Traveling deeper with Bruce Poon Tip of G Adventures

G Adventures' Bruce Poon Tip in Agra, India at the Taj Mahal. Photo courtesy of G Adventures

In this episode, World Footprints hosts Tonya and Ian travel deeper with Bruce Poon Tip, founder of G Adventures, as he discusses his journey into the world of travel, with particular focus on his “5th Gear” as an immigrant and lessons learned from his experiences.

Founded 30 years ago, Bruce started G Adventures with nothing more than two credit cards and a burning desire to create authentic, sustainable travel experiences. What he created was a community of social impact travelers.

A leader is like a shepherd, he stays behind the flock letting the most nimble go ahead, whereupon the others follow not realizing that all along they’re being directed from behind”

-Nelson Mandela

When asked how he was able to grow G Adventures from such a humble beginning to now a global force for good in the travel space, Bruce attributed his success to something he calls his fifth gear.

Bruce says the fifth gear is something immigrants acquire. To better understand this fifth gear and how it relates to his success and philanthropic mission we asked Bruce to take us back to the time when his family immigrated from Trinidad to Alberta, Canada.

  • Bruce Poon Tip at Machu Picchu, Peru for G for Good Trip. Photo courtesy of G Adventures
  • Peru Sacred Valley Ccaccaccollo G for Good Trip at a womean weaving co-op. Weaver embracing Bruce Poon Tip.  Photo courtesy of G Adventures
  • Bruce Poon Tip - Amazon Cleaning. Photo courtesy of G Adventures.

SHOW NOTES

Episode Timeline:

  • [01:07] Meet today’s guest, Bruce Poon Tip, Founder of G Adventures, the world’s largest small-group adventure travel company. His goal is to create authentic sustainable travel experiences, and he believes in the power of travel to be a positive force for change. Bruce is a pioneer of community tourism; travel experiences built to support local communities. He attributes his success to his “5th Gear”
  • [02:18] About Bruce’s backstory: The immigration to Canada from Trinidad came with major challenges ranging from the difficulty of moving over 7 kids, to racism among other typical issues with settling down in a new country. Growing up in a large family can be advantageous because having a large built-in support system and community creates security.
  • [05:31] The 5th gear is something that most immigrants have because of the understanding that their parents sacrificed a lot to give them the opportunity they have. It comes out as a ‘never give up’ or a ‘don’t take no for an answer’ attitude backed by confidence; these are the factors that also made him an entrepreneur.
  • [09:15] Bruce had an initial inclination to work in law enforcement, notably, this may have been because of an internal sense that there was no equal justice for immigrants.
  • [13:13] The vision for G Adventures: Starting as a traveler with just a backpack, Bruce realized that a lot of people didn’t get the immersive cultural experience he got but would probably prefer it. He decided to create a bridge between people who could explore by themselves, and travelers who had full guidance but minimal self-exploration; finding a midpoint that allowed a little of both for a complete grassroots experience.
  • [18:45] How do you see the travel space now compared to before? Before the pandemic, Bruce was not optimistic about travel, unlike now when people are more open to traveling and having an impact with it. The pandemic made people realize how they wasted opportunities to travel in the past and all the benefits they missed. The opportunity right now is to travel in a very secure way with purpose and meaning.
  • [21:36] A lot of the negative events over the years are symptoms of ignorance and a lack of understanding of where you come from and other people. Travel helps with this because the only way you truly understand where you come from is to understand who you’re sharing this world with. The great gift of travel is when you come back home with a better understanding of your place in the universe and where you come from, rather than staying in one place making it the only thing you know. 
  • [25:15] What lessons have you learned about yourself from travel? A huge point of learning for Bruce was Inspired Leadership; travel has offered him the ability to inspire people and to evolve as a leader. Learning tolerance has also come from the experience.
  • [28:44] What has been your most transformative travel experience? In recent years, Bruce has been taking his kids to places he has been before as they get ready for college. He always describes his best trip as ‘the last one’ because he does not compare trips but tries to simply appreciate things in front of him.
  • [31:25] Bruce’s soul country: These are Ecuador and Spain; there has always been something familiar about Spain that could not be explained which resonated with Bruce spiritually. The same was the feeling in Ecuador.
  • [33:00] Who would you want to sit next to on a long flight to your soul country? Nelson Mandela, because of his grit, tenacity, compassion, and servant leadership.

