When I was working in the Indian Himalayas back in 2005, I heard a phrase I love ‘Atithi Devo Bhavah’ which translates to “The Guest is the God”. I carried this sentiment with me when I started the company and I remain committed to and focused on your experience with us. I truly believe if we continue to put you at the centre of every decision we make, we will be able to do what we love most, creating great adventures, long into the future.
From a very early age my parents immersed me in the outdoors and for that I am forever grateful. When my siblings and I were small my mum developed a deserved reputation for planning ‘short routes’ in the mountains that turned into epic all day adventures with everyone near starvation by the end! While this turned some of my family off the great outdoors, I loved it and it inspired me to make adventure my life. I was very fortunate to travel the world with my parents and explore mountains in Europe and Africa. As I got a little older, I took on bigger and braver missions with close friends and my love of adventure continued to grow.
At 24, I had represented Ireland as a kayaker and travelled to over 50 countries doing back to back summer and winter seasons on different sides of the globe. While I had what seemed to me like the best lifestyle and job in the world, I knew this type of work was not sustainable for the long term. While on a river expedition in the Garhwal Himalayas with close friends in 2006, I had an epiphany; how incredible would it be to start a company where I can lead trips for people and get to show them some of the most beautiful and remote destinations in the world.
However, like anyone will tell you, starting up your own company is hard! I spent a lot of time in my parent’s spare room staring into a laptop wishing for enquires to arrive! I was a one-man band for a long time, with my mum answering my emails while I was overseas leading every expedition we ran. I have learned a lot since then and even though Earth’s Edge has grown in scope and size, my passion for each and every trip we run remains the same as it was went we started.
Of all the great experiences I have had in the mountains over the last 30 years it’s the people I have met during that time that form the fondest memories. I love chatting to someone on the phone who is totally new to adventure travel, decides to join an expedition and then climbs a big mountain six months later. The confidence and perspective the experience gives them has a big impact on their lives which gives me so much satisfaction. It’s also amazing to see those of you who catch the adventure bug go on to climb mountain after mountain, exploring the world in this wonderful and sustainable way.
I’m incredibly grateful for the fantastic team we have built up over the years. Not only are they some of the most talented outdoor professionals in the world they are also great people. It makes me so happy and proud when repeat customers call us to ask when and where their favourite expedition leader is scheduled to travel to next and then joins that expedition.
Safety is so important to me and something I will never cut corners on. My dad is a GP and he and I have been on countless expeditions together over the years. His experience and training got us out of so many sticky situations and having that skill set on trips always seemed essential to me. Like the time he put my friend Michael on an IV drip in Ladakh in 2011, which meant he recovered fast enough to avoid an evacuation. Having expedition doctors with us everywhere we go is so important and something we are committed to so you and your family can have peace of mind, no matter where you are in the world.
Becoming a leader in responsible travel and corporate social responsibility is something I’m very proud of. I firmly believe corporations have a huge role to play in combating climate change and I’m dedicated to improving our policies and programmes year on year. I want you to have every confidence that by travelling with us you are being kind to the environment and supporting sustainable and ethical jobs throughout the world. We are always looking to improve in this area and your feedback and suggestions are invaluable, so keep them coming!
The future is looking very exciting for Earth’s Edge and we have so many new places we are planning on taking you. My mom was a firm believer that life is too short not to go on adventures. This has stuck with me and my advice to you is; don’t wait any longer; take that first or next adventure now. You can achieve anything if you put your mind to it, the first step is always the hardest.
Thank you so much for travelling with us and making it possible for us to do what we do.
See you out there soon,
Earth’s Edge is governed by a Board of Directors headed by James McManus, who is the sole, beneficial owner and his sister Claire McManus.