02. April 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Destinations · Tags: , , ,

Austin-Lehman Adventures receives kudos from Travel and Leisure, National Geographic Adventurer, and Outside Magazine for their adventure trips. Founder Dan Austin shares insights into how you design the “feng shui” of  a trip with “Wow” moments and water-cooler bragging rights.

Kayaking amidst volcanoes and gardens, part of Nicaragua’s allure for active travelers. Photo by Lisa TE Sonne

The “ALA” team can customize an adventure trip for you in dozens of countries. Here he shares how they designed their inaugural trip offerings to Nicaragua.

How do you decide whether to add a new country as a destination? What factors do you look for?

Austin: “That is a great question!  First there has to be some level of interest.  Whether from our guests sharing their travels to an area or one of our staff experiencing it in the off-season.  Just takes someone raising their hand and saying, “hey check out”.  That just starts the ball rolling.  In this age of the internet, hundreds of hours can be spent looking at everything from key properties or hotels, to likely trails or activities.

“At some point a site visit by yours truly is typically in the cards… I know it’s a tough job.  After endless hours poring over maps, guide books and websites, we just start looking for a “route” that has plenty of opportunities to experience the region, its culture, history and activities. All without spending endless hours driving and driving to get from point A to point B.  Finding key hotels that fit the route and the region is also key.  They don’t have to be 5 star… but they do have to be nice and appropriate for the area.  And of course it has to be safe! “

Calf looks on as Dan Austin rolls up his shirt sleeves and milks a cow, part of an option one morning to help make your own farm breakfast. Gathering eggs is next.

How do you decide whether to add an activity to a given destination whether it’s cigar making or ash-boarding like on the first Nicaragua trip?

Austin: “That is a tough one, obviously you can not do everything— at least not in one visit.  We look at getting the biggest bang for the buck.  Does it fit well with the region and what people expect?  Is it a quality experience? Does it provide bragging rights back at the office around the water cooler? (Like, what did you do this weekend?  Me, I ash boarded off the top of an active volcano!)

“Does it have the makings of a “WOW” moment…  something truly memorable. Really look hard at the “feng shui” of a trip.  Does it flow well, good mix of activities, calorie burning and calorie consuming. Something for the mind, body and soul.”

Austin carried his board to the top of the volcano with others whoalso signed up for “ash-boarding” down. Photo by Lisa TE Sonne

 What do you do before you offer an activity or destination to the public?

Austin:  “We really need to see it before we can get behind it.  Maybe not every little detail, but the basics.  A quality local guide is key! A lot of time and energy goes into securing the local guide and then training on the ALA way.  With the right guide you can accommodate any and all guest requests and or surprises that might pop up.

“In the perfect world, I like to personally experience the exact trip (and have time to tweak and adjust) before our guests see it. With some 80 programs constantly evolving around the globe, that isn’t always possible.  When I can’t, I have to make sure we have the right guide and a key staff support person on the job… especially for the first few departures.  We need to represent ALA at all times.”

 How do you choose accommodations?

Austin: “The best way to put it is simply—“The most appropriate for the region,”  meaning it might be the historic Old Faithful Lodge in Yellowstone or an  over-the-top tent camp somewhere in Damaraland Namibia.

“On our recent trip to Nicaragua that was a good example– a balance.–historic Spanish style properties just off the town square in Granada to an award-winning Eco -Lodge complete with private beach in San Juan del Sur.  Hotels and lodges are a big part of the experience and we look for the best possible properties that “fit”.  Also key is that they share ALA’s passion for customer service and treat our guests like you would a guest in your home.

Cathedrals, museums, plazas, spas, history tours were options along with zip lining, horseback riding, kayaking and ash boarding.

Why did you choose to add Nicaragua to your global portfolio of adventures?

Austin: “It’s funny, we started working on Nicaragua long before the main stream media picked it up as an up and coming destination.  A lot has changed in Nicaragua since the 80’s and 90’s, the country has always been fabulous for its scenery, culture and such, just wrapped up in civil unrest.  So as Nicaragua started to emerge as a safe destination and open to tourism, it was just natural to keep an eye on it and look to understand it better.

“Being just north of Costa Rica was also part of the interest. If Costa Rica is so great, we better look at its neighbors.  As we dug in, we saw the value available as well. Nicaragua is still very affordable and a great value for what you get. I think I had a half dozen 25 dollar massages !”

