This simple invitation, presented in a small ad in New Yorker magazine, launched a company borne from a passion for connecting people and places in ways that pushed the stock definition of travel. Since the appearance of that ad in 1985, co-founders Bill and Pam Bryan and their unique company, Off the Beaten Path, have been warm and welcoming friends to thousands of travelers, even as their travel territories expanded to include Alaska, the Pacific Northwest, the Desert Southwest, and Patagonia.
In those early days, Off the Beaten Path’s clients proved themselves an adventurous lot—even before they set out on a journey. The brochure was essentially a 20-page essay-and-invitation to discover Western places and people. There was no list of trips, no calendar, no maps, no prices. What Bill and Pam had to offer couldn’t be captured in vacation-travel lingo. They wanted to help travelers know the richness, diversity, and history of their own country by visiting rural communities before they disappeared, and they wanted clients to walk away from their journeys with an understanding of important Western issues like conservation, Native American culture, sustainability, and agriculture.
Given their connection to western mountains and rivers, ranchers and Indians, lodge owners and outfitters, back roads and towns—the Bryans were perfectly positioned to fulfill their goals. Through Off the Beaten Path, they could create the kind of unique, unexpected, and unhurried experience that had the potential to shift a traveler’s consciousness, and perhaps even change their life.
Off the Beaten Path would not be the high quality, inspiring travel company that it is today without the friends, family, clients, and business associates who have contributed in a variety of invaluable ways over the past twenty years. Everyone at OBP continues to believe in the company’s mission, and all are still convinced—now more than ever—that the journey is more important than the destination. That attitude has been passed down, without change or compromise, over twenty-one wonderful years.