Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Pociask with some furry friends.
(Photo: Jessica Pociask)Jessica Pociask isn’t your typical adventure
travel company owner: first, she’s female; second, she’s young
(35); third, she’s American.
Not too long ago, in the often testosterone-drenched realm of
extreme-destination travel, these would have been three strikes against her.
But Pociask has used her uniqueness to her advantage, carving out her own
space in the high-stakes industry with her conservation-focused boutique
business, WANT Expeditions.
WANT stands for Wildlife and Nature Travel, and that’s exactly what
Pociask does: She takes adventurous types to the farthest of far-flung places
to see flora, fauna, and cultures in their natural habitats — to
Mongolia to witness the nomadic Zeren gazelles give birth, to Namibia to
explore Bushman settlements, to the Panatal in Brazil to see jaguars, to Petra
to marvel at the ancient architecture, plus many more.
"When you travel, you have to get let something go — you have to get
out of your comfort zone," says Pociask of her exotic trips.
"But if you will, but you gain something so much greater in return.
"Related: 10 Tourist-Free Adventure Destinations Streets of Bamako, Mali.
(Photo: Juan Jiménez Martínez/Flickr)The truth is, even if Pociask
something of an anomaly in the biz, there’s no one you’d rather
be with in a harrowing situation in a foreign country — something
that’s not so much of a hypothetical when you’re traveling to
places like the Congo.
Take WANT’s March 2012 culture and nature expedition to Mali for
example: After what Pociask described as "two amazing weeks" exploring Burkina
Faso and Mali with her tour group, she woke up one morning at a hotel near the
Niger River in Bamako to find that as she slept, the military had overthrown
the government.
She and the members of her tour found themselves caught in the middle of a
coup d’etat, complete with gunfire in the streets.
Pociask didn’t panic; instead she did some quick thinking to keep her
guests safe: She notified the local American Embassy of the situation,
developed an exit strategy, and then gave her van a flat tire and hid the keys
— it saved her and the group from becoming stranded as militants stole
several vehicles from the hotel parking lot later that day.
A week later when an imposed curfew was lifted, she had the members of her
group evacuated overland, back into Burkina Faso and then safely home.
"I work my a** off for my clients," says Pociask.
Related: Forget Resorts: More Couples Going on Adventure Honeymoons 
(Photo: Jessica Pociask)Pociask’s philosophy for her company is to show
people the most amazing natural phenomena and local culture in a highly
personalized, sustainable way, whether it’s at a good restaurant only
residents frequent or a little-known watering hole for local wildlife.
To do so, WANT employs international guides like biologists, geologists,
ornithologists, etc.
, who have trained and studied in the areas in which they are working.
"I don’t pretend to know what it’s like to wake up every
morning in that culture," she says.
"My guides have great knowledge, and they are absolutely passionate, which is
key.
"Cutting down on her business’s eco-footprint is also of huge
importance to Pociask.
For example, WANT has largely cut out using small bottled water.
"All those plastic water bottles being used and then dumped into
infrastructures that can’t handle the waste — it’s like
if I came to your house, brought a bunch of trash to leave and your floor, and
then was like, ‘Good luck,’" she explains.
"There are better solutions.
" Pociask provides stainless water bottles to her clients and buys five-gallon
jugs of filtered water to fill them, which has helped her company cut out
about 100,000 plastic bottles.
"I’ve only seen a few companies do the same," says Pociask.
"Some are more worried that their business won’t look as high end or
polished, but I think it’s important to lead by example.
" Pociask still loves bugs! (Photo: Jessica Pociask) It’s as if
Pociask, 35, was born for this life.
As a child growing up in Michigan, she always had a love of wildlife,
constantly collecting snakes and insects.
That and her grandfather’s piles of old National Geographic magazines
sparked Pociask’s fascination with travel.
"Whenever we went over to his house for Christmas, I would go downstairs in
his basement and thumb through them all," says Pociask.

