A few years ago, I was on the hunt for a company to help me plan a trip to the Inca Trail in Peru – my first true “outdoorsy” adventure. Prior to this 4-Day/3-Night trek to the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu, my vacations consisted of standard city breaks and beach holidays. I wanted more from my trips – a sense of adventure, cultural immersion, new perspective. Enter Robert Sharp.
Robert Sharp, co-founder of OUT Adventures, helped me get that. My travels haven’t been the same since.
OUT Adventures is a premier provider of gay adventure tours. In addition to creating amazing trips for LGBT travelers and their allies, they look after the local communities where they visit.
Rob looks for locally owned accommodations, hires local guides (both gay and straight) and creates unique experiences that you can’t book or find on your own. Having had such a fantastic time in Peru, I enlisted Rob and his OUT Adventures team to assist me in planning my Everest Base Camp Trek. Simply put – the team delivered another amazing experience.
Meet Robert Sharp.
Name: Robert Sharp
Home Base: Toronto Canada
//HOW DID YOU GET STARTED IN THE TRAVEL INDUSTRY?
My ex-partner (in business and life) and I were tired of putting all of our energy into other people’s businesses, so we decided to sell our house, ship our dog to stay with a friend, and we went travelling. We visited South America, Europe, Asia and Africa on a 10-month trip, and we hashed out a plan for OUT Adventures. Shortly thereafter, Intrepid Travel decided to invest in the company which helped us a great deal in launching the company on an international scale. A few years later we decided to part ways amicably, and Steven and I took back full control of our company. A few years after that, Steven and I parted ways, and I took full control of the company. I’m happy to say that OUT Adventures is now a leader in LGBT travel, and I personally curate every trip we operate.
//WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE PART ABOUT WHAT YOU DO?
Providing that “ah-hah” moment for clients, and hearing how much they enjoyed their trip. I also love meeting new people, and I’m lucky to say that quite a few of my good friends started off as OUT Adventures clients.
//WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR SOMEONE PREPARING FOR A TRIP WITH OUT ADVENTURES?
For anyone interested in booking a trip, we recommend they do a bit of research, and really understand the trip they are booking. We are never afraid to tell someone that our trip isn’t a match for them, because we want the experience to be outstanding, and that isn’t possible if we aren’t all on the same page.
//WHAT’S BEEN YOUR MOST MEMORABLE TRAVEL MOMENT?
To see guests reach the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro is to date one of the most spectacular moments of my life. It wasn’t my own personal achievement that is so memorable, but the sense of accomplishment on the faces of people, both men and women, who doubted their own abilities. To see a group of people of different ages, gender, and even sexual identity come together as one to conquer a goal. I get chills just thinking about it.
//HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE YOUR TRAVEL STYLE?
Local, with a bit of luxury. I love to start and end on a high-note when I travel. In the middle of a trip, I will rough it, camp, and even stay at a hostel every now and then, but I always aim to start and finish in a luxurious property. For me, that doesn’t mean an American-style chain hotel. It means a beautiful boutique hotel, and some relaxation. On a recent work trip, I stopped in Istanbul on my way home and treated myself to the 10 Karakoy Hotel, a spa day at Kilic Ali Pasa Hamami, and a visit to the Istanbul Modern Art Museum.
//WHY DO YOU TRAVEL?
I truly believe the world would be a better place if more people experienced a culture polar-opposite of their own. It’s those small conversations that create change in the long run. It’s harder to hate someone, something, or even a religion, if they are connected to people that you know.
//FAVORITE TRAVEL GADGET?
I always travel with a Leatherman Multi-Tool. From opening a beer to fixing a zipper, I almost always use this tool on a trip. That said, don’t ever bring it in carry-on
//FAVORITE PLANNING TOOL?
Google Flights has revolutionized flight planning in a way that other sites just can’t match. It really helps with looking at the globe to determine which routes are best for a journey.
//FAVORITE TRAVEL BOOK?
A client recently sent me Atlas Obscura, and it certainly features some obscure sites. I love how different and random some of the places are. And, it looks really pretty on a bookshelf!
To learn more about Rob or the fun adventures put together by the OUT Adventrures team, be sure to check out their social channels. If you are lucky, you may even get to meet Rob on upcoming departures (including Everest this October).