We are a Gen X couple sharing their stories of amazing adventures and transformational experiences through activity driven travel.....Ask Me Anything!

Coleman Concierge
Jun 4, 2018

Hi!  We are Jenn and Ed Coleman and we are CEO's, Co-founders and Content Creators for Coleman Concierge. Coleman Concierge is a travel and adventure blog featuring tips, advice, stories, and photography to inspire everyone to expand their comfort zone and explore the world around them.

The primary thing that separates me (Jenn) from other bloggers is my first-hand experience in the travel and hospitality industry. I have over 20 years of resort and spa experience, including being part of the opening team and Spa Lead/ brand standards Learning Coach with Ritz-Carlton Dove Mountain and a Concierge at Hilton Torry Pines. I have also worked in a professional context in the adventure travel industry. I taught skiing and pro-patrolled at many of the premier mountains in the western US for 20 years. I guided white water rafting for 7 years, developed ropes courses, and worked as a rope course facilitator. 

Ed is a physicist in aerospace by day, crazy adventurist by night. He drives the tech train for our site and applies his industry knowledge to build, not just another blog, but a detailed content management system.

Ask me anything about any of the above, blogging, or building an Instagram audience. We promise we will answer to the best of our ability :-) 

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Do you think your travels strengthen your relationship as a couple?
Jun 11, 3:12PM EDT0

Absolutely. It's one of the core principles that our relationship is built on. Traveling increases our neural elasticity, which is very important for relationships. That allows us to roll with the punches more when things don't go as planned and to grow together with new experiences.

Traveling together helps us establish boundaries and communication. For instance, on multi-week trips, we make a point to schedule some alone time so we can collect our thoughts and re-center.

Jun 11, 5:02PM EDT0
Would you rather check into a luxury hotel or resort or go backbacking in the wild?
Jun 11, 1:37PM EDT0

How about glamping so we can be in the wild but still sleep in a great bed? Our preferred method is to go beat ourselves up for a couple of days in the wild and then check into someplace luxurious to recover (hopefully with a hot tub and spa).

Jun 11, 4:57PM EDT0
Where's your dream destination as a couple - one place you've never been to?
Jun 11, 10:44AM EDT0

Only pick one? That's not fair - lol.

Going up to see Polar Bears in the wild (looking at you Manitoba) is way up there. Galapagos/Africa/Madagascar for animal viewing too. (notice a trend yet?) Again with animal viewing under the sea, there is Philippines (lots of other adventure travel there too) and Maldives (ideally in an over-water bungalow). Taking a multi-day jungle cruise in Amazon basin. Hiking in northern Norway and adventure travel in Switzerland. There are just too many places to choose only one. We want to do them all. 

Jun 11, 4:55PM EDT0
Do you always agree with each other on where to go next? Who makes the final decision?
Jun 11, 12:35AM EDT0

We don't always agree on anything, except the process of how to make decisions. Before we start any potentially contentious discussion, we choose the process/method we will use to make that decision. Then, if we can't reach an agreement, we just choose the answer that falls out from the process.

We have learned something really important. It's often better to take turns on who makes choices than to always compromise. That way, everybody gets what they want some of the time.

This all said we are extremely compatible travelers and that is one of the things we love about each other. Recently, we have been weighing marketability and partnerships heavily in the factor space so a lot of these decisions are remarkably easy and data-driven. 

Jun 11, 4:48PM EDT0
Do you have any adventure traveling planned for the summer?
Jun 8, 2:07AM EDT0

Ed's going to Detroit for Father's Day, does that count? Seriously though, we have six dives and a whole lot of eco tours planned for Fort Lauderdale over the 4th of July. We are working on a Key West trip for Diving/biking/kayaking/sailing for the end of July and Panama City for August. We might not be leaving Florida, but we're having a lot of fun.

Jun 8, 6:21PM EDT0
Where did you work as a water rafter guide? What was that experience like?
Jun 7, 10:26PM EDT0

I guided every commercial river in Washington State for seven seasons. Honestly, it was beautiful and terrifying at the time.

