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Adventure Travel is Dead

September 17 2020 – Kristin Shearer

A few years ago, we were excited to be designing products for the adventure travel space. We were designing packable backpacks and accessories that we imagined you pulling out of your suitcase when you got to your destination, and you’d continue to embark on a mind-expanding, character-building, challenging experience that would impact your worldview. At the time, it was called adventure travel, and we at Matador HQ were psyched on it, too. We’d go on trips like hiking through Peru, bikepacking through Iceland, or motorcycling through Mongolia, and we’d come back with stories of the sparsely traveled places we’d been and the unfamiliar things we’d seen.
At some point over the past few years, the culture surrounding adventure travel has shifted, and real adventure has been stripped from the concept. The term has been hijacked by tour companies trying to sell you packaged experiences, and droves of people exploiting vistas for the sole purpose of getting the Instagram shot. Adventure travel has become a concept we simply cannot relate to anymore. So we’re creating our own.
We’re calling it objective-based travel, and it’s this hellbent pursuit of a unique experience, location, or achievement. It’s not an experience you stumble upon, it’s an experience you work for. The objective usually requires a degree of skill and preparation, and sometimes that’s half the fun. Objective-based travel isn’t glamorous. You’ll struggle, you’ll be uncomfortable, you’ll have to dig deep. You might be halfway up a mountain when a storm rolls in, or trying to navigate from a guidebook in a foreign language just trusting that you have what it takes to reach your goal and make it back to your accommodation at the end of the day.
If you’re like us, you travel for something bigger than the Instagram pictures. You travel for something intangible. To test your limits, expand your experiences, and prove to yourself you can take it a step further than most. You don’t take the easy way, you take the way few have gone before. You plan your trips so you’re as self-sufficient as possible, because you know you have what it takes. You don’t use your vacation time to recharge, you use it to discover unseen corners of the world, and even more so to discover unseen corners of yourself.
Matador equipment is meant for people like us. People who travel with an objective and need high performance equipment to match their determination. We design products that are lightweight yet durable, waterproof yet compact, and built for fast pursuits. We prioritize the features you’ll need for your objective, and leave the bells and whistles behind. Packing less and experiencing more is what Matador is all about, call it our objective if you will.

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3 comments

  • Karin Beaty: October 08, 2020

    Great article! I am 65 year old woman who believes travel is the adventure when you contact other humans and share the world through their eyes and life. It’s the back roads and out of way places and three days of backpacking hoping you end up in the right place but meeting people who make you not care if you do. That is the adventure of life.

  • Sarah: October 08, 2020

    I LOVE this. And I am proud to say that I am an objective-based traveler. My adventure took on a bit of a different form, but all the same in getting out of my comfort zone, testing my limits and accepting challenges that make me better. www.lyfeintow.com/about

  • Michael Bowers: October 08, 2020

    I like the idea and the term.

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