Local Guide Julio points out the landmarks from a cathedral rooftop.

Why do you use local guides and how do you assure that the local guides will provide a memorable, safe experience when you aren’t there?

Austin: “This is a personal decision.  I know it’s not what all companies do.  I just know if I travel to an international destination, I want to get to know it from a “locals” point of view. I want to hear about growing up in the country, the issues they face today, where they are going, etc.  Locals also add an element of safety you can’t duplicate, they know where they should and should not go.

“We look for experienced, professionals with a passion for sharing the best of the best their country or region has to offer.  We then “train” on the ALA way.  We work on everything from the “extra wows” to problem solving and first aid.  We look at is as a partnership and we chose our partners carefully. “

 I really enjoyed your company’s inaugural trip to Nicaragua.  You mentioned that you wanted to tweak it for future groups.  How? 

Austin: “I think we will just look at the highlights and how they were received.  We will look at what we missed and why? Maybe try and cut some of the drive times down.  I am actually considering just two moves—Granada and San Juan del Sur–leaving more time to explore a bit deeper at each. Visitors can easily do “add ons” if we say drop Leon.  Also looking at adding the hotels for the first and last night in Managua near the airport.  This will just help take a bit of the stress out of arriving and departing with a wide range of flight schedules.

“It often takes years of “tweaking” to make a good trip great or a great trip incredible!  Always looking to improve, new properties are always coming on line, new restaurants or even new trails or activities.”

How will you make the Nicaragua trip more “luxurious” for those who want to pay more for extra amenities? For example, can they opt to fly into the airstrip near Morgan’s Rock, the upscale (for eco-lodges in Nicaragua) sanctuary?

Austin: “Interestingly enough while Morgan’s Rock is amazing and I don’t see switching, there is a new “over the top” 5 star property coming on line in the same area..  (good article in WSJ   Really it’s just a matter of keeping our eyes open and continually researching options.  Dang, I may even have to go back soon and do site visits on the lookout for new properties.”

Dan Austin (far right) joins fellow travelers in a smoke after helping make the cigars.

 What do you say to people who are worried about the political past of Nicaragua and how safe is it now?

Austin: “I think everyone on our recent group would agree, we never felt safer!  I spent a week traveling before the group and went well out of my way to get off the beaten path and again, never felt safer in any region of the globe.  The country sees tourism as a key to a prosperous future.  Typically tourism jobs pay more than other industries and embracing it can only create more and more opportunities.

“I have found that once a country understands the value of tourism, they have a tendency to start policing themselves.  The last thing they want is for some random act of violence set them back and it will. “

 What would you like people to know about you and your company?

Austin: “I think just that we are not the biggest and never plan to be.  We are family owned and operated.  We have put a lot of time, effort and energy into creating and living by both a mission statement as well as a vision statement that sums it up best.. I will share those with you here.”

Mission Statement:

o   Design and operate incredibly fun and deeply memorable outdoor adventure vacations in the Americas, Europe and Africa for adventurous, caring and curious individuals, families and groups led by the company’s extraordinary guides;

o   Exceed guest expectations via highly personalized ‘above and beyond’ service, smaller group sizes, great food, best-in-class accommodations and signature ‘wow moments’;

  • Allow its guests to experience destinations, wildlife, and communities in a deeper and richer manner than they would on their own; and
  • Inspire guests to become clients for life.

Vision Statement:

  • To be the most respected, trusted and best loved tour operator by our guests, employees, partners, and the communities we serve. To be recognized and respected for our collection of pre-set itineraries and custom trip planning services…and the extraordinary ‘above and beyond’ personalized service we provide to all our guests. To deepen and expand our passionate and active commitment to philanthropic initiatives that enhances our guests’ experience, improves the lives of people in the places we visit and propagates the importance of traveling with an open heart and small footprint.

More Luxury Travel Maven Q & A with the Austin Lehman founder who walks, ash-baords and kayaks his talk in in Nicaragua.

What adventure would you like to design?

- Lisa TE Sonne,  Luxury Travel Mavens

Photographs by (c) Lisa TE Sonne from ALA Nicaragua trip, except for feature  home page photo of Yellowstone, provided by Austin-Lehman Adventures.