Quotes

“Never bet against an immigrant cos we have a 5th gear that most people don’t have”

“When you feel that you don’t have an equal foot in with authority, you naturally want to participate in authority”

“When you lack understanding or lack knowledge of something, it brings our fear”

“You think of everything you get as when you go traveling, but everything you get is when you come back”

“It’s not about loving everybody, but it’s understanding everybody”

“You have to get to a place where you travel and not compare”

“A leader is like a shepherd, he stays behind the flock letting the most nimble go ahead, whereupon the others follow not realizing that all along they’re being directed from behind” – Nelson Mandela

FULL TRANSCRIPTS BELOW

Guests: 


Read a transcript

Bruce Poon Tip 0:06
When you decide you want to go on vacation, you are making a transformational decision. And it’s such a privilege and such an honor. There is so much power in that decision. And there’s so few people on the planet that gets to make that decision. Because you have the time, you have the money, you have, so many things are in your favor, to be able to make that decision. So, you don’t have a right to anything, you have this privilege, and you should not go expecting anything to deliver some subservient service, because you have money, and you decide to travel. If you really want to get all the benefits of travel, you have to understand what a privilege it is to have that opportunity and the power you have making that decision. When people understand that that is when we will travel, will truly change the world, and move everything forward whether it’s poverty alleviation, planet protection, you know, sustainability, responsible travel, you know, wealth distribution. It can be so many things. It’s a $10 trillion industry.

Tonya Fitzpatrick 1:07
That’s Bruce Poon Tip, founder of G adventures, the world’s largest small group adventure travel company that was conceived 30 years ago, during a solo backpack trip. Bruce started G adventures with nothing more than two credit cards, and a burning desire to create authentic, sustainable travel experiences. What he created was a community of social impact travelers. Welcome. I’m Tonya Fitzpatrick.

Ian Fitzpatrick 1:36
And I’m Ian Fitzpatrick, and this is World footprints. Like us, Bruce Kuhn tip believes in the power of travel to be a positive force for change. As a social entrepreneur, Bruce is a pioneer of community tourism, travel experiences that are built to support local communities. When asked how he was able to grow G adventures from such a humble beginning to now a global force for good in the travel space, Bruce attributes his success to something he calls his fifth gear.

Ian Fitzpatrick 2:09
Bruce says the fifth gear is something immigrants acquire. To better understand this fifth gear and how it relates to his success and philanthropic mission. We asked Bruce to take us back to the time when his family immigrated from Trinidad to Alberta, Canada.

Bruce Poon Tip 2:26
Oh, well, that’s going way back. But, well, I’m very young. So, I was three. But I think the challenges for us as an immigrant family is we have a large family. So, the seven kids in my family. So, my parents moved with 7 children. So, that in itself was the bigger challenge and moving to Alberta, and this is the late 60s, right. So, it was a very different time then. And it was very difficult. It was extremely challenging outside of the pressures of being a person of color in, you know, oil country, you know, cow town, Calgary, in the late 60s. And there were the challenges every immigrant faces of starting a new society, starting a new culture, you know, moving from the equator to a frigid, cold winter, which my parents never anticipated or did any research on, by the way. And so, there was a survival instinct within our family of just making it in a new country, and, you know, and all those things that come with being starting just starting out a new life, but also challenging financially, I mean, we didn’t have a lot and you know, struggling to raise seven kids. And then there was that outside pressure, for sure, you know, just racism was a common denominator and a common factor that the conversation that we had because we’d never experienced it, where we come from. And so, because we have seven kids, there’s quite a wide age range in the kids. I don’t remember a lot of it because I was much younger. But the impact and the scars on our families exist today, and we still discuss those days.

Tonya Fitzpatrick 4:15
Growing up in a large family can be advantageous because having a large built in support system and community creates security. My mom and seven uncles were raised in a town where the Ku Klux Klan was active. They were the only people of color for miles around, but I think they escaped violent attacks, because they were a large tight knit and fearless family.