I am not a natural water baby by any stretch of the imagination. It took me an entire season of sweeping on an inflatable kayak on the on all the rivers we ran before I felt comfortable to guide guests. One time, on my birthday no less, I got sucked into a keeper hole on the Nooksack (a hydraulic that pulls you under instead of ejecting you) and I somehow managed to get out. Another time, I had a boat full of alpha males that refused to surrender their firearms, so I pulled the raft over and refused to continue guiding them. Usually, I could eject the alpha males off the boat by hitting a rock just right, and that gets them listening to my paddle commands.

At the same time, it was absolutely wonderful. I met some great people and ran some beautiful rivers. My favorite was the Skagit during the winter where we would see bald eagles fishing for salmon during the entire trip.

Jun 8, 6:17PM EDT0
What are some challenges awaiting The Coleman Concierge this year?
Jun 7, 6:28AM EDT0

We are really getting into diving here in Florida and are looking to add some cool dive map software to the site. That is probably happening in a couple of weeks so it's very fresh in our minds.

This summer we are traveling locally in Florida and working with a lot of area CVBs. September is almost all booked with conferences and October we are going to Tennesee / Georgia / Virginia for a some mountain adventures.

Business wise, we are focusing on growing site traffic and starting to monitize.

Jun 7, 8:33PM EDT0
What did you enjoy the most about your experience as a rope course facilitator?
Jun 7, 5:11AM EDT0

I really enjoyed watching kids grow before my eyes. Some girls just got it. Others would never get it. The fun ones started out afraid, but figured it out and felt so proud of themselves. They didn't even need to reach the top, just overcome some obsticle and push it further than they thought they could.

Jun 7, 8:26PM EDT0
What are some of the must-do adventures that you believe one should do in life at least one?
Jun 5, 10:35PM EDT0

Everybody should go to the Grand Canyon and Redwoods/Sequoias at least once in their life. People should dangle from a rope with 1000' of air below them, breath underwater, and sail through the air just to know it's possible. They should carry everything they need to survive into the woods and live in the wild for at least a week. They should immerse in a foreign land where they don't know the language (or alphabet, or religion) and learn to make friends and communicate with smiles and pantomime. At least once, you should be in the jungle as night falls and hear the darkness come alive around you. They should sleep out in the desert and see just how many stars there really is in the sky. You should have at least one campfire conversation with a friend where you can lay your soul bare.

Jun 6, 7:05AM EDT0
Does your aerospace experience help you in anyway in your new business? Has it given you a different prespective on life?
Jun 5, 10:15PM EDT0

I am a physicist, which is slightly different than an engineer and the nuances are important. Physics is a study of the art of the possible and training for mental agility. For example, quantum mechanics was the hardest class I ever took, and it never did make any sense. We spent an entire year learning to solve the eigenvalues of the wave equation. This exotic math was used to describe a single hydrogen atom. Helium would have been way too hard.

It was esoteric, challenging, and taught me not to be afraid of any problem. I can boldly go where I don't have a clue into the depths of the backend of Wordpress or the mystical realm of social media algorithms and SEO. I am very comfortable picking up new ideas and fumbling through them like a blindfolded Neaderthal. They still make more sense than quantum mechanics.

Apart from the mindset and problem solving, there are a whole host of soft skills that are applicable from aerospace and engineering to blogging and business. I manage a multimillion-dollar schedule with a lot of external dependencies and minimal slack. Our blog business plans look simplistic by comparison. I am often asked to speak in public at work which gave me the confidence to walk up cold and address the entire audience at WITS Quebec about our blog.

Professionalism, business acumen, confidence, and problem-solving are essential skills that transfer to any endeavor. I also understand the viewpoint of the average traveler. The majority of people can't take months off to slow travel, eating street food and bouncing from hostel to hostel. I understand that viewpoint and can help them optimize their vacations.

