Meet the Mavericks from 2017 is a series that reveals the world-changing work and invaluable insights behind the revolutionaries who took away a trophy at last year’s PURE Awards.
Find out how Oceania Expeditions’ Kabakon Survivor project – where Karawara islanders give guests an education in how to fend for themselves on a deserted tropical island – is both providing exposure and an additional income stream for the local community, all the while re-igniting pride in the continuation of local traditions and cultures.
“[Kabakon Survivor] is inspiring our partners to dream big, and by experiencing the reactions of travellers to life as a South Sea Islander, they’re experiencing their own lifestyle and culture with new eyes, and finding fresh value in it.”
Kabakon Survivor. Three nights on an uninhabited island with daily visits from your neighbours teaching you anything from spear fishing to weaving to husking coconuts. Our expedition leader Ray is in the neighbourhood today with a couple of lucky guests. Life is pretty sweet! —————————————————- #oexfieldnotes
Tell us about your winning project – how does it Change Worlds?
Kabakon Survivor instills community pride and gives an international profile to PNG and the Karawara people.
It introduces the idea of tourism as an income stream to our local collaborators, the Karawara people. Mostly sustainable farmers themselves, seeing travellers’ curiosity and respect for their culture instills in them a real sense of community pride. Kabakon Survivor is inspiring our partners to dream big, and by experiencing the reactions of travellers to life as a South Sea Islander, they’re experiencing their own lifestyle and culture with new eyes, and finding fresh value in it.
What did winning a PURE Award mean to Oceania Expeditions?
Confidence that we are on the right track.
What does transformation mean to Oceania Expeditions? How do you know when a guest is transformed?
When you experience their appreciation for what a traditional South Sea Islander lifestyle is and the daily challenges communities like the Karawara people face.
“Walk the walk. Talk the talk.”
Does the high-end travel industry have a responsibility to protect our planet? What’s your advice on this – where should brands begin?
Walk the walk. Talk the talk.
5-stars, by ‘Survivor’ standards 🏵🏵🏵🏵🏵 —————————————————-Perched in the shade on uninhabited Kabakon island, our two bedroom bungalow will be home for three mums + their sons aged between 11 + 12, soon. They’ll meet the neighbouring Karawara people each day and learn traditional hunting, foraging and social skills to ‘survive’ on Kabakon – from spear fishing to weaving, fire lighting to story telling … We’re excited to host these mums and their young men – what a trip! #fancytent
How can high-end travel brands protect and empower local communities? Why is this important?
Sustain culture by encouraging pride in local traditions. By sharing with local communities the reactions of travellers to their neighbourhood, culture, food and all the details that become invisible to people in the day-to-day. When you see someone just in awe of what’s really ‘normal’ to you, it injects pride and opens up the mind to new ideas…
In today’s information age, it’s harder than ever for brands to grab their audience’s attention. How should brands tell their story in a way that resonates?
We’re in an exciting time for business, as all the social media channels level the playing field – whereas in generations prior, you needed to engage a lot more people to get your message out. So, anyone can speak directly to their audience, and their audience can also speak directly back. It means the pace of business is faster, products need to be more flexible than they’ve needed to be historically because feedback and growth is just so immediate.
All this means that brands can pare back the hard-sell.
Transparency, authenticity – there’s room today for brands to break out of whatever kind of mould that might exist in and carve out their own voice and interactions. ‘People’ are tired of being considered as merely ‘consumers’, so anyone who shifts their stories to reflect that will resonate with travellers.
“Transparency, authenticity – there’s room today for brands to break out of whatever kind of mould that might exist in and carve out their own voice and interactions.”
To what extent does the design of a hotel or retreat impact guests’ experiences? What are the other important factors to consider in building or renovating a property?
We pay careful attention to balancing the different environments and experiences for travellers with us throughout their itinerary. So when there’s a peak experience to enjoy, there’s room to ‘rough it’ in the accommodation – as focus is on the amazing adventure we’ve all just had. But those amazing hotels and resorts we return to are so important to balance it out.
There’s no hard or fast rules for anyone to stick to – it’s about commitment to a vision and making the personal experiences of your guests the main priority.
Travellers don’t want to see signs of anyone else having stayed in their space before them. It’s got to be fresh, clean, with nice air movement and attention to detail. Vanuatu does this so well – we’d love to see PNG look to Vanuatu and pick up some tips.
How would you go, living on a secluded island? Our Kabakon Survivor experience is three days on the uninhabited garden isle of the neighbouring Karawara Islanders, in Papua New Guinea. You hunt, fish, forage and trade. You work. You play. It's back to basics, in paradise. How would you go? —————————————————- #oexfieldnotes
“It’s about commitment to a vision and making the personal experiences of your guests the main priority.”
Who is your experiential travel hero and why? (This could be someone famous or completely unknown!)
Alby Mangels. Why? Because he’s a legend. He started out just bringing a movie camera along on his adventures, and turned it into a 20-year odyssey. He always had his dog with him and gorgeous travelling companions. Look up World Safari: in the ’80s, every guy wanted to be him, and every girl wanted to travel with him. His best attribute was spontaneity, which I have always tried to keep in mind with work and play.
Want to join the maverickhood? Applications open in June – why not check out the PURE Awards categories so you’re ready to tell us how you’re Changing Worlds in 2018?