Bruce Poon Tip 4:41
But yeah, the challenges were, you know, we all tell stories of you know, my sister’s being chased home my brother fighting you know, to protect bury siblings, and it was a constant companion for us growing up just being othered no matter where we went. So, yeah, so it was a challenge. But it was, you know, the challenge was, it was intensifying, with the challenges and the struggles of just, you know, survival in a new country and adapting to a new environment. You know, our parents working multiple jobs, the older children being kind of parents to the younger kids, all of that stuff, you know, we have to deal with, which is a common immigrant story, right.

Tonya Fitzpatrick 5:26
Sure.

Bruce Poon Tip 5:27
Yeah. I think we all, you know, and so, I don’t think we were unique, but at the time, we thought really on once.

Ian Fitzpatrick 5:33
As you reflect back to those days, and you look at your life now and you look at your business career, your entrepreneurial career and your speaking career, how has that previous life informed what you’re doing today?

Bruce Poon Tip 5:49
Well, I have this famous saying, that I use all the time when people underestimate me, or, you know, never bet against an immigrant. I will say that because we have a fifth gear that most people don’t have. And I see that even with people I employ, that come as immigrants, because you have this additional chip on your shoulder because your parents sacrifice so much, to give you the gift of opportunity, right. So, that’s something that’s just, you know, that’s in you. I see it, not just only myself, but I see it in people that that are employee that come from, you know, immigrant families, you know, that really are grateful for the opportunities that they have, grateful for life, and grateful to their, you know, their parents or their family, for making very, very tough decisions to leave the only place they’ve ever known as home and comfortable for this auspicious gift of opportunity.

Ian Fitzpatrick 6:43
Bruce says that this fifth gear manifests itself in different ways, like a never give up or a don’t take no for an answer attitude. He says those attitudes are complemented by a high level of confidence that has pushed him to be a transformational entrepreneur.

Bruce Poon Tip 7:00
So, it comes out in so many different ways on how those days in my life growing up, gave me the tenacity, the will, you know, the ability to, you know, fail and get better, and analyze your weaknesses. And, you know, and you know, there are street smarts and it’s, like, I consider myself Street Fighter more than I consider myself an entrepreneur. Like, I just I just think I think I’m capable of so much. And you have that when you’re when you’re, you know, when your support system has limited you. You know, systemically, yeah, it’s hard for people to understand that don’t come from that, being a person of color as much as you have allies and people that, you know, support and understand they never truly understand, you know, this internal drive, or the ability to overcome obstacles, because, you know, obstacles to me, are just in the way of wearing to go, they don’t ever, you know, distract from my purpose and focus, right. I just think that those kinds of things come out in, you know, in where you come from, I think and so I can’t really answer your question in a definitive sense, but it’s a constant companion with me every day. And I see it, that I don’t see it and other people.

Tonya Fitzpatrick 8:19
You reminded me of a line that I love in Hamilton, the musical Hamilton exchange between Lafayette and Hamilton and they say immigrants, we get the job done.

Bruce Poon Tip 8:32
That should be the tagline for America. Yeah, that is that is absolutely. That should be if America had a tagline if the United States, immigrants would get the job done, and then maybe people would grow to appreciate what a beautiful and wonderful thing democracy is created.

Tonya Fitzpatrick 8:48
In an offline conversation, Bruce told me that his early career dream was to be a police officer. I wondered if he was drawn to law enforcement for the same reason that drew us to lawyering. I also wondered if we share the same reasons for transitioning to a career in the travel industry.

