Location: Denali and Kachemak Bay, Alaska
In one line, what makes you a PUREist?
I am a PUREist because I provide our guests with the opportunity to experience the powerful sense of time spent in the natural world, to experience new and enriching adventures that become lifetime memories, and bring individuals and families closer together in a creative and positive environment.
Tell us your story – how did you get where you are today?
I grew up in a family of passionate backcountry travellers. My parents quit their jobs in the medical field and moved to a cabin in the woods 100 miles from any road when I was two months old. I spent my childhood with no shoes, unlimited freedom in the wild, listening to German fishermen tell stories around the woodstove, and travelling the world in the off-season. My adult life story is an interesting and complex journey – if you are interested, ask when we meet in Morocco! After working and living many years in Russia, Seychelles and South Africa I returned to Alaska (with a South African husband!) to manage my family business, fly-fish, teach yoga in the wilds of Alaska and raise my son in the same way I was so fortunate to have been raised. My husband is also a fly-fishing guide, helicopter pilot and artist – so he fits in well with my family! My sister is a talented artist, chef and integral part of our culinary program. My parents are still doing what they love with their family – now third generation wilderness guides. My vision now is to focus on unique adventure tourism and wilderness travel within the South-central corridor of Alaska. We are strategically placed in the experiential adventure travel market and we purposefully keep our lodges and out-camp programmes small and intimate. We commit ourselves to excellence in service to our guests, in education about the preservation of our environment, and dedication to our employees. We strive to show visitors the Alaska we love with the hope that they will go away with a renewed sense of wonderment and respect for the fragility and complex beauty of wild places.
Can you share with us your single most life-enriching experience?
I have had so many transformative events in my short life! When I was little I always thought I wanted to be a doctor or volunteer on a large scale to change the world. I felt that I needed to make the world a better place and I couldn’t do that in my family business. I was soul sick about the state of the world. One day, I shared this with my parents. My dad explained to me how what we do – invite travellers into our home, show them what we love about our world, nature, wildlife and family – does make the world a better place. I was never the same after that conversation. I am passionate and enthusiastic about helping people see their world with different eyes. I now have pride in what I do and how I show up in this world.
What does the term ‘experiential travel’ mean to you?
Inviting people to leave the environment in which they are currently thinking is a powerful way to change someone’s life. Experiential travel creates a new space for thinking and, as a result, creates a new way of living. Experiential travel means that my family and I try to share with others the place that we love so deeply, that we try to capture with them those small perfect moments that make our lives here so enriched. For example: It was remarkable to take a young man to the top of a ridge with an expansive view of the Alaska Range and Denali Mountain. We helped him out of his wheelchair and he cried when we set him down onto the tundra and touched earth that had never been touched by humans before.
“My adult life story is an interesting and complex journey – if you are interested, ask when we meet in Morocco!”
Describe your ideal client: how do they approach travel?
I do not think I have an “ideal guest”. My family and employees have a knack for making anyone feel like family, especially if they are a little outside of their comfort zone. We are able to connect with a traveller looking for a life changing adventure, a culinary tourist, a spiritual seeker as well as traveller looking for just another comfortable, relaxing vacation.
What made you decide to join PURE Life Experiences and how has doing so benefitted your business?
We have been members of the PURE Life Experiences from the beginning. We were invited to join through our friendship with Fisher Travel in New York. We have met many new agents and guests over the years that we attribute to our relationship with PURE and many have become beloved friends to our family!
What role do you think PURE has to play in the high-end experiential travel industry?
PURE provides inspiration and leadership to the high-end experiential travel industry. We are all living big lives in far-flung places and it is not easy to bring us together. The opportunity to meet peers, old and new friends, and share our story with others is a beautiful thing… Thank you PURE.
What other brands and companies in high-end experiential travel do you admire the most?
I admire authentic brands, genuine people. Those who wake up every morning, go to bed at night, and in between do what they love. I admire the travel agents we work with regularly: high-end, experiential travel companies that specialise in putting together exceptional, boundary-pushing trips around the globe. We deeply respect our friends at Entrée Destinations, Clayoquot Lodge, and Sonora Lodge in Canada.
If there were one thing you could change about the travel industry, what would it be?
I would like to see all the travel agents who are connecting travellers to adventures visiting the destinations and personally experiencing the places they sell.
Finally, who is your experiential hero?
My father, Carl Dixon, is the greatest inspiration for me personally and for our entire family. His love for being away from the things of man and his desire to share the beauty of the backcountry of Alaska has led us all to our remarkable lives. I am incredibly thankful for my father’s creative vision to guide our family down a path less travelled. Plus, he is always kind, considerate, and generous and he is always whistling a happy tune!
“My dad explained to me how what we do – invite travellers into our home, show them what we love about our world, nature, wildlife and family – does make the world a better place.”
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