Alan Rider, a traveling dad, shares with TravelingMamas.com an inside look at his inspiring site, XTRORD.com and how it came to fruition. He and his wife of 16 years are the parents of Sky, a 10-year-old adventure lover like his dad. They reside in a really small town in northern California.
Have you taken your family with you on your travels?
I’ve been fortunate to be able to take both my wife and son on many of my work trips over the years. But Sky and I just had our first real father-son trip a couple of months ago — to an American Le Mans Series sports car race at the historic Laguna Seca Raceway near Monterey, CA.
Besides spending quality time with your son, what else made it memorable?
Going in I thought he’d be all excited to see (and hear) these million-dollar race cars up close, as he has a ton of toy versions. But when we got home and his mom asked him what his favorite part of the event was, Sky told her “We had ice cream bars at the race track!” Gotta love 10-year-olds!
How does your family feel when you travel solo?
I typically fly over 100,000 miles a year so we’re all kind of used to it. That said, I do try and minimize the impact by making my solo trips as short as possible — I’ve been known to fly across the country and back in 48 hours to do a story!
How do you make things easier when you are away?
Unless I’m in some remote jungle, I’m pretty fanatical about calling home twice a day to check in. I think it helps all of us feel more connected.
How did you come up with the idea of Xtrord.com? What is the purpose behind it?
As a former disc jockey and long-time travel writer and magazine editor, I’ve been fortunate to have had an awful lot of really cool adventures over the years. With that background, I eventually got tired of reading stories on the same old tired vacation destinations and activities. So I launched XTRORD.com, the world’s first guide to truly “extraordinary experiences.” Of course, there’s something deeper going on here too, namely the deeply-held belief I gained from a near-fatal motorcycle crash that life was meant to be lived to the fullest. And that’s the real purpose behind the website — to encourage and inspire people to go out and do all those things they’ve always wanted to do.
How do you define “extraordinary experiences”?
Good question. The experiences we feature run the gamut from unique to quirky to downright mind-blowing. We’re talking real once-in-a-lifetime adventures here, things it’s pretty much impossible to walk away from going “Yeah, I guess that was sorta okay…”
The definition of an “extraordinary experience” also has two other important aspects. First is “doability” — specifically, is this something an average person can do? The second is “affordability” — is this something someone of ordinary means could afford? The point here is that having a truly extraordinary experience is no longer limited to the supremely physically fit or the super-wealthy. There are tons of experiences on the website that your kids or your grandmother could do equally well. And even if it means you have to start a simple exercise program or save your pennies for a couple of years to make it happen, well, that seems like a small price to pay to live out your dreams.
Thanks, Alan, for sharing a little of your life with our readers. That’s what we’re all about at TravelingMamas.com: Inspiring You to Explore. If you have a unique experience to share with Alan, he can be reached at info at XTRORD.com.