Jun 6, 6:52AM EDT0
What is an adventure that you feel contains too much risk and you'd never take?
Jun 5, 7:41AM EDT0

For Jenn, it's paragliding. On our first trip out, there was an accident, and the assistant instructor ended up dying in her arms. Technically, he was medevaced to the hospital he was working at and died in his fiance's care, but his subdermal hematoma was pretty far along before the helicopter had arrived. Ed will still go so don't know what that says about him.

We actually do a lot of crazy stuff we don't write about because we are trying to stay on brand for "Amazing Adventures for Ordinary People". On our extreme trips, we are confronted with real consequences on a regular basis. There is any number of times we choose to put in extra protection, back up an anchor, rig a climb, walk around a biking obstacle, or find an alternate route. We are always considering the risk/reward curve and don't mind erroring on the side of caution. You know the old saying - there are old sailors, and there are bold sailors, but there are no old and bold sailors.

Jun 5, 7:44PM EDT0
Do you consider yourself adrenaline seekers?
Jun 5, 7:04AM EDT0

Maybe, sometimes. There was a time when the rush of pure adrenaline was seductive and addictive. Rapping off a big slab, hammering moguls, barreling downhill on a mountain bike. We've done all of that and more and enjoyed the heck out of it. We still like a good rollercoaster too, but there we found another level.

Instead of losing our minds, we like to expand them. We feel the rush (and fear) build and keep control and focus. We wrote about the adventure Zen on a particularly fun and inspirational canyoneering trip in Zion NP. To quote the piece... "According to the Random House Dictionary Zen is “…a Mahayana movement, introduced into China in the 6th century and into Japan in the 12th century, that emphasizes enlightenment for the student by the most direct possible means.”

The most direct means possible… Life becomes very simple when you are in a slot canyon. Your choices are up or down, forward or back. Sometimes, once you start, your only option is to keep going. That is about as simple as it gets."

There is an adrenaline aspect for sure, but it's the Zen part that really inspires us.

Jun 5, 7:30PM EDT0
How can businesses benefit with a partnership with Coleman Concierge?
Jun 5, 5:13AM EDT0

First off, exposure. We have decent reach for adult professional adventure travel. Research shows that people visit about 38 sites before booking a trip. Engaging stories and photography helps build brand recognition and guide customers down the sales funnel. 

Secondly, we provide a more indepth, authentic,  and personal recommendation than a paid advertisement. We are real people having real adventures. We strive to be that cool couple you'd meet at a coffee shop with stories to tell. Readers are connecting with real people and not polished ads.

Thirdly - we provide high quality content with an interlocking content management system that works as a legitimate information and inspiration source for a region. Travellers can browse several articles and really visualize themselves on a particular trip or experience. In many ways, we are building and hosting a destination website.

Jun 5, 7:15PM EDT0
If a couple is considering some adventure travel destinations outside the US for their honeymoon, which ones would you recommend and why?
Jun 4, 10:37PM EDT0

There are some tough choices but here are some of our favrorites destinations:

Costa Rica has awesome adrinaline adventures.

Belize has amazing caves, oceans, and Mayan culture.

Thailand is exotic and one of the happiest places on Earth.

Sri Lanka because it's so foreign and wild elephants.

However, for our honeymoon we went with an all inclusive resort on Nassau Bahamas that had adventures sports as part of the package. We figured it combined the luxury and romance we were looking for in a honeymoon with a good dose of adventure. We learned to dive and SUP there plus did some sailing and snorkling as well.

As a side note, our family rebelled against our wedding plans elsewhere so we were able to use the free wedding services at the resort. We saved a ton of money and stress doing it that way and gave our wedding party a great vacation to boot. It was so stress free that Jenn had a tremenous smile on our wedding day and I went out with all of the groomsmen for a pre-wedding snorkle trip. 

Jun 5, 7:01PM EDT0
Do you remember the first trip you took together? Where did you go?
Jun 4, 4:56PM EDT0

Our first trip we took together was a multi-day hike/camping trip to Havasu Falls Arizona. We actually wrote about it and our early courtship in one of our 1st posts: www.colemanconcierge.com/jumping-in/

PS. Don't judge us by our 1st Pinterest pins either at the bottom either.....LOL

Jun 4, 5:03PM EDT0
What tips can you give a family taking their first cruise ever?
Jun 4, 11:54AM EDT0

Truth be told, we have only taken one cruise, but that said or thought about before embarking on the high seas.