Here Comes the Sun-Protection

I’m packing for the US tropical islands for Spring Break. Not the Hawaiian Islands this time, but the Caribbean. The US Virgin Islands don’t require a passport and the average water temperature is about 80 degrees .  The Saints are waiting (as in the islands of St Thomas, St Croix and St. John)  Sun and sea here I come!


Ready for a day of sunshine. SPF clothes for protection by Solumbra.

The #1 item for packing? Sun protection, and I don’t mean sunblock. Yes, I will pack my favorite, but I can also buy it there and not worry about 3 ounce maximums for carry-on. I mean my clothes. I specifically mean clothes designed for sun protection made by a company called Sun Precaution– a line by Solumbra and referred to as SPF Clothing.  I do not want my vacation to be a race to cancer or aging skin! I do want “safe” clothes for outdoor adventure, and sun  lounging.

Most people now know that the sun’s rays can penetrate t-shirts and go through windows and do damage, and that we rarely apply sun block thoroughly and often enough to fully work.  Do you know how many ounces you could go through in a vacation outdoors if you fully followed the instructions?

Shaun Hughes needed sun protection so he invented a wearable “medical solution.”

 “Medical Solution” Fashion

When Shaun Hughes got melanoma skin cancer in his 20s, he got inventive too. He created and patented what he calls a “medical solution” — a tightly woven cloth that is tested to be SPF (sun protection factor) of 100. And then he developed a line of clothing other people would wear too. He has made improvements over the last 20 years based on research and fashion.

There are Sun Protection stores now on the West Coast (Santa Monica and San Diego in California, and Seattle, Washington), but I liked perusing the goods online, organized by item or by activity.

For my last trip to Nicaragua, I took three long-sleeved shirts, two pairs of long pants and two hats to give them a real test (me). They were very lightweight and took up little room, so I could still fly carry-on for an 8 day adventure trip, if I wore my hiking boots and jacket on the plane ( I did.)

The complimentary colors allowed mixing and matching for many outfits. I added jewelry and scarves for accessorizing. The extras also dressed up the outfit and detracted from any sense of Safari motif.

Horseback Riding in Solumbra duds, Nicaragua above Morgan’s Beach

I also supplemented my traveling wardrobe with a skirt, a little black dress,  and two Scottevest items that were also on trial  (a long jacket with hidden pockets and their cargo pants with pockets.  These clothes are not designed for sun protection, but with multiple pockets to free up hands and eliminate the need for a shoulder bag. ) Verdict: Keepers for travel and home. The long -hanging lightweight jacket dressed up my other shirts, travelled wrinkle free and gave me the extra warmth needed in the evenings. It’s flowing lines attracted compliments too.

Solumbra Lessons on the Road

Here’s some of what I learned about my “SPF Clothing” during the active experiment in Nicaragua;

*I was the only one in a group of intrepid wonderful travelers on the Austin-Lehman trip that did not have some part of me get sunburned at some point during full days of city and nature activity.

*The ventilated shirts were well-engineered and breezy, so I didn’t get hot and sweaty the way I would of in jeans and a t-shirt.

*The hats were flexible enough for me to bend back the rim when I needed to for photography. The chin strap saved the windy day when others were chasing after their hats.

Zip-lining in Nicaragua with Solumbra shirt, Scottevest pants, local red hibiscus and helmet on an Austin-Lehman Adventure

*I didn’t suffer from any bug bites either (I had sprayed everything with Sawyer’s Clothing insect repellent before the trip- “good for six weeks protection against ticks chigger, mites and mosquitos”)

*The clothes are versatile and hardy. They (sans hat) worked:

  • upside down while I was ziplining,
  • under the thick overalls worn for ash-boarding down a volcano,
  • after getting splashed in kayaking (they dried quickly),
  • during horseback riding in the jungle under monkeys and on the gorgeous beach of Morgan’s Rock.

They were loose enough for working the press, one of many steps in making Don Elba cigars

* They served well too as good city-tour clothes and kept me comfortable (culturally and physically) when we visited the cathedrals, restaurants and museums of Leon and Granada.

*They are easily hand-washable and so thin they dry relatively quickly. I tested this out after sitting in a wet field to get a better angle for a photo of a volcano, and after getting chocolate spread on the pants accidentally when I went for a chocolate massage (another story for another time.)

*The clothing is so soft that I felt sometimes like I was wearing pajamas. I now like wearing them at home and around town for errands.

