Our Purpose “To be the leading and most trusted partner that educates, inspires and enables all peoples to enjoy, experience, cherish and protect wilderness”.
The Outdoor Journal is… a print magazine, with true stories from adventurers and travellers all over the world. It is a website, with news from unreported regions and stories not told. It is videos, of adventures, and expeditions to places that still have room for first descents and ascents. It is events, bringing together communities of enthusiasts and believers. It is a reviews platform, enabling travellers to make better decisions about their next adventure. It is a global network of individuals who believe in something greater than their selves. The Outdoor Journal is a call to action. We believe in clean air and blue skies. We believe in unpolluted rivers and plastic-free oceans, in pristine rainforests, clean beaches, green hills and open grasslands. We believe in living sustainable, ethical lives, in respect of the planet that has always provided for us. We believe in one Earth, with no nationalities and invented borders. We believe in saving whales and sharks, tigers and orangutans, bears, bees, baobabs and blackwoods. We believe in saving forests and wilderness areas now, when we still can. We believe the only way to do this, the only way we can survive as a species, is to make people want something different. We believe we need to change consumption patterns and growth models in developing countries. We believe in influencing new generations of humans across the planet, and make them want something other than what mainstream media makes them believe they should spend their money on. We understand that it will take a long time and be a difficult battle. Our mission is to fight environmental destruction, climate change and runaway growth driven by unending human consumption. Our mission is to save the planet. We hope to achieve it by glamorizing and enabling a better lifestyle choice for billions of people across the planet. We believe we can do it by building a highly successful, massively scalable 21st-century startup business around a global, growing community of enlightened adventure travelers and outdoor sport enthusiasts, and leveraging that force when the time is right.
The Outdoor Voyage… exists to enable a better adventure travel experience for everyone: safer, fully informed and environmentally sustainable. Together with The Outdoor Journal, our mission is to save the planet by promoting alternative lifestyles and building connections.
On top of our large network of freelance contributors and part-time staff, we are a growing, international team with a common goal: to educate and inspire all people to experience, enjoy and protect wilderness. More information can be found here.
Apoorva Prasad does not have a death wish, but he does have an affinity for calculated risk, and he’s willing to bear the weight of a colossal challenge for a purpose forged from his experiences facing danger. “The sound of a chopper, when you’re dying on a mountain, is possibly the most beautiful sound you’ll ever hear.” When AP left his home in Northern India at age 17 to pursue his passion for mountain climbing throughout the US and Europe, he never imagined that it would lead to him being stranded on a ledge, 4000 meters high in the Alps, waiting for rescue.
In November 2009, AP and his climbing partner were off-route. It was dark and it was winter in the Alps. With no water, food or an emergency sleeping bag, and no chance of rescue until morning, he had to figure out how to survive the night. “The one thing that comes to my mind is, ‘What am I doing here?’”. Exposed to the mountain winds and sub-freezing temperatures, huddled next to his climbing partner for warmth, AP reflected on the story of his life like a distant observer, outside of time.
AP grew up close to the mountains and forests of Northern India, with summer vacations deep in the Himalayas or in the jungles of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. These were pristine wilderness zones in the 1980s. As a teenager, AP moved to the US and Europe and his obsession with climbing evolved into a career as an adventure journalist. When he returned to these places as an adult, he was horrified to discover his personal Edens being bulldozed to make way for shoddy apartment buildings and cheap shopping malls, factories and roads; replacing wondrous natural beauty with smog and sewage. As international journalist traveling the world, AP saw this destruction repeated all for so-called "economic development." He felt strongly there were alternative ways for development, such as adventure tourism, that could both help bring economic prosperity to underdeveloped regions. while preserving wilderness and local cultures.
Still freezing atop the mountain, when the first hint of sun came, AP knew he survived. He waved off the rescue chopper and found his way, determined to shape the story of his life with a new purpose.
As a journalist freelancing through the early aughts, AP was caught in the maelstrom of change that the internet brought to media. His first in-house position started at a print magazine. Legacy media companies were struggling to adapt to the internet. They put all their content online for free, which essentially conveyed the message to internet users that content is valueless. Professional writers and photographers were struggling to make a living. Simultaneously, venture capitalist firms and tech startups began to hail the rise of “user-generated content” and “citizen journalism,” further denigrating the value of professional content. But high-quality content costs money. Creating content is a skill, journalism even more so, and, like coding or engineering, takes many years to learn and become good at. It used to be that media businesses produced great editorial content, attracted readers and paid for it all through advertisements. Media businesses have now been replaced by Facebook and Google, which piggyback off content generated for free by users. It’s the same concept, with one major difference, they don’t pay content creators. Advertiser money is not paid forward. Shareholders get richer, and journalism dies.
