We have arrived.
Welcome to our May blog and it's a big one! The doors are open on our New York office, we are a week away from our teams from BU, Penn State and UCONN jetting off to Kilimanjaro and we have the official return of our big 5. Outside of our monthly newsletter we'll be keeping everyone updated about our progress and that of all our teams on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so give us a follow (and point your nervous parents this way as well).
Why the move?
We love our London HQ and we're still there but we opened our first US office in the belief that students are bored of the same cliched travel opportunities and instead want to challenge themselves and make a difference. Now we are here it's about proving this and building on our 2017 successes and preparing for a bigger and better 2018. We already have well over 100 challenge leader applicants for our 2018 departures and are in talks with various national and local charities about working with them for the forthcoming academic year. It's all quite exciting and wouldn't be possible without you guys supporting our journey.
The path ahead...
It was certainly a big April for us and it's great to have feet on the ground in the US but May is set to be even larger. Here's a small section of what we have planned for the coming month;
- We're Hiring ... a VP of Marketing and two new account managers to ensure we are providing our teams with the best support possible. Recruitment closes tomorrow but click here if you think you could be the ying to our yang and fancy joining the team.
- We're shortlisting... our leaders. Our challenge leaders are what allows us to raise such vast sums of money and impact so many lives therefore we take their recruitment very seriously. Our CEO, Simon, speaks to every applicant who makes it through to the second round before they are offered the role to ensure they are the very best leaders possible. Next month will see the final preparations in place before we meet all our challenge leaders face to face at our away day in NYC. Our final open leader applications close on Tuesday so get involved if you haven't already. (as you guys are already faithful subscribers this is a shortlink straight through to the second round).
- And of course, we are taking almost 30 of you to take on the challenge of a lifetime. It's going to be amazing and we're super excited at HQ to hear the stories back from that summit attempt on Mt Kilimanjaro. Good luck and congratulations on so far raising well over $100,000 for Make a Wish, the B+ Foundation and Medical Missions for Children.
Here's are Mays Big Five....
Adventurer of the month.
With the launch of our European Marathon packages and with April holding not one, not two but three Major Marathons in the form of Boston, Paris and London our adventurer of the month is Katherine Switzer who was the first woman to complete the Boston Marathon in 1967 and came back in 2017 to take on the infamous course again at the fresh old age of 70. Read more about her story here.
What we are reading this month.
Trump, Brexit, Le Pen... The world seems to be going mad and sometimes the best retreat is a good book. One which has been making it's way round challenge HQ is 'It Couldn't Happen Here'. A big-mouthed and probably tiny-handed cretin backed by big money runs for President and wins. Except this was written in 1935, and Buzz Windrip is a Democrat. Lewis is a Nobel prizewinner but this book had been largely forgotten, making its astoundingly accurate details about how populist fascism can not only take root in America but truly thrive all the more frightening and impressive. A weighty classic to take on any adventure with you. We don't sell books but you can get your own copy here.
What we are watching.
In a break away from films and TV we were blown away by the latest Google Earth update. Check out the actual route our Kilimanjaro climbers will be taking up Kilimanjaro in eyewatering 3D. We promise you that you won't be disappointed. The only thing better is doing it yourself.
What are we eating this month.
We haven't quite been in New York long enough to find a classic recommendation but we recently did stumble on a bag of superfood Quinoa chips. They were fab! However it led to the well thrased out debate of whether the metoric rise in popularity of Quinoa was a good thing. One of our oldest and most established treks along the Salakantay trail takes place in the Andes where, it is estimated, over 65% of the worlds supply of Quinoa comes from so we did some digging (excuse the pun). It turns out the opinons both locally and abroad are mixed about the effects of the rising popularity of Quinoa but here is one of the most balanced reports we could find. It certainly reminds you that everything you put in your mouth has a story to it.
And finally Number 5, Quote of the Month from the diary of Antarctic explorer (and owner of an impressive set of eyebrows) Vivian Fuchs
"There is a real difference between travellers and explorers: travellers go to places, whereas explorers go to acquire knowledge; they travel for a purpose"
Until next month,
The Choose a Challenge Team.