Bruce Poon Tip 9:08
Oh, boy. Well, no. I mean, I actually don’t know the answer. I think when I was young, when you feel that you don’t have an equal footing with authority, you naturally want to participate in authority. So, you know, and so, there is a natural that, you might call it like the fight for injustice, or but there’s a natural calling in every human being to want to make things better. I believe that people start as divine beautiful, you know, souls, and then the world dictates based on your experiences, you know, how you react to the world, or how you know, and so, you know, if you if you live if you feel internally and it might not be even obvious, obviously If you live in a system that you feel that you don’t have equal justice, under authority, do you have a natural, I think you have a natural kind of ingrained spirit to want to, you know, if you can’t beat them join them, that kind of mentality. And so, that’s that because I mean, I’m, and so like, I’m you know, so I used to look at firemen and policemen and doctors and, and, you know, essential workers, as someone says heroic, and you know, in our society puts these people on, given this status. But when you’re one of those people that you feel that you’re not seeing, or that you’re invisible, there’s a certain there’s a certain part of you that just wants to change, make that change. So, something along the way, I’ve always my, like, my parents, you know, my families used to call me the great defender, because I used to argue with, prepared to argue about anything and everything, but mainly to defend my brothers who are very quiet, and I was never quiet. So, I was always defending someone else, but not defending myself, of course, but um, and so, you know, all of those things, I think, play into, you know, what you become, I mean, it’s hard to you, this is a very interesting conversation, because it’s, I’ve never I haven’t thought about it till this very minute. But I mean, you know, I’ve often, you know, thought of that, like, I when I went into my high school, in my high school, they we did these surveys, they were very extensive at the time, to give you advice on where you should go, like, what you should do. And after I filled out all my stuff, and I filled out all the personality surveys, and it was big meetings with your guidance counselor, but you know what you should be? My guidance counselor told me I should be a forest ranger. I remember that mean, clearly, I was like a forest ranger. I was like, why exactly. And so. And I look back on that, and there’s so much there is links of looking for what I do in terms of the planet and caretaking. And those elements that existed in me at such a young age, even though I thought, well, what are they telling me to go into this career of being a forest ranger, but you know, all these kinds of things, I think back and think they were so critical in my development, though. But ultimately, I was an entrepreneur from very young age. So, I knew I wanted to be in businesses only thing that I was successful at when I was young. If you read my book, you knew the first time I got a job as a 16. I was a Denny’s and I got fired after two weeks. And then I went to McDonald’s. I couldn’t tell I didn’t even tell my parents, I got fired because I was so embarrassed. And I got a job at McDonald’s across the street, then I got fired during the training program. And so, I was kind of at 16. I was like, like, I thought my life was over. Like, my resume is destroyed. My first two jobs, I’m fired. I’m just I’m just trouble. But the only thing I’ve ever been successful in starting businesses, which I started three businesses before I turned 16. So, entrepreneurship, and my path was on my destiny, more so than my path was always very clear to me.

Ian Fitzpatrick 13:14
Bruce also had a clear vision when he started G adventures 30 years ago. So, we asked how he discovered his vision, and whether that same vision is still alive today.

Bruce Poon Tip 13:27
Yeah, very much so, in just a much bigger sense, obviously, and more resources, I guess, at my disposal, but I mean, originally, it’s, I was backpacking, right. And you know, this is way back in 1989, 1990, where I went backpacking on a $10 a day budget, and my eureka moment, but people have to remember what travel was like before the internet before. I mean when we started G adventures that we didn’t even have a fax machine yet. So, I remember the first hotel reservations that I made for my first trip, I sent the reservations by mail, they sent back the Congress, the confirmation by mail, and then I sent them international check to pay the deposit all done by mail. So, but for travel to, you know, when I when I was traveling, I just remember that the moment was when I was in Thailand at the time and I saw coaches going back and forth and air-conditioned buses, staying in Best Western and Hilton Hotels. I thought you know, those people on the bus are not seeing what I’m seeing. They’re not living my life, living with a local family, staying in a home, eating, eating dinner with the family every night, you know, experiencing a grassroots cultural immersion type experience. And there’s got to be other people that want that. And there were two travelers there was the mainstream traveler who went on a compound resort coach tour or cruise. And then there was the old days where you got a guidebook and just tack packed. And that was the original kind of eco Tourists are adventure traveler who just did it themselves. And so, the name gap was bridging the gap between the mainstream traveler and the backpacker. So, I said, there is got to be someone who wants something organized, doesn’t have the amount of time to go backpacking for a month or two months. But once something, but once that, you know, that grassroots experience, wants to actually see what a culture, what a country is really about, which is generally the people and its culture, and that was the eureka moment is to form gap Adventures of time, which is bridging the gap between those two worlds. people, young people at the time, disposable income holiday time, but you don’t want a backpack, you don’t want to organize, I didn’t want a backpack, but I had no choice. I said, I want to do a traveling, I have no options. So, I got a guidebook and did it myself. And I don’t like organizing my own stuff. I don’t like having delays when a bus isn’t there. And, you know, but I wanted that experience. And then while I was on the road, seeing people in mainstream kind of, you know, these coaches, air condition coaches with the, you know, a North American guide in the front seat with a microphone, you know, tough looking people looking out the window, that arm’s length experience, and not living, but I was living at the time, like I was dealing with the real world in this country at a grassroots level. And I got to have to think that people also wanted that that was really the genesis of my eureka moment as an entrepreneur. I mean, we were people were different back then, if you wanted to research a destination, if you want to go to Africa, you want to go to Latin America, you want to research it, you have to go to a library, right, you couldn’t just Google it on your phone. And so, you’d have to go to look at pictures of Africa, you’d either have to see it on TV, a National Geographic kind of special, or any research you did, you had to have to go to a travel agent or go to a library to determine where you wanted to travel. So, people’s, you know, how they, how they consume, travel, how they decided where they wanted to go, was based on so many different things. But it was done based on their own research or their own feeling where they wanted to go, as opposed to where we come right now, which we’ve commoditized travel, and it’s about discounts and selling capacity and, you know, our room and a ship and amenities and those kinds of things that were they’re truly selling, as opposed to a destination, where again, I think it’s just before COVID I think we were in dangerous industry, or being disconnected from destinations. I think that’s dangerous for us in travel. Like people need to be more purposeful on why they want to go to this country or that country. Like there’s got to be a feeling in you that says I want to see this place. And I connect to this culture at this point in my life. And that’s where travel can be so transformational when you do it. You know with that mind.