When AP, and future co-founder Lorenzo Fornari realized there was a genuine problem in this space that needed to be fixed, they brainstormed other ways to make money out of content aside from traditional advertising. Their vision was to go beyond just writing stories about adventure, by actually connecting readers to adventure travel itself.
About a year after starting The Outdoor Journal (TOJ), the brand started to enjoy widespread brand recognition and grow as a media business. Coming from the adventure media space, AP knew there were hundreds of phenomenal operators out there - TOJ was often working with or in contact with many of them to get in-depth stories from the outdoors. Repurposing his extensive personal network as a journalist, AP drew up a plan to enable other adventure travel enthusiasts to inhabit their dreams.
Simultaneously, TOJ’s work to highlight environmental conservation and sustainable adventure travel was leading to a shocking understanding that in developing and growing countries like India, there were far too many unethical, fly-by-night operators conducting unsafe trips for unsuspecting travelers, while causing irreparable damage to pristine environments such as in the high Himalaya.
In academic language, this was a case of “bad actors” taking advantage of an existing “matching problem” in an imperfect economy. Because AP had pushed his personal limits to their breaking point as a climber, earned a university degree in Economics (a few years after dropping out of Engineering school to pursue Himalayan mountaineering) and established himself as a journalist, he believed he had the multidisciplinary bandwidth to take on a problem that seemed too mammoth for one man alone.
While brainstorming over this problem with his friend and fellow adventure traveler Lorenzo Fornari (‘Zo’ to his friends), AP and Zo arrived at the conclusion that only a technologically advanced online platform, capable of parsing and accurately presenting the information that TOJ journalists already gathered and used while writing their stories, would be capable of solving the problem. This wouldn’t work unless there was a built in economic incentive - travelers would need to be able to directly book via the platform in order to disincentivize the bad actors and promote the good actors.
When adventure travel is booked in the traveler's home country via traditional agents, between 40% to 60% of the money actually stays in the home country, instead of the region where the activity or travel is actually performed. With a platform, they realized it would become possible to measure the increase in money flows to these parts of the world, including the impact that these local businesses have on their local economy.
Setting out to build a platform wasn’t initially the idea - but after spending a year researching the problem, they realized that there was no other solution that actually helped travelers connect with the best local operators while ensuring adequate, transparent due diligence on these operators for the travelers. Someone would have to build it. Finally, just being a magazine wasn’t going to be enough in the 21st century - beyond inspiring people to travel, we would actually enable them - which only a tech platform could do.
By mid-2015, they had taken the decision that the future of TOJ lay in a completely new kind of business - a hybrid media + travel tech-enabled platform that would inspire, educate and enable each of our fundamental rights to enjoy and protect wilderness.
This startup meant pivoting away from the original, comparatively narrow intent of TOJ, towards a wholly new, global tech business. With that in mind, the India-based business was shifted to an international HQ, created in Luxembourg, and an operating base created in Boulder. The Outdoor Journal & Voyage was born.
While TOJ remains an authentic media for the outdoors, The Outdoor Voyage or OutdoorVoyage.com is the first iteration of that understanding and vision behind building a platform that helps travelers access accurate information and enables them to take more authentic journeys. (something about the environment as well? “That impact the environment as little as possible”)
This vision was awarded the second highest grant award for early stage sustainable startups by Booking.com in Dec 2017. Today, we work with nearly 100 local or sustainable small businesses - operators or partners - in over 50 destinations around the world.
The Outdoor Journal & Voyage is a media and travel booking platform, building a scalable and profitable business while promoting diverse and alternative voices, sustainable development and wilderness conservation. Our media platform builds a conscious community, who can then book the adventures they read about. Our business acts as a two-sided platform between outdoor enthusiasts and local operators, worldwide. For customers, we offer curated, high-quality, high-safety adventures across the globe; led by an editorial/media-driven customer acquisition strategy. On the supplier side, we offer global reach to their target customers, with zero sales and marketing cost. We offer friction-less matching and ease of bookings for both traveler and operator.