Every year, Avid4 Adventure awards a few lucky seasonal staff members with the trip of a lifetime. Winners are granted a plane ticket to fly anywhere in the world plus a $500 stipend to spend when they arrive. To enter, staff must submit a video submission describing their dream adventure and how they plan to live by Avid4 Adventure's core values during the trip.
The video submissions from 2019 were pretty spectacular! The decision was tough but we had two lucky 2019 grant winners. Lloyd will be traveling to Scotland to summit some of the highest peaks there and Marz will be traveling to Southeast Asia to help communities in need. Congratulations to this year's Adventure Grant recipients! Michael Lane, one of the 2018 grant recipients, went to Switzerland for a biking adventure. Read below to learn more about Michael and his journey of a lifetime.
AS: What is your background?
ML: I grew up in Bountiful, Utah and graduated with a Bachelor of Science from Utah State University in Environmental Studies. Spending time outdoors was always a part of my childhood. Every summer, we would spend a week at Lake Powell and we spent plenty of time camping in the local mountains. There was no shortage of access to the outdoors just outside our neighborhood so I also spent most of my time adventuring around with friends outside.
What kind of professional outdoor experience do you have?
I had a few different jobs focusing on wildlife and then applied for a Naturalist position at the San Jaoquin Outdoor School in California just north of Santa Cruz. It was a pretty new concept for me, since it didn't really exist in Utah but it looked like something I would enjoy. I ended up loving it and have been working in Outdoor Education since at the Santa Cruz County Outdoor Science School. In addition to working at Avid4 Adventure, I have worked at many different camps and other outdoor programs in the summer.
How many years have you worked at Avid4 Adventure?
I have worked for and helped at Avid for 4 years.
Where did you go for your Adventure Grant trip?
I went to Switzerland and also explored Italy and Austria.
In what ways were you able to live Avid4 Adventure's core values while you were there?
I chose Switzerland in the first place because there were so many different ways that, as a country, they embodied Avid4's core values.
It was very easy to live environmentally connected by taking a bus, train, bike or my own feet everywhere and I even spent 5 days in some car-free towns. I was able to live community by visiting my niece and some old friends that I had not seen in a while that are living in Europe. I had to constantly live truth when I didn't speak the language or needed help getting somewhere or figuring out something new. Living fun was as easy as ever by trying so many new things, meeting new people and having so many adventures.
What was your favorite experience on the trip?
One of my favorite experiences was mountain biking in Zermatt. It was a 13 mile ride with an over 5,000 ft. descent. It started with surrounding views of glaciers and ended in the valley floor with a variety of different terrain and a flow trail section as well.
What were your greatest challenges while you were there?
There are 3 main languages spoken in Switzerland and I am not familiar with any of them. It was humbling to have to always ask if people spoke English and people were always very friendly and helpful with whatever amount they did speak. Most of the signs were in different languages as well so sometimes figuring out food or other instructions was difficult also.
What did you learn?
I learned a lot about figuring out different trains and public transportation. Every country does it a little differently and there are so many different types of transportation, schedules, times, etc. Just as soon as I started getting familiar with one, I would have to figure out a whole other system. Surprisingly, I only messed up a few times and it wasn't much of an inconvenience. My main costly lesson was that in Vienna, you can just walk onto the subway system without passing a gate or showing a ticket and I naively thought that maybe you didn't need a ticket. I learned that, in fact, you do need a ticket!
Do you have plans for your next adventure?
Seeing the Swiss Alps was pretty mind blowing for me and it made me think about how amazing the Himalayas must be. Now I want to go see them.◼
Are you interested in summer adventures in the great outdoors while inspiring kids to choose active, outdoor lifestyles or do you know someone who is? We're now hiring for the 2020 season in California, Colorado, Minnesota, Oregon and Washington and all experience levels are welcome to apply! See our current job openings at the link below.