1. Make sure that you know what type of trip you're looking for before choosing your cruise ship. If traveling with the family, I have heard fantastic things about the Disney cruises. We took a cruise on Carnival Cruise which as it turned out is the party booze cruise which is not our vibe.

2. Speaking of booze, it is quite expensive on cruise ships. If you are planning on drinking, I would purchase the unlimited drink package and have fun without worrying, or find out the amount of alcohol you can bring for personal purposes. On Carnival it was one bottle of wine per person, so be sure to check on this if you do plan on enjoying adult beverages.

3. Bring something for seasickness...just in case. Neither one of us to get seasick, so we did not expect to have it happen on a giant ship, but it did.

4. You will be spending a lot of time on the boat, so plan accordingly. Keep abreast of daily activities and take advantage.

5. Bring hand sanitizer. Trust us on this one ;-)

6. Enjoy your time away. Wi-Fi is available, but quite slow and spotty, even on the most expensive plan. Not worth the money unless you absolutely have to be connected. If that is the case, be patient.

7. Investigate the excursions and get off the boat. It is so great to get off the ship and explore the ports of call. That said, we found the same excursions for much less by not booking through the cruise line and just taking a cab once off the ship. That said if you do go that way ensure you have a minimum 90 min. buffer to get there and to get back. You would not want to miss your tour, or worse yet your ship! Booking through the ship does give you the peace of mind of not having to think, which could be good when little ones are a factor.

8. You will have a new cruise family, take advantage! It will be more fun for you and the kids to make some new friends :-)

Jun 4, 12:32PM EDT0
What is it like working with your husband? What are the perks and downfalls?
Jun 2, 8:02PM EDT0

The good side is that I can spend more time with my husband. The bad side is that I have to spend more time with my husband.  LOL.

Seriously though, it's great having a shared dream and activity. We never run out of things to talk about, and it helps align our life goals and plans. We work great together and have a lot of different skills that we bring to the table.

On the bad side, we each are passionate about the business, and sometimes we disagree on strategic plans. Also, there was a part of Tim Ferris' podcast about having multiple pillars of happiness to ground your life. This concept is a problem with us both blogging together. Having so much invested in the blog for each of us means that good blog days are great, but lousy blog days bum us out. We each share the same bad days at the office.

Jun 3, 4:39PM EDT0
What has been the greatest advice you have ever received in relation to travelling?
Jun 2, 11:08AM EDT0

We'll each take a crack at this one.

Jenn - The best advice I received traveling is to make sure that you do your homework. Plan your money, vaccinations, insurance, transportation, can't miss places, etc., but make sure you leave room in the schedule for spontaneity. 

Ed -The best advice I have received is to travel as you live. If you love museums and sidewalk cafes at home, seek them out on vacation. If you love activity and adventure, seek that out. You are who you are. Own it and look to enhance it with travel.

Jun 3, 4:12PM EDT0
What things inspire you to write? What writing rituals do you have, and where is your favorite place to write?
Jun 1, 10:11AM EDT0

I really need to write in the mornings before my head gets all full of stuff. I usually think about the story the night before. When I wake up, I sit with a vanilla latte in my easy chair and start typing away. Once the bones are in, Jenn and I switch back and forth cleaning it up and adding key words.

Jun 3, 4:08PM EDT0
What has been the most fabulous destination you have ever visited and what was it about this destination that left you in awe?
Jun 1, 7:26AM EDT0

Fabulous, that's a fun word. I am thinking luxury and resort when I hear that. Towards that end, we'll say Nassau Bahamas for  a couple of reasons. First, we went there for our destination wedding / honeymoon at an all inclusive resort so there were good feelings all around and our wedding dinner was off the charts. It was also the first place we went scuba diving and that opened a whole new world to us.

Jun 1, 8:41AM EDT0
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