Though she didn’t get her first passport until she was a teenager
touring Europe with her high school orchestra,she never stopped chasing
stamps: the United Kingdom to study abroad; Iceland to visit her best friend;
Mexico for a community leadership program.
She’s now been to more than 80 countries, has set foot on every
continent, and has easily filled up her passport pages with a collage of
customs stamps.
But it was a trip to Antarctica in 2006 to study climate change that changed
everything.
The trip introduced her to the idea that she could have a career working on
expeditions as a staff member.
"I thought, Wow, this could be you," says Pociask.
"It appealed to me that it wasn’t just a vacation, it was a chance to
find deeper meaning and have a deeper connection and to go to a place that few
people have been.
" Related: Scenes From Antarctica That Will Leave You Even More Awed By Nature
Photo: Jessica PociaskThe seed for WANT was planted.
With Pociask’s passion and her ability to think and react rightly and
calmly under pressure, she has grown her business into one that offers 30 to
45 tours annually, with a stable of loyal clients, many of whom return to take
her trips year after year.
"When people choose to travel with us over and over again, I know we did
something right," says Pociask.
"That’s probably why we have over a 90 percent return rate and guests
that have gone on over 15 of our expeditions in less than a decade.
"WANT Expedition trips usually average groups of about 8 to 16 people, and the
all-inclusive trips (save for international airfare) cost anywhere from a
$4,500 trip to see Harp Seal pups, to a $6500 trip to East Africa to a $55,000
expedition to the French Subantarctic Islands (land masses that very few of
people will ever have the chance to visit).
WATCH: Spend the Best Day of Your Life in an Elephant Retirement Home 
Let World traveling club Travel inspire you every day.
 Watch World traveling club Travel’s original series "A Broad
Abroad.
" Jessica Pociask isn't your typical adventure travel company owner, but
that's a good thing.
.
"I work my a** off for my clients," says Pociask.
Related: Forget Resorts: More Couples Going on Adventure Honeymoons 
(Photo: Jessica Pociask)Pociask’s philosophy for her company is to show
people the most amazing natural phenomena and local culture in a highly
personalized, sustainable way, whether it’s at a good restaurant only
residents frequent or a little-known watering hole for local wildlife.
To do so, WANT employs international guides like biologists, geologists,
ornithologists, etc.
, who have trained and studied in the areas in which they are working.
"I don’t pretend to know what it’s like to wake up every
morning in that culture," she says.
"My guides have great knowledge, and they are absolutely passionate, which is
key.
"Cutting down on her business’s eco-footprint is also of huge
importance to Pociask.
For example, WANT has largely cut out using small bottled water.
"All those plastic water bottles being used and then dumped into
infrastructures that can’t handle the waste — it’s like
if I came to your house, brought a bunch of trash to leave and your floor, and
then was like, ‘Good luck,’" she explains.
"There are better solutions.
" Pociask provides stainless water bottles to her clients and buys five-gallon
jugs of filtered water to fill them, which has helped her company cut out
about 100,000 plastic bottles.
"I’ve only seen a few companies do the same," says Pociask.
"Some are more worried that their business won’t look as high end or
polished, but I think it’s important to lead by example.
" Pociask still loves bugs! (Photo: Jessica Pociask) It’s as if
Pociask, 35, was born for this life.
As a child growing up in Michigan, she always had a love of wildlife,
constantly collecting snakes and insects.
That and her grandfather’s piles of old National Geographic magazines
sparked Pociask’s fascination with travel.
"Whenever we went over to his house for Christmas, I would go downstairs in
his basement and thumb through them all," says Pociask.

Though she didn’t get her first passport until she was a teenager
touring Europe with her high school orchestra,she never stopped chasing
stamps: the United Kingdom to study abroad; Iceland to visit her best friend;
Mexico for a community leadership program.
She’s now been to more than 80 countries, has set foot on every
continent, and has easily filled up her passport pages with a collage of
customs stamps.
But it was a trip to Antarctica in 2006 to study climate change that changed
everything.
The trip introduced her to the idea that she could have a career working on
expeditions as a staff member.
"I thought, Wow, this could be you," says Pociask.
"It appealed to me that it wasn’t just a vacation, it was a chance to
find deeper meaning and have a deeper connection and to go to a place that few
people have been.
" Related: Scenes From Antarctica That Will Leave You Even More Awed By Nature
Photo: Jessica PociaskThe seed for WANT was planted.
With Pociask’s passion and her ability to think and react rightly and
calmly under pressure, she has grown her business into one that offers 30 to
45 tours annually, with a stable of loyal clients, many of whom return to take
her trips year after year.
"When people choose to travel with us over and over again, I know we did
something right," says Pociask.
"That’s probably why we have over a 90 percent return rate and guests
that have gone on over 15 of our expeditions in less than a decade.
"WANT Expedition trips usually average groups of about 8 to 16 people, and the
all-inclusive trips (save for international airfare) cost anywhere from a
$4,500 trip to see Harp Seal pups, to a $6500 trip to East Africa to a $55,000
expedition to the French Subantarctic Islands (land masses that very few of
people will ever have the chance to visit).
WATCH: Spend the Best Day of Your Life in an Elephant Retirement Home 
Let World traveling club Travel inspire you every day.
 Watch World traveling club Travel’s original series "A Broad
Abroad.
" Jessica Pociask isn't your typical adventure travel company owner, but
that's a good thing.

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