Ian Fitzpatrick 17:34
Yeah, you’ve hit on so many other touchstones that speak to us purposeful, transformative.

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Tonya Fitzpatrick 18:08
We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes that has gone through to achieve that beauty. Maya Angelou the butterfly transforms the way we do when we give space to the experiences that travel gives us. That’s a (Inaudible). Here’s more of our conversation with Bruce Poon tip of G adventures.

Ian Fitzpatrick 18:36
That eureka moment for you in this travel space, as you look back then to where things are now even on a global level in the travel space, what do you see, how do you look at what you saw then and even the space you occupy now and how that’s evolved.

Bruce Poon Tip 18:55
Today as in, us talking right now, I’ve never been more optimistic. But I would say that just pre-pandemic, I wasn’t nearly as optimistic. I was actually on a bit of a tear globally to kind of, I was on my soapbox doing as many speaking engagements as possible around the world. (Inaudible) travel 350,000 miles on speaking tours, with this message. But today, I’ve never been more optimistic. And another thing I’ve been using eternally we never waste a good pandemic because the change. There is an opportunity for us to change as an industry. Because the consumers change. We’ve done tons of data and research with our customers, but what they want what they want to see on the other side of COVID and this pandemic, and it’s amazing how the people’s minds have changed. Because we keep very close to you know, the mentality of our customers prior unto where they are now. They’re just more open than ever. They want to travel but they want to do it the right way. Want to have a positive impact. They want to be purposeful that this didn’t exist to the level anyways, that it sucks. Now, think this this, this forced pause in travel and the shutdown of the planet has made people realize how important travel is to them how important and meaningful it was to them, and how they wasted those opportunities in the past. And now if they’ve got to travel, and there’s going to be inherent risk for the short term, because Cove is not going away. Even though people are starting to travel again, and borders reopening, we’re not in any better. We’re not in any better of a situation than we were in the developed world, coming out of COVID. But people are realizing now well, we’re goanna have to live with these travels important to me. And why is it important to me, I think also has to do with COVID. Because COVID kind of brought the world together in many ways, as much as it’s created divisiveness, it made the world seem so small to people that you know that in this market in Asia, something could have started and spread so quickly, and how we need all of us to come together as a planet to get out of it. Whether that’s, you know, vaccine programs, Pat, you know, this whole concept of proof of vaccination, we all have to kind of come together to contain it, but it’s not going away. So, travel is going to have inherent risk moving forward. And it’s important enough for people that they will take a bit of risk, you know now that you can get vaccinated. Now there’s the mass, not just the social distancing, we know all those things, but we will travel again, but we’re going to do it in a more purposeful and meaningful way. And we’re and, and so that’s the opportunity for us. And so, I am quite optimistic at the moment. So, it’s a good time.

