Meet: Bruce Poon Tip

by editor
Bruce Poon Tip

Our interview with Bruce Poon Tip, Founder, G Adventures

Following a transformational backpacking trip to Asia, Bruce had an idea to change the face of travel. At the age of 22, he started G Adventures, a small-group adventure company that would bridge the divide between backpacking and mainstream travel and give travellers the opportunity to foster meaningful connections with local communities. G Adventures is now the world’s largest small-group adventure travel company, offering more than 650 tours on all seven continents.

With a vision that travel could become a force for social good and wealth distribution, Bruce founded the nonprofit foundation Planeterra in 2003, which harnesses the tourism industry to direct travel dollars into vulnerable and underserved communities around the world.

What does the perfect Sunday look like to you?
Waking up later, which is 9 am for me, having brunch with the family, some form of exercise, followed by a movie in the afternoon or late evening. In the winter exercise would include hot yoga for sure. In the summer it’d be boot camp and an activity like riding, biking or running with my kids.

Zany (or strange!) travel experience you can share?
Many years ago in the late 90s, I was on the Silk Road, on the Karakoram Highway in northern Pakistan. We were in a four-wheel drive jeep and stopped roadside in the Hunza Valley where we found this man selling handmade, gold leaf inlay furniture. We were literally in the middle of nowhere, on the side of the highway, not a town or village, and here was this odd man with furniture set up everywhere.

I saw a beautiful desk and the cost amounted to $150 CAD but the man said it would cost $800 to ship. I loved the desk, so I gave him $1,000 and my address. He said it would take three or four months as he had to make the desk. It was one of those moments where I had a connection with the gentleman.

Four months passed. Six months. A year. No desk. I was disappointed and I accepted the fact that I misjudged, and didn’t think anything of it. Three years later, I received a notice in the mail that there was a package for me at the airport. I didn’t know what is was for and had already forgotten about the desk. I arrived at the airport and there it was – the desk. There was no mailing address or contact information so I couldn’t get in touch with the man. I still use the desk today and often think of him when I’m working at it. It’s one of my fondest travel memories.

We’re having a potluck dinner. What do you bring?
KFC. Kidding. I usually cook one of my Caribbean dishes. I dig into my Caribbean or adopted Greek roots. I always make a savoury dish. Probably a curry, roti possibly, or a Jamaican jerk dish. No dessert or salad. I find it extremely boring when people bring salad to a potluck because you don’t make friends with salad.

Go-to comfort at the end of the day?
Shower, change into my favourite hoodie and sweatpants from the South Pole station and watch sports while eating dinner.

What’s in your carry-on?
Wine gums, painkillers and antibiotics for dental emergencies, thin rain jacket, sunglasses, every possible power cord to charge any digital device in the world, latest copies of Harvard Business Review and Fast Company, Beats headphones, and a charm blessed by the Dalai Lama.

Best wellness or travel tip?
For yogis, book hotels next to Bikram yoga studios, especially for business trips. You get to stretch out and decompress after a long flight. I’ve never enjoyed running but recently started because my kids got into it. Running is the best and easiest way to discover a city and get some exercise at the same time. You don’t have to bring anything except for your runners. Plus, there are some really good running apps right now.

What excites you about your company?
The people. People that make us great and who make decisions every day for the well-being of everyone here. It’s a great honour and something I take seriously and never take for granted.

What do you want your legacy to be?
I don’t want to have a legacy. I don’t ever want to make a decision that’s based on wanting to be remembered. I believe if I start worrying about how people are going to think of me when I die and start making decisions based on that, it’ll be the beginning of the end for me. I feel like I have to live in the moment, do the right thing and just be pure in my intentions, and not ever worry about how I’m going to be remembered.

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