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Today, Norm Goldman, Editor of the travel site, sketchandtravel.com and the book reviewing site, bookpleasures.com is pleased to have as our guest, Timothy E. Gordon, Editor/Publisher of Gordon's Guide Adventure & Active Travel Publications.

Good day Timothy and thanks for participating in our interview.

Norm:

Timothy, please tell us something about yourself and when did you begin your travels?

Timothy:

My love for travel started at a young age while vacationing with my family. Like many people, some of my fondest memories are of traveling with my family as a child. Also, from a very young age I loved spending time outdoors, which is one of the reasons I pursued a career that would allow me to do just that. I spent 22 years in the adventure travel sector working as a Vail/Beaver Creek ski instructor, a professional river guide and river operations manager, a packer and outfitter for Yosemite National Park, a snowmobile guide, a cross-country ski guide, and many positions within the dude and guest ranching industry that lead up to general ranch manager. Looking back, I've spent much time helping people find and experience adventure, and that's been the greatest part.

Norm:

Please tell our readers something about your web site and what are its principal objectives?

Timothy:

Gordon's Guide- Adventure & Active Travel Worldwide is a leading publisher in the adventure and active travel sector. The company publishes GordonsGuide.com, the largest online marketplace for adventure and active travelers in the world, and magazine-style travel guides.

The website offers 65 travel categories, including dude ranches, ATV vacations, houseboating, whitewater rafting, heli-skiing, ecotourism, bicycle tours and mountain biking, educational travel, culinary tours and four and five-star resorts and unique retreats worldwide.

Our site features more than 10,000 adventure and active vacations from more than 1,000 tour-operators worldwide offering trips to 3,000 destinations in 126 countries. Visitors can research vacations, check trip availability and click on direct links to vacation providers to book trips-it's the premier information resource for active travelers.

Norm:

From your vast experience in the travel industry and extensive knowledge, if you were to opt for eight of the most romantic and unique destinations, which ones would they be and explain why?

Timothy:

I'm the adventure guy, I don't do romantic. Going off of Clavey Falls in the Tuolomne River in my kayak, one of the biggest drops in the U.S., is 100 percent pure adrenaline, not romance; Unless your idea of romance is freefalling 20 feet in a kayak. However, for the sake of your question, I'll put my adventure guy aside and get in touch with my feminine side and offer some great romantic suggestions.

Hilton Curacao, is a beautiful resort with two private white sand beaches, the convenience of a major, historical city nearby and guest rooms with private balconies and beautiful views of the ocean. If your traveling with children the resort offers the Kidz Paradise club which provides supervised activities for children giving adults some alone time.

Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, is a magnificent resort referred to by many as "The Diamond in the Wilderness. The Chateau is nestled in the Banff National Park in Alberta and is surrounded by the majestic peaks of the Rocky Mountains and is located next to legendary Lake Louise. The scenery is simply breathtaking and the service is superb.

Also in Alberta is Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, known as the Grand Canadian Lodge Experience and a favorite getaway site. Situated in the Canadian Rockies, the lodge represents tranquility and natural beauty.

Paradise Guest Ranch in Wyoming is just that...paradise. The ranch offers travelers rustic elegance and plenty of exciting outdoor adventure. Cabins are well equipped and beautifully designed and arranged with fireplaces, kitchenettes, western art and outdoor porches with mountain meadow views. The sunsets are truly a sight to behold.

Finca Oro, Gold Ranch, in Palomo, Costa Rica is truly a wonder. Travelers live high in a private, secluded cloud forest away from the city and tourists. Guests will experience spectacular views, and the wonder of the world's most pristine cloud forests.

Another ecotourism destination that comes to mind is Maui Eco-Adventures. While there, guests can hike Maui's rainforests and view spectacular waterfalls, Haleakala Crater, Kahakuloa Village and other treasures hidden on private property.

Other Island resorts such as Turtle Island in Fiji and Melia Cozumel in Quintana Roo, Mexico are fabulous. Turtle Island is a private Island in the Yasawa Island Group in the South Pacific and is best known as providing the spectacular backdrop for the Blue Lagoon films. Melia Cozumel is famous for its crystal clear waters and white sand beaches. It has been described by travelers as one of the most impressive all-inclusive hideaways in Mexico.

Norm:

I just completed reviewing your excellent magazine Dude Ranch Vacations & Horseback Adventures. Why do you think this is an important magazine at this time? How has the feedback been so far? What kind of research did you do to compile this magazine? What challenges or obstacles did you encounter while putting together this magazine and how did you overcome these challenges?