 And in conclusion…

So, in conclusion, it’s all going with me to the Caribbean too. I just wish I had thought to get the “skirted sea leggings” and “swim top” and maybe surf jacket for all the time I plan to spend in the water!  Snorkeling, paddle boarding, swimming, maybe the new jetpacks.  How wonderful not to worry about going back to shore and re-lathering legs and arms and back, and trying to do it without acting like a glue-magnet for sand.

Now, where’s my swimsuit? And what books should I bring ?

Lisa TE  Sonne,  Luxury Travel Mavens

Photo of Shaun Hughes from Sun Precautions Website as well as first story image

Feature image of St Croix provided by US Virgin Islands Tourism

others taken on  Austin -Lehman Adventures Nicaragua trip

A Nicaraguan two-toed sloth wakes up from a treetop nap, part of an Austin-Lehman Adventure that woke travelers up!  

“Welcome to Nicaragua, the land of lakes and volcanoes,” said Jesus, the guide picking me up at the Managua Airport January 25th. By day two of my one week trip, I had already decided it was the land of lakes, volcanoes and photographs.

Whether it was the steam surging from the volcanic ground as the earth continued to form, or an elegant bride and groom at the entrance of a 17th century cathedral trying to convince the little ring boy to get off the floor and stop his crying jag so they could proceed down the aisle; or a bicycle cruising by with a father peddling a woman nursing her child, or fireworks going off near a full moon, or monkeys swinging 30 feet through the air from one branch to another not far from a sleeping sloth— everywhere the landscapes and people-scapes seemed to invite photographs.

adventure in Nicaragua Sonne

Leon, Nicaragua in January          photographs by (c) Lisa TE Sonne

The words that Nicaragua formerly conjured (contras, revolutions, drugs) were replaced for me by cloud forests, revelations, and delights. I had said “yes” to Austin-Lehman Adventures’ inaugural trip in Nicaragua before the New York Times’ article touted the country as the #3 destination on the Bucket List of 46 places to go in 2013. So had half a dozen other curious spirits, all from New York. I am glad we experienced some of Nicaragua before it’s overrun with tourists.

Wonder-Full Week
A week in the course of decades of life is a small unit of time, yet it can be filled with so many experiences and people on a wonderful trip. Friendships clicked among fellow travelers (ages 36 to 57), with the ever-smiling knowledgeable guide Julio Flores and fun driver Juan Ramon, both from Oro Tours, the Nicaraguan ground team, with the warm local Nicaraguans and ex-pats met in the course of our days and nights, and with enthusiastic, intrepid Dan Austin, founder of Austin-Lehman Adventures who started researching the trip a year before and went along to see how he can make it even better  for future groups.

A howler monkey viewed from a horse while riding from jungle to beach at Morgan’s Rock, Nicaragua

My camera also clicked as I tried to capture some of the local life, beautiful smiles, and the participatory experiences offered on the trip from ash-boarding down a volcano, to getting covered in chocolate in a spa, and from milking a cow for a farmhouse breakfast to sipping Malbec in a private dining room with 1000 year-old artwork on the walls.

These initial images may give a visual sense of what visitors can enjoy in Central America’s largest country with the least dense population. For the sounds, smells, tastes and touches, Nicaragua awaits your own visit.

Adventure Photo Ops

In between leisurely meals, our adventures in Nicaragua for our Austin-Lehman week included:

Ash-boarding down a volcano, part of the Austin-Lehman Adventure in Nicaragua

*Ash-boarding down a volcano

Flying through the canopy in Nicaragua

*Zip-lining through jungle canopy

*Horseback riding under howler monkeys, up to promontories and on the beach

*Learning to roll a cigar at Dona Elba

*Kayaking in Lake Nicaragua to the private Zopango island for an organic lunch one day and in a Pacific mangrove estuary at sunset two days later.

*Savoring Morgan Rock’s private beach- releasing baby sea turtles in the morning and bogey boarding in the afternoon

*Enjoying a romantic carriage ride on cobblestone streets with empty neighborhoods (everyone was at the baseball stadium or watching the play offs on televisions)

*Walking the streets of Leon and Granada and witnessing daily life and milestone events- two weddings, a religious parade, and a gorgeous black carriage for a funeral with live musicians playing

*Milking a cow and gathering fresh eggs from the hens for a freshly made Nicaraguan farmhouse breakfast

*Buying original artwork from the artist at Granada’s international cultural center where violins are being made in the room next to painters filling canvases

*Being covered in real chocolate for a therapeutic massage and exfoliation spa treatment in the land where the source of chocolate (cacao beans) was the currency for hundreds of years.

