We had the good fortune of connecting with Jack Witt and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jack, what do you think makes you most happy? Why?
For me it’s always been experiences that make me happy. Studies show that material possessions don’t really make people nearly as happy as positive experiences. Like-minded people to share experiences with is key. It’s what drives me to providing hand-crafted small group travel experiences with Active World Journeys. I’ve had opportunities to make more money in jobs/industries that for me wouldn’t give me as much fulfillment or purpose, and since both of those factors are closely correlated to the measure of happiness, I’ve always decided to stay the course with providing people these programs that I believe in wholeheartedly.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
About five years ago some of my fitness clients starting asking me to organize some nature walks and day hikes around the USA, mostly in State and National Parks. The next thing I know I was hosting small group adventures in other countries. It quickly caught on as my original core group of travelers started inviting other family members, co-workers and neighbors. As I’m writing this, things have slowed down due to the pandemic and I’ve had time to look back and reflect on all of our wonderful adventures in Costa Rica, Peru (Inca Trail), the Holy Land (Israel/Jordan), Spain (The Camino de Santiago), Cuba, Egypt, England (Hadrian’s Wall Walk), and most recently Patagonia, Chile. I really do have to pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming, because 6 years ago this wasn’t in my business model. But I listened to what my most trusted clients and friends wanted to do, and went with it 100%. And I ended up loving it! International travel will come back at some point and I’m looking forward to providing enriching itineraries to many more interesting and dynamic places. For the rest of this year I’m keeping things here in the USA. With an effort to help our American economy bounce back, I’ll be hosting some small group active tours such as a Lodge-to-Lodge Trek on the Appalachian Trail in Shenandoah National Park, a Yellowstone and Grand Tetons National Parks Adventure and Hiking and Wine Tasting in the Finger Lakes region.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Los Angeles is such an exciting city to live in. I’ve been here 15 years and I still haven’t seen it all! Some places that I find most interesting are WATTS Towers (there’s nothing really like it anywhere in the USA), the old Grand Movie Palaces downtown on Broadway (open to the public on select dates throughout the year), and Union Station and Angels Flight (featured in so many movies since the 1930’s and so quintessential LA). For a bite to eat the Grand Central Market is always exciting and offers a wide selection of foods and drinks to choose from. I also enjoy watching the lights come on at twilight over the San Fernando Valley from up on Mulholland Drive.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My story would not have gotten past the first chapter without the incredible encouragement and support of my clients and friends. Being in such one-on-one type of industries (fitness training and hosting small group adventures), most clients become friends and vice versa. There were (and probably still will be) times when all the effort didn’t seem like it was worth it, or I let fear get in the way of my purpose – but my clients/friends always create a proverbial light for me to head towards and keep pushing on.