Timothy:

The travel guide is important for several reasons. First, it is a great resource for people who want to learn more about ranch and riding vacations-there really isn't anything comparable on the market. Second, it is a wonderful vehicle to promote the dude ranch industry and showcase some of the finest ranches in North America.

From the beginning, the responses from travelers, press and the general public have been extremely positive. The travel guide has been described as highly informative, professional and beautiful. We've put a lot of research, care and attention to detail into this guide, which is reflected in how well it has been received.

In terms of challenges, our biggest challenge or as I like to call it quest was to ensure that the travel guide accurately depicted the beauty, warmth and serenity of these dude ranches and outdoor riding vacation experiences. I think we managed to do that with high quality, color photos and well-written, in-depth descriptions. The fact that it continues to sell very well is a testament to our success.

Norm:

I understand that dude ranch vacations and horseback adventures are quite popular. How do you explain this popularity?

Timothy:

There are many reasons for their popularity. One reason is that dude ranch and riding vacations take people back to a simpler time in life. For example, many ranches, and when you're on a pack trip or wagon train adventure, do not have televisions, computers or other electronic devices that we've become accustomed to in our hectic modern lives. Instead, people occupy themselves by singing around a campfire, enjoying family-style meals, and participating in numerous activities such as horseback riding, hiking and fly-fishing. All of these activities combine to provide fun, interactive and highly memorable vacation experiences.

By comparison, traditional family vacations such as going to an amusement park can be very stressful and not really enjoyable. Dude ranch and horseback riding vacations offer a fun, stress-free and extremely beautiful environment -highly conducive to wonderful bonding experiences for adults and children. In fact, families often visit the same dude ranch year after year because they love it so much.

Norm:

What does travel mean to you?

Timothy:

Travel can mean many things to people. For me, travel is an opportunity to experience the world and have fun doing it. On a personal front, I really enjoy adventure travel because it forces you to take risks and grow, and in many instances learn about yourself and your environment. I think many people are beginning to discover all that adventure travel has to offer. In fact, adventure and active travel is the fastest growing sector of the travel industry with the greatest interest coming from categories such as families, single women and baby boomers.

There are so many choices available to people now, more than ever before, which I think makes travel even more exciting and more popular. GordonsGuide.com currently offers 65 categories of adventure travel and that number is growing very quickly.

Norm:

Have you seen any new trends in travel today, if so, please explain?

Timothy:

Yes, we've seen several trends. One of the biggest is that more families are showing an interest in adventure travel. According to our information, families inquiring about adventure travel made up 27% of all inquiries at GordonsGuide.com in 2004 and 31% in 2005. That number has jumped to 43% this year.

We are also seeing a rise in the customization of vacations. Tour operators are offering original, creative family holidays to appeal to families who want a unique or new travel experience. The increased customization is moving families away from mainstream tourism. We believe this is a trend that will become stronger in the coming years as more and more tour operators design custom vacations.

Norm:

What have been your favorite travel vacations? Why?

Timothy:

I have had so many great adventures that it is really hard to choose just one. However, if forced to choose, I would have to pick river rafting. I was a river rafting guide for nine years, and as they say, once a river rat always a river rat. It's a fraternal thing. It probably also goes to being a Pisces I love getting wet.

Norm:

As there does not seem to be any authoritative standards that exist for guidebook authors or publishers, how do you know that a guidebook or magazine is up to par? How do you check out the authorial competence?

Timothy:

That's a very good question because there are so many travel guides in the marketplace, many of which are good and others not so good. There are several things you can do to select a quality travel guide. I recommend looking at the publisher or author to determine their level of publishing and travel experience. How many years has the publisher been in business? Does the author have a significant level of expertise in his or her travel area?

Another way to examine authorial competence is to read the reviews published on the guidebook in question. Reviews from travelers and press can provide you with helpful insights not found elsewhere. I would also ask the following questions: Is the guide organized in such a way that it is easy to use? Is the guidebook updated regularly? Is the level of detail provided sufficient for my needs?

I would also like to add that guidebooks should include ample photos to illustrate points of interest and activities.

Norm:

Is there anything else you wish to add that we have not covered?

Timothy:

We want people to imagine floating down a river, sitting around a campfire with friends, wildlife viewing and seeing different parts of the world. At Gordon's Guide we strive to help people go beyond imagining to actually doing it. Live adventurously!

Norm:

Thanks once again and good luck with all of your future endeavors.

To read Norm's Review of Dude Ranch Vacations & Horseback Adventures >CLICK HERE

Visit sketchandtravel.com - click here

 

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