Two locals in Nicaragua’s largest hammock, part of the Sonrisa Cafe where deaf and mute folks serve coffee, food and smiles as well as make beautiful hammocks. Granada, Nicaragau

*Lifting two little kids in and out of the largest hammock in Nicaragua at the innovative Sonrisa Cafe and Center where the deaf and mute make hammocks and serve coffee and food

*Hiking along dense fauna with occasional orchids, bromiliads, and heliconia to a narrow passage that the Chorotegas  believed was the source of the origin portal of the first people

After awhile, I felt very repetitive saying “Bueno” and “muy Bueno” and “excelente,” so often, so I asked our guide Julio, for a Spanish word that means great, wonderful, fantastic. He smiled and said ”pijudo.” The word was used many times since!

It was hard to leave Leon with its lion statues, and old history and my room at the pre-colonial La Perla with the 20 foot ceilings and breakfast in the fountain courtyard.

One of many horse drawn carriages in Granada, Nicaragua

It was hard to leave Granada staying at La Gran Frances with its interior open-roofed courtyard swimming pool, and location close to the Plaza which had its own rich life cycles from sunrise to sunrise.

And it was really hard to leave Morgan’s Rock Hacienda and Resort with the forest, jungles, beaches, people, and my spacious bungalow in the canopy that felt like a stylish screened tree house with the oceans’ waves below, and the suspension bridge walk to the main lodge where good food and infinity pool awaited. And then there are all the roads and hiking traills taken and those not taken-yet.

So I hope it is “Hasta La Vista” for me and my camera- that we will see again  “the land of lakes and volcanoes” and photographs, friendships and adventures.

-Lisa TE Sonne for Luxury Travel Mavens

Photographs by Lisa TE Sonne © all rights reserved. Thanks to Austin-Lehman Adventure for creating the trip and to Anna, Dan, Ed, Erik,  Juan, Julio, Ken, Mark, Peter, Ruth, and Troy for sharing and enriching the adventures and road trips..

Three generations make this Nicaraguan Pottery in Granada. It takes 22 days for each piece.

A cow glances at the foreign kayak in the land of the Masai in Africa.

This is the week I hope to be kayaking in a lake with the world’s only fresh water sharks, amidst volcanos, islets, and prolific birdlife as part of Austin-Lehman Adventures’  compelling flagship tour in Nicaragua. To prepare, I contacted fellow Explorer’s Club member Alan Feldstein who teaches kayaking in the Pacific waters of Los Angeles, and leads a company that offers customized water safaris via kayaks in Tanzania, Africa—Infinite Safari Adventures(More on Feldstein’s other colorful ventures below.). He shares some tips and trips with me and Luxury Travel Mavens readers:

What is “luxury kayaking”?

Feldstein: “Most kayak trips, which I have done and love to do, involve paddling to a remote site with your gear in the boat, setting up camp, and then paddling the next day.  Us aging boomers are less into camping so the better way is to paddle to a lodge or paddle to and from a comfortable wonderful lodge with nice beds, hot showers and great meals.”

What does it take to be a kayaker?  How does it relate to health?

Feldstein: “Kayaking is a great sport for active people who do not want high impact.  Anyone can kayak and our trips are offered with no experience necessary.  General good health is all that it takes.  You use your core and are not putting stress on knees, hips and other joints.”

What are your five best tips for “good” kayaking?

Feldstein: “Have good equipment, have guides who are certified and know what they are doing, eat and hydrate well before paddling, and remember ‘the journey is the destination’ so go out and enjoy, and do not worry about how far or fast you paddle.  It is that Zen rhythm you get into when paddling that I enjoy so much.”

How do you recommend someone prepare for a kayaking trip? Any advance physical training? Anything special to pack?

Feldstein: “If you have never kayaked before, it would be if possible to take a lesson or introductory course.  Otherwise that is one of the great things of kayaking – anyone can do it. There are techniques to learn but anyone can paddle with out them.  We provide everything so the only thing you will need is a pair of waterproof shorts, shirts and shoes, a hat, some sunglasses and sunscreen, and a desire to have fun!”

How is kayaking different than canoeing or rowing? Why do you prefer it?

