Meet RYAN HEVERN, from the United States
My project: TAO (Taiwan Adventure Outings)
TAO is an Adventure Travel Company based in Taiwan. We are passionate about the adventures in Taiwan, and the adventurer within us all. Through low-impact tourism and environmental awareness initiatives, we work to provide memorable, adrenaline-packed tours throughout Taiwan.
I have always been an active, outdoors person, and have worked in the travel industry in some capacity since University, however what really put it all together was my time in the Malaysian Borneo rainforest. I moved there for just under two years, exploring and guiding through the jungles. That has provided me with some of the most memorable experiences of my life. My good friend, and his partner who owned the company have been a major inspiration for me, and have helped me realize what it is I can accomplish here in Taiwan, while doing what I love.
I guess you could label our biggest challenge as being a foreigner looking to own a small business. Financially speaking, it is a mountain to climb as opposed to a mole hill.
My Best Resources
Mentors. I talk to those I consider mentors often. Those I previously mentioned in Borneo at Sticky Rice Travel, as well as Marti Grimminck of IC in California. These conversations always help me greatly. We also have conversations with the Taiwan Tourism Bureau, other business owners and our community of local adventurers. Feedback is key on our trips and we try to get as much as possible.
In the beginning, we relied on books, maps, and blogs to custom make our own itineraries, and to always look to improve them.
My Advice to peers
Work hard, there is no such thing as jumping up the ladder. Put in the ground work, learn and go through the processes. Make connections, use existing ones, and network.
Keep it fun, you started doing this for a reason, right?