“The impulse to travel is one of the hopeful symptoms of life” ~Agnes Repplier
It’s been a fun road to designing membership site templates and helping people customize them in just 30 days. One thing that we at GJ are passionate about besides designing beautiful, functional membership site templates, is travel. How we blend real travel experiences within the GJ brand has been a topic of discussion multiple times. But more on that later.
For me (Georges) adventure and travel experiences have been a part of my entire life.
I always had a bug for traveling, from a young age. Growing up in a small town in France, “traveling and adventure” translated to vacation road trips. One thing I remember - occasionally my mum would take my brother and I for a day trip outing to Geneva Switzerland. Yes, that was fun. What was really exciting about it was going to the airport in Geneva. There was a rooftop patio where you could watch airplanes take off and land. It was a different time, security wasn’t what it is today, and you could actually go to the patio and lean over the ramp looking at the airport activity. It was fun and exciting to look at the airplanes and to imagine that someday I would be going on an airplane somewhere.
What I did not know at that time is that one day I would be going places from the front seat of the airplane. Yep, before I started playing with everything websites, one of those “fun roads” took me to flight school and eventually to the front seat of passenger planes. What I remember the most about the fifteen years that I flew as a pilot is some of the “fun” travel destinations I was lucky to go to and experience. I’m going to share two today, one destination where it was very hot and one where it was cold. And by cold I mean -35 degrees Fahrenheit, super cold. 10 minutes outside was all we could handle.
Hot fun destination
I grew up in the French Alps and for me Christmas was always a time where it was cold, a time where it would snow and we could go skiing. As an adult I moved to the United States and lived in the San Francisco area, where winters are mild.
One Christmas holiday I was assigned on a trip to Fiji, in the south pacific. As a pilot, we would always have the “difficult” task of finding things to do to entertain ourselves while “on the road.” During that trip, together with the other pilot, we decided to take a boat ride to a tiny island on Christmas day. Beachcomber Island, so tiny you can walk around in about 10 minutes. We spent the entire day sitting on the beach, sunbathing, and had lunch at the only restaurant where all the tables were in the sand. While there I called my mum to wish her a Merry Christmas. She told me that it had snowed and was cold. I told her that I was in my swimsuit, literally sitting in the water with a cocktail. I remember it like it was yesterday.
Cold “fun” destination
As I mentioned before, I got used to cold weather as I grew up in the French Alps. However the true meaning of cold came on a trip to Siberia.
Yes, you heard me right, Siberia…
But why would you fly to Siberia? Who goes there?
That’s a valid question. What is there to see?
The answer is this. I got assigned to a trip to Magadan to go rescue a Canadian crew that had gotten stranded when their airplane experienced a mechanical failure on the ground during an unexpected layover. The why and how they got stranded there is another story in itself, however, they needed to be rescued and there were only two ways their airplane could get fixed so they could leave. I was part of a crew of five (three pilots and two mechanics) that went to Siberia where the temperature was -35 C (-35 F) when we landed.
We had a very small window of time to deploy a pretty involved procedure to get their airplane started. The airport was only open for about six hours during the day. It is so cold that the airport shuts down after hours and everybody goes to the small town which is miles away. Ten minutes outside was all we could take. It was soooo cold. We alternated time outside and time inside our airplane and it took almost all six hours to fix their airplane and get them on their way.
If you’re interested in reading the entire story, it actually made the aviation news.
This past year has been almost entirely deprived of travel and adventure. The good news is that we can still travel through our stories until we can create new ones. And GJ will for sure incorporate live travel and adventure experiences as part of the brand.