Feldstein: “I tease my friends who are rowers that they look at where they have been.  We look to where we are going!  Canoeing is similar, but I feel more comfortable in a kayak, because I am more connected with my boat.”

What inspired you to start a safari company and include kayaking?

Feldstein: “My story of how I started my safari company, which has now expanded beyond kayaking, and offers traditional wildlife safaris as well as other adventures including climbing Kilimanjaro, scuba diving in Zanzibar and tracking chimps, is born from my love of Africa and kayaking.

In 2000, I made my first trip to Tanzania. It was during that trip that I fell in love with Africa and everything about it – the people and their culture, the animals, the natural beauty. The first time a giraffe bent her graceful neck to peer into the vehicle window – well, she had me at jambo (Swahili for hello).

The trip left quite an impression on me. I dreamed about returning. In 2005, I made another trip to Tanzania to try new adventures — climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro and tracking wild chimpanzees in the Mahale Mountains. While “chimping” at Mahale, I met Steve and Teena, who managed the beachfront lodge where I and my wife were staying. Steve and I discovered we shared a passion for kayaking, and much to my surprise, Steve produced an aging boat and makeshift paddles so I could go for a paddle on Lake Tanganyika.

A few years later, I brought my children to Tanzania, and they too fell in love with Africa. Steve organized our safari. I wanted to include kayaking on the trip, but there were no kayaks available in Tanzania, so Steve custom built two beautiful fiberglass boats. He and I became the first to paddle the warm waters of the Indian Ocean off the coast of Tanzania.

During that trip, I thought about what makes a safari a great one from a good one.  I also thought about how to incorporate kayaking, and much more. I believed that many other adventurers from around the world would enjoy the same exceptional experience. From that dream, Infinite Safari Adventures was born.”

When are your upcoming trips?

Feldstein: “We only do custom trips, so they can be done anytime people are ready to do them!”

Any good kayaking related stories from past trip?

Feldstein: “My last trip was a family of 11 – grandparents, adult kids, 2 grandkids, and an 80-year-old friend from Japan.  I loved the fact that we took the grandfather, his son and granddaughter on a paddle one day.  She was so proud of kayaking with the adults (she did great), and it was a great bonding experience for the whole family.”

What’s your personal favorite “luxury” trip that you have been on?

Feldstein: “Of course my favorite are my trips, but my next one was paddling in Halong Bay in North Vietnam.”

What is on your bucket list for future “bucket list” Luxury travels (with or without a kayak)?

Feldstein: I spend so much time traveling to Africa.  If I had time, I would like to go to South America – anywhere.

Pampered Paddling

Thanks Alan!  I would also love to try kayaking just about anywhere beautiful on every continent. In North America, I’ve savored kayaking while on American Safari Cruises (now Un-Cruise Adventures). They lower kayaks off their yachts for memorable paddling and pampering experiences in the Inside Passage of Alaska, Hawaii, and Sea of Cortez, Mexico.

Now I head to the largest country in Central America to dip into Lake Nicaragua!  I will remember to stay hydrated, and hope to see and photograph monkeys on the islands, the world’s only freshwater sharks, and the volcanic landscapes, but will remember that phrase “the journey is the destination.”

For more on kayaking (and ashboarding?) in Nicaragua, you can “follow me” at @ExploreTraveler  and other adventurers @AustinLehman.  To plan your own paddling journey in Africa, you can contact Feldstein via his website.

 —Lisa TE Sonne for Luxury Travel Mavens

-Photographs by Alan Feldstein, except for the one of him.

Alan Feldstein, Founder, Infinite Safari Adventures


Feldstein’s bio, provided by him: In addition to paddling and teaching kayaking, Alan Feldstein has paddled all over the world, including California, Baja, British Columbia, Cape Cod, Hawaii, Turkey, The Hudson River, Vietnam, West Africa, Lake Tanganyika, and was one of the first people to kayak and explore the coast of Tanzania. Alan is also an avid nature photographer whose work has appeared in Wavelength Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, and the paddling.net calendar.  In addition, Alan has traveled extensively throughout the world.  He is a member of the Adventurer’s Club of Los Angeles and Southern California Chapter Chair of the Explorer’s Club.  He also sits on the board of Trustees of the Cheetah Conservation Fund. Most importantly he is the Owner and Founder of Infinite Safari Adventures.