 1869, when a handsome young preacher from Boston named William H.H. Murray published one of the first guidebooks to a wilderness area. In describing the Adirondack Mountains—a 9,000-square-mile expanse of lakes, forests and rivers in upstate New York—Murray broached the then-outrageous idea that an excursion into raw nature could actually be pleasurable. Before that date, most Americans considered the country’s primeval landscapes only as obstacles to be conquered. But Murray’s self-help opus, Adventures in the Wilderness; or, Camp-Life in the Adirondacks, suggested that hiking, canoeing and fishing in unsullied nature were the ultimate health tonic for harried city dwellers whose constitutions were weakened by the demands of civilized life.

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The Camping Trips by Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, John Burroghs, and Harry Firestone.

This radical notion had gained currency among Europeans since the Romantic age, but America was still building its leisured classes and the idea had not yet caught on with the general public. In 1869, after the horrors of the Civil War and amid the country’s rapid industrialization, Murray’s book became a surprise best seller. Readers were enthralled by his vision of a pure, Edenic world in the Adirondacks, where hundreds of forest-swathed lakes were gleaming “like gems…amid the folds of emerald-colored velvet.” Murray argued that American cities were disease-ridden and filled with pressures that created “an intense, unnatural and often fatal tension” in their unhappy denizens. The wilderness, by contrast, restored both the spirit and body. “No axe has sounded along its mountainsides, or echoed across its peaceful waters,” Murray enthused, so “the spruce, hemlock, balsam and pine…yield upon the air, and especially at night, all their curative qualities.” What’s more, Murray pointed out, a new train line that had opened the year before meant this magical world was only 36 hours’ travel from New York City or Boston. The vision struck a deep chord, and his book ran into ten editions within four months.”  Full article

And while some trips are made to be luxury getaways or vacations in the country, not all meet this belief.  The Vegabond Camping Trips circa 1020’s by some of the titans of industry where basic outdoor camping with tents. Full article on History.com

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Photo of 1963 American Mt. Everest Expedition at Seattle World’s Fair

Lastly, the advent of the adrenaline or the expedition trip.  One of the most documented is Mt. Everest.  From the first documented attempt in the early 1900’s to the first successful climb by a United States Expedition in 1963, the concept of the outdoors can be used to find self-mastery or personal development was firmly planted in the culture of American business.   More information