Ian Fitzpatrick 21:38
Bruce admitted that the last 18 months had been a roller coaster ride, and that he jokingly thought about moving into commodity trading.

Tonya Fitzpatrick 21:46
He’d probably do quite well. But I also think he’d be miserable. Because he knows what he’s doing is so much bigger than himself.

Bruce Poon Tip 21:55
I think there’s a huge opportunity for travel, to finally, accept as an industry, that we can be such a transformational industry, for so many people in so many communities, not only just the traveler, like we’ve always just talked about the traveler having that transformational experience, because travel, you know, opens your mind or does whatever like it gives you that the appreciation of where you sit in the universe, or the planet. But now travel can be so transformational for everyone, that’s people on the ground, its communities, its employees, it’s, you know, and it can be such a tool for the for our planet to understand each other better. And, you know, which is, you know, it’s which is the fastest path to peace for us the planet. So, I have this really high view of travel, but the industry as a whole has to accept that, except that we can be that transformational industry. And I can just see all these other companies are putting on all these programs now. And you know, some of them are greenwashing and some of them are, but everyone’s doing something because they’re trying to answer the needs of the customer.

Tonya Fitzpatrick 22:57
That was a much-needed hopeful message. Because we’ve wondered as a media company, if anyone was hearing our messages about meaningful travel, the beauty of our shared humanity and the importance of earthly stewardship, based on what we’re seeing in the news. I wasn’t sure if anyone was listening.

Bruce Poon Tip 23:18
Yeah, I mean, a lot of that ignorance and a lot of that divisiveness is bred when people don’t understand something you know, when you when you when you lack understanding and acknowledge if something brings that fear of the other person or the other group or the other culture, the other religion. And it’s that ignorance is what breeds this divisiveness and anger. What better way to break down those walls and travel? I mean, and for people to get out there and travel. So yeah, there’s been moments where I mean, I’m equally disheartened on a, you know, seeing everything that goes on whether it was Brexit, or whether it’s George Floyd, these things are all symptoms, they’re not problems, right. They’re the symptoms that exist in society, because of ignorance, and lack of understanding of how other people live, and appreciation for where you sit in the universe. Like, that’s the big thing. I always say that you have to just understand where you come from, and travel can give you that great understanding. If you only ever live in your community where you’re comfortable. And you only ever have access, you read you start regurgitating what you know, and living a life of what you know. But to truly live a purposeful life. You have to understand that you know, we’re on this rock rotates around the Sun together, we’re sharing this planet together. And the only way you can understand where you truly come from is understand who you’re sharing this world with. And travel gives you the greatest gift that gives you it’s when you come home. Actually, it isn’t when you’re there that people pay for that experience. But the gift is when you come home and you have a better understanding of your place in the universe and appreciation for where you come from, to appreciate where you come from, or not make it, you know, the only thing you know, I mean, that’s really the great gift of travel. And I keep I tell that to people all the time, and people don’t quite get it. You know, you think of everything you get is when you go traveling, but everything you get is when you come back.

Tonya Fitzpatrick 25:18
That is so profound. I was curious about the gifts and lessons that travel has given Bruce.

Ian Fitzpatrick 25:25
What have you learned about yourself, in terms of some of the big lessons that continue to shape your view, and have helped you to grow all of this travel through this journey that you’ve been on in this space?

