On the evening of our third day in DC – it was time to experience the event that brought us there in the first place… The 2008 National Geographic ADVENTURE magazine’s Adventurer of the Year Celebration!
This is an annual event that honoring those in the world of adventure whose extraordinary achievements have expanded our sense of what is humanly possible. The best new products on the market that have made adventure sports safer and more fulfilling are also highlighted. The honorees are selected by ADVENTURE’s editors and their Retail Advisory Board.
The event was held right at National Geographic headquarters. We were greeted right away by some of the ADVENTURE staff, and taken to an area where a professional photo shoot of all the honorees was taking place. We were invited to join them few photos as well (I haven’t gotten copies these images yet, but when I do – I’ll post them). After a brief time chatting with some of the folks in the lobby, we were ushered in to the Grosvenor Auditorium for the Celebration.
The host was Boyd Matson, former anchor of National Geographic Explorer and host of Wild Chronicles on PBS. ADVENTURE’s editor-in-chief John Rasmus assisted in handing out awards as well. The evening consisted of some fun jokes, some jaw-dropping stories and some amazing video clips of the honorees.
The program was extremely inspiring. Russ and I decided it was rather embarrassing to complain about the cold DC weather – or how our feet hurt after sightseeing in town – after hearing what THESE folks did!
Immediately after the ceremony, it was time to get the party started! The packed lobby and dining area was really already rocking by the time we headed in. Someplace I heard there were over 400 in attendance. The evening’s theme had an African flair – as South African Airways was giving away a vacation to Africa as the Grand door prize.
For those of you who expected Russ and I to win trip to Africa… seriously? Do you really think we could be THAT lucky?
Around the parameter of the room were exhibits of some innovative outdoor travel gear. Some of the gear was also given away as door prizes at the end of the evening. There were delicious appetizers, good drinks, and some progressive-sounding world beat music. Out on the patio, some folks were even toasting marshmallows around fire pits!
Russ and I truly enjoyed mingling about, meeting the honorees. Some of them had just flown in for the event an hour before it started! I’m very glad I had enough sense to grab a freshly printed copy of the magazine and a pen. I had each honoree autograph the pages for me. It will be a treasured keepsake, because I can’t imagine where else we would ever again meet such people – who collectively share such spirit – all gathered at one time?
Russ had a bit of fun with Boyd Matson performing a bit of magic while I chatted with others. As we left, each guest was handled a “goody bag” (containing some great items like flashlights, winter cleats for shoes, a hiking headlamp, wool hiking socks – great stuff!).
As it turns out, all of the honorees were staying in the same hotel as we were. Once we left the event, the party just continued into the wee hours of the morning at the hotel bar – until it was closed and we were asked to leave! I think some of us could have partied all night…
However, we were invited to join everyone for our last morning in DC back at National Geographic for breakfast and a tour.
So… there’s just one more story left to this memorable trip…