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HomeGearIn search of Main Progress, REI Adventures Is Renamed ‘REI Experiences’

In search of Main Progress, REI Adventures Is Renamed ‘REI Experiences’


“Life is both a daring expertise or nothing in any respect.” — Helen Keller

“The phrase expertise has gotten overused. For me, when the whole lot goes fallacious—that’s when expertise begins.” — Yvon Chouinard

These well-known quotes don’t have fairly the identical ring if you substitute “journey” with “expertise,” do they?

This seems like a joke, nevertheless it isn’t: The journey division of Leisure Gear Inc. is altering its title from REI Adventures to REI Experiences as a result of it desires to develop to 3 million purchasers a yr and it fears folks will probably be intimidated and scared off by the phrase “journey.”

In an interview with Outdoors Enterprise Journal, Mark Seidl, the divisional vice chairman of REI Experiences, mentioned, “We discovered there have been lots of people who immediately don’t suppose ‘journey’ applies to them, even when they wish to expertise the outside. Folks hear ‘journey’ and suppose meaning summiting Everest or one thing like that, and that we’re not for them. We wish to supply out of doors experiences to everybody in any respect ranges, from transformational hikes in Sedona to summiting Mount Shasta, and ‘experiences’ conveys that.”

Sigh.

One of many nice indicators of progress for the out of doors tradition is {that a} skinny white dude on the highest of the mountain is not thought-about the epitome of journey. An epitome, maybe, however not the one one. Traditionally, the journey recreation tradition has not been welcoming to those that look completely different from the oldsters strolling the aisles at Out of doors Retailer or who strategy the outside in, say, a much less sweaty method. The truth that girls, folks of colour, and different non-white, non-cis people are underrepresented in out of doors manufacturers and their advertising and marketing is only one proof that rather more must be carried out.

However…expertise? Scrolling in your telephone is an expertise. Writing Stranger Issues fan fiction is an expertise. Sleeping is an expertise. 

Within the final 84 years, REI has grown tremendously by serving and catering to the out of doors journey life-style. Because it notes on its weblog, “It began with an ice axe.” In 2021, the model earned $3.7 billion in income, opened eight new shops, and added 1.4 million members. Journey is in its DNA, and it has launched the enjoyment of outside life to numerous 1000’s of individuals. Why wouldn’t it abandon an important component of its identification—simply to develop much more?

And it’s condescending, even insulting, to counsel that the tens of millions of individuals it’s not reaching now can’t deal with the concept of journey. That non-REI folks must be spoon-fed experiences and handled gently. Journey is aspirational, and anybody can have one on any given day. Folks simply should be inspired, supported, given the instruments, and proven the trail. They don’t want the trail paved.

Ah, effectively, what do I do know? REI will most likely kill it with this transfer, and possibly I’m making one thing out of nothing. There’s a purpose, in spite of everything, that REI CEO Eric Artz makes $4.5 million a yr and I don’t. There’s a purpose that REI grew 36 p.c in 2021 and Journey Journal has to beg for subscribers. Maybe REI sees “journey” as a gatekeeping phrase that must be eliminated. Maybe “expertise” is simply what the fashionable, Tiktok-y world desires. Maybe it’s time for the ice axe to get replaced by a selfie stick.

However once I stroll into an REI and take a look at backpacks or run my arms alongside the camp chairs, I’m not considering, hey, an expertise is so as. I’m considering, man, I haven’t camped in months. Or I’m gonna zip dwelling and journey my mountain bike. Or maps!—I wanna do the PCT! I’m desirous about journey, and journey is without doubt one of the biggest items of life. Nevertheless you outline it—chicken watching or large wave bodysurfing—journey gives novelty, problem, and pleasure. It could actually make you stronger, extra resilient, extra open-hearted. It could actually mould you into somebody new and higher and alter the route of your life in uncountable optimistic methods. And life, Helen Keller actually mentioned, “is both a daring journey or nothing in any respect.”


In case you’re questioning, we’re not altering our title to Expertise Journal.

Don’t but subscribe to AJ in print? In the present day’s the day to bust by way of the inertia. Print tales are solely obtainable in print—and to stay unbiased, we’d like extra subscribers. You’ll be able to join right here.

Nonetheless on the fence? Take a look at this unsolicited e-mail we acquired yesterday from Joe in Ohio: 

“A fast reminder that the journal you produce issues. Concern 25 could also be one of the best one but….no, severely. The duvet was enthralling instantly. Your intro introduced smiles and giggles and chills and affirmations and reminders of my very own childhood effectively lived. Every story, and I imply each story, was intriguing and created new aspirations. The images……..ooohhhh la la. Beautiful. Simply gorgeous. New recipes to attempt since I’m a vegetarian. And I’ve already inquired about changing into a raft information on the New and Gauley Rivers in WV. So, yeah. Your efforts to provide that type of publication issues. Please share along with your workers as we all know they take super satisfaction of their work as effectively.”

Subscribe as we speak, y’all.

 

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