Bruce Poon Tip 25:43
Well, I feel okay, for travel. I mean, for me, what I’ve learned the most is about what I call inspired leadership. So, I obviously want to be a global company now. And we have, you know, 1000s of employees in over 100 countries. It’s, you know, your leadership is evolved and is challenged on a constant basis. And, and so I have, you know, (Inaudible), you know, I’ve met CEOs of different companies, whether it’s, you know, big companies that have all their employees in one building, and I say, you know, your job is a piece of piss compared to mine, you have everyone in your building, it’s easy to lead by example, just being a great leader, people see you working hard. So, they work hard, and you have access, but I have to inspire people, because I know 60% of the people that work for me, I might never meet in their entire careers with me. Yet I have to get them to work, wake up every day and deliver a very aggressive brand promise, and also achieve their potential in their lives, love the brand and deliver, you know, you know, outstanding service, in dedication to our brand and our and our true purpose as a company. And so, travel has taught me that global perspective of how cultures are different, you know, Asia, Africa, Latin America, North Americans, Europeans, we’re all different, and what, what, you know, in many ways, and how we live, but we’re all connected in ways that are their seeds that are sewn on, you know, we all want to be loved. We all want to, you know, do good. I think people are generally good at the heart of their heart of hearts. But we just sometimes lose our path on the way, so travel has given me that ability to inspire people and to evolve continually evolve my leadership to create something really special joint ventures, which has been disrupted at the moment, but no travel has given me that gift, tolerance. Tolerance is another very, very underappreciated gift. So, you don’t have to, you know, it’s not about you know, loving everybody, but it’s understanding everybody. And so and, and, and that’s the greatest gift, you travel on that, that, that leaks in all aspects of your life, though, that when I’m standing in a grocery store, waiting in line, and you know, and people start fighting for someone, you know, cutting the line, or anti massacres, that are kind of fighting whatever it is, that appreciation for a, you know, the global well-being of the planet is a gift that comes from travel, and that tolerance is a divine gift. It’s a divine gift to peace within your own life, but also something that you give to the world when you, you know, you allow yourself to, you know, be that be that person that can be a model for that.

Tonya Fitzpatrick 28:37
We were talking about transformation. And you know, the power, the transformative power of travel is its title, the talk I gave just yesterday, what has been your most transformative travel experience?

Bruce Poon Tip 28:50
Well, I would say my most transformative is in my recent years, taking my kids to places I’ve been for. So, you know, I’m about to lose my kids to university and I’m heartbroken and mourning their loss, even though they’re just moving away. But in the last seven or eight years, I’ve taken places that I’ve been to many times I’m familiar with. And so sometimes you get jaded when you’re in travel, like you know, I talked about to the last two the last trips that we did, one was to India, and the other was to the Galapagos Islands. Both places I’ve been to over a dozen times, for different reasons, whether it was for work or for leisure, I’ve been to those places, and I’d seen them a certain way and I thought that I thought of them as beautiful destinations, rich in different areas, offered me something that I loved as a travel to see but seeing them with new eyes, through my children and getting the opportunity to show that to them. created. It was such a new experience for me. like India, a very good example. But it’s such a, I would say aggressive destination in terms of the attack on all senses when you go there, but it’s such a magical place. And I’ve gotten jaded somewhat, and I didn’t realize it until I was there with my kids who are seeing it for the first time. And with new eyes, I could just appreciate once again, like as if it was new for me. And that, that those are special moments. Now I get asked all the time, but you know, where’s your favorite place to travel? And what’s your best trip? And my answer to that, as always, the same, which is my last one. Because I, you have to get to a place where you travel and not compare. And that’s like, that’s getting highly evolved as humans where we, because we naturally want to reference everything to what we know, right? Even when you watch a movie, you compare it to another movie. So, this is, how did you can we ever get to a point where we just appreciate what’s in front of us, as opposed to judging it right? So, it’s hard for me to say, Where’s my favorite pistol? Where’s the best trip you’ve ever taken? And I always my answer is always the last one. But getting that gift of seeing things and reopening my eyes and like getting a chance to see things new again. It was a gift.

Tonya Fitzpatrick 31:12
Yes, travel is a gift. And for people who travel frequently were always curious to know if they’ve identified their soul country, you know, a place that feels like home. And that’s a question we posed to Bruce.

Bruce Poon Tip 31:28
Whether you believe in reincarnation or other lives, doesn’t matter. But there’s places in the world when you get there, you feel that this and there’s two for me. One is Ecuador, in South America, and the other one is Spain. Spain, there is only one place in the world that I go, that I know, no matter where I am, I know that’s north. That’s east. That’s and that’s Calgary, where I was raised, will no matter where I go in Calgary, I don’t know why. But I can tell you which way no matter where I am actually, that’s north Calgary, that’s East anchor pointed out. And that’s there’s some kind of built in GPS for me to Calgary. And Spain is the other place. Like when I landed in Spain, there was something so familiar with that country. And I haven’t actually been to Spain, a lot of times, it’s been a few times. But there’s something about that country that was more familiar to me than any other country that have been. And when I ate the food, like there was something about everything to do with Spain resonated with me in a spiritual way, which was what I wasn’t expecting. I’m Ecuador is the same thing. Ecuador is another country that’s so diverse and so unknown. But when I went there, the comfortable, you know how comfortable it was and how real it was to me on an intrinsic spiritual level, I can explain to people, and people should be aware of those things. And you can’t necessarily feel that if you’re going to like a compound resort, and you’re behind the walls, and you have a meal plan. You know, you have to get up there. And that’s the beautiful thing about TravelClick, finding yourself in those kinds of experiences.

