[Above: Video hosts Ian and Christian at Cuatro Palos, Sierra Gorda. Photo: Hassen Salum]
Our First “World’s Inspiring Places,” a Short-Form Travel Documentary
I can’t wait to show everyone this amazing place I’ve fallen in love with and tell the story of what makes it truly inspiring. Mexico’s Sierra Gorda is the star of our new online travel pilot, The World’s Inspiring Places, a video that prelaunched on 15 January 2018 with a one-minute version at the Awards Forum of the United Nations World Tourism Organization in Madrid, Spain. Check out the trailer!
For me, the concept behind The World’s Inspiring Places probably started the day I found myself yelling at a tourist to stop standing on the coral while they cleared their goggles. I’d had enough of overcrowded destinations making a buck at the expense of nature. It was time for me to focus on places in the world that were doing something right to protect where people loved to travel.
My passion led me to some of my first stories in Central America around reforestation, coral reef protection, overfishing and sustainable tourism.
My son got to tag along with me on shoots and grew up seeing sometimes the not-so-great underbelly from the impacts of such things as overdevelopment, logging, and poverty. While friends were boasting about their recent cruise or resort vacation, my son had been learning how local villagers were replanting sides of mountains, or he’d be on a boat with biologists counting boat propeller cuts on whale shark backs. It wasn’t always pretty. But it was definitely inspiring. Despite what often seemed like insurmountable challenges, these regular people, often with fewer means than most, were doing extraordinary things to protect their own places.
For me it’s fun that my son, Christian—he’s the one with the man bun in the videos—agreed to be one of the hosts, along with his college friend Ian. They further agreed to meet our very tight budget by hosting, well, for the fun of the trip. So we were off for an incredible 6-day filming project with a small, never-tiring, amazing crew from Mexico.
We set the bar high choosing the Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve as the pilot for this series. Grupo Ecológico is a small organization that has had incredible success recognized globally in their approach to conservation, all while making an adventurer’s paradise. We appreciate Freightliner’s support in covering the costs of video production and thereby supporting the work of Grupo Ecológico.
I’ve found my career’s passion in producing The World’s Inspiring Places, and it’s happened by partnering with Jonathan Tourtellot and the Destination Stewardship Center. A venture like this can’t be done alone, and it’s been fun joining forces to tell stewardship success stories from the traveler’s point of view—stories of truly inspiring people and places.
Join us as next week as we travel through the Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve. Find out for yourself why this place is one of the best.