Featured Interview – Andrew Bryan

Andrew Bryan has worked with adolescents and emerging young adults for thirty years as a tutor, teacher, mentor, educational consultant and adventure guide. Andrew is increasingly sought out to provide advice and guidance for adults in transition desiring to live a more fulfilling life indicative of their core gifts. Andrew’s gift is to help others set the stage for living a life of purpose. His Core Gift allows him to help individuals realize they have unique gifts, which they must develop and share in order to realize their dreams.

Q: What is your favorite travel memory?

"While I have consistently travelled throughout my life, visiting all fifty states in the U.S. and more recently guiding treks and pilgrimages on any number of international walks, my fondest memories are always those of returning home to our family ranch in Western Kansas. To return to the land from whence I and my family come, to bring all the sites and sounds of the larger world back to a place most people simply pass by, reinforces what it means to call a place home."

Q: How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

"Trek Epic has combined my natural mentoring style as an educational consultant with the ability to engage with people while in adventure mode! The Trek Epic walking trek model has proven again and again to offer a seminal experience for young adults ready to take their next steps in life.
This engaging and interactive experience has given me the opportunity to not just "work" with students, but to develop and be a part of a community of people who have a powerful experience in common that continues to inform both the lives of trekkers and myself as a guide. To be a part of such a dynamic is an incredible capstone to a long a varied career of helping others find their way in the world."

Q: What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

"So many stories... But the Trek Epic Gap Year program has roots in the experience of a graduating senior who continually was not getting his college applications submitted, kept shifting the plan for his future, and toward the end of his senior year was not committed to a next step, though he had dedicated himself to writing poetry. He agreed to trek with our group in the U.K. and engaged in the core gift discovery process that proves pivotal for our participants as the facilitation unfolds while we are on trek.

"When he returned home he immediately bought a ticket back to London and arranged to do a WWOOF'er gig on a farm. When he had landed and was going through customs, he mentioned he would be "working" on a farm while in the U.K. The next thing he knew he was in detention and within a day put back on a plane home to the states. Lesson learned! A great plan gone awry. Instead of stalling out and falling into despair, he regrouped and worked through the winter at home, learning the trade of a stone mason and saving for his next trip abroad.

"In the spring, he joined a group of our trekkers from various trips on an advanced trek. The group had similar initial experiences, but were now taking even bigger steps together into their futures! Post trek, he spent several weeks traveling with friends from home who met him in Italy as we completed his walk with Trek Epic. The results were to start college in the fall, all the better for having taken what was nearly by accident a true gap year, a series of personal experiences bookended by facilitated treks that helped him move forward and grow!"

Q: If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?

"Our trek on the Pembrokeshire Coast of Wales in the U.K. is a definite go to pilgrimage walk that is a great balance of nothing short of spectacular views and beaches, coupled with the culture of village life along the trail. The people are at once dedicated to living a quality life within their communities and connected to the land and a heritage that makes for a magical people and place!

"What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?
From our first walk on Offa's Dyke Path in Wales, we just knew in our bones that we had come across a experience that offered participants the opportunity to reflect within themselves about their futures and engage with others working toward the same questions: who am I, and what am I to be doing in the world! This experience, many years later, has impacted the lives of many, but what remains most enduring and remarkable is the community that has formed around Trek Epic."

Q: What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

"Recognizing the positive effects in what the company is doing to impact the world, even in the smallest ways, and continuing to explore ways to give more depth to what is working. Trek Epic has followed a model more about developing vertically what we know is making a difference in peoples lives, as opposed to endlessly expanding horizontally to simple provide more and more. There is a balance between the two, and we have consistently erred on the side of creating a program that takes individuals further along their path such that they have a strong identity and epic connection to the experiences they have had on trek!"