Tonya Fitzpatrick 32:58
As we conclude the conversation with Bruce, we had to end with our standard question about who he would want to sit next to past or present on a long-haul flight to one of his sole countries, Spain, or Ecuador.

Bruce Poon Tip 33:13
This is a tougher one, because usually you get asked how many people you would have at a dinner party, and I can (Inaudible). But one, it’s going to be Nelson Mandela. It’s going to be Nelson Mandela. I’m going to have to say, but on the wider table would be the Dalai Lama, Steve Jobs and Gandhi with him, but if I’m going to pick one, it’s going to be Nelson Mandela. Yeah, for sure. Tenacity, grit, leadership, dedication, commitment, like, he represents everything that I believe in humanity. Forgiveness, you know, compassion, like all of these great things that I want to incorporate in business, and I strive to kind of incorporate in my life in business. He encompasses it all. But you know, Steve Jobs innovation, Mahatma Gandhi was the Dalai Lama. There are pieces, all kinds of things and peace. But above all, all of these people and especially leadership, he did all appoint a place of complete servant leadership. And that to me is no, the dream the goal, like we’re here to serve, and leadership should incorporate that, and you know, Richard Greenleaf wrote a book in 1973 called servant leadership that is more relevant today than ever before that we’re here to find our destiny, our purpose and being leadership becomes even more critical and it’s these theories are abandoned in today’s leadership, but Nelson Mandela.

Tonya Fitzpatrick 34:51
Wow. I had a couple of moments during this conversation with Bruce. He really, really spoke to my heart and I’m so grateful for his words, because they breathed life into me and what we’re doing here.

Ian Fitzpatrick 35:11
Sometimes in life, you come across a person who, the first time you meet them, you feel connected to them, you feel like they’re your soul brother, your person who gets you and you get them. And that’s how I felt speaking to Bruce for the very first time and hearing his insights, speaking to the very same things that we’ve been trying to do with World footprints was refreshing and just good.

Tonya Fitzpatrick 35:42
I would say, trying, we are doing.

Ian Fitzpatrick 35:44
Yeah, yeah, yeah, absolutely. But the point I’m really trying to make is that Bruce is a real soul brother in a real spiritual sense, and he gets it. And I appreciate his voice in this space. We need more. Bruce is out there to carry that message forward. And I’m looking forward to future conversations with him.

Tonya Fitzpatrick 36:10
Yes, I hope we have many, many more conversations with Bruce. He certainly was a blessing to us. And I hope this conversation that we’re sharing has been a blessing to you listening. In closing, I think it’s appropriate that we reflect on the words of Nelson Mandela. As he wrote in his 1994 autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom. A leader is like a shepherd. He stays behind the flock, letting the most, nimble go ahead, whereupon the others follow. Not realizing that all along, they are being directed from behind. We’re Tanya and Ian Fitzpatrick, and we thank you for choosing to spend this time with us. We’re grateful for your support, and for the opportunity to share the world through the stories we offer on world footprints.

Announcer 37:11
This world footprints podcast with Ian and Tanya Fitzpatrick is a production of World footprints LLC Silver Spring, Maryland. The multi award winning podcast is available on world footprints.com And on audio platforms worldwide, including I Heart Radio, public radio exchange, iTunes, and Stitcher. Connect with the world one story at a time with World footprints. Visit world footprints.com To enjoy more podcasts and explore hundreds of articles from international travel writers. And be sure to subscribe to the newsletter. World footprints is a trademark of world footprints LLC which retains all rights to the world footprints portfolio, including worldfootprints.com, and this podcast.

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