613 Seconds with Ari Gunzburg

Please tell us a little about yourself:

Wow, I wouldn’t even know where to start! I’m a Wilderness Liaison, helping people get into nature. I’m also a motivational speaker, podcaster, author of an award-winning book, coach, and entrepreneur.

How did you get into the wilderness business?

From a very young age, I used to run around and play in the woods behind my house with my BFF, and I suspect my love for all things wilderness began then. And then after 9th grade I had an amazing opportunity to go on a Yancheini trip, which was basically a kosher Outward Bound Trip. We did a primitive sailing trip off the coast of Maine. Ever since that trip, I’ve wanted to give the gift of the great outdoors to other people.

What certifications do you have to keep people safe out there?

After the trip in Maine, I wanted to get my Wilderness First Responder (WFR), but for many reasons it never happened. In 2018, I finally took the plunge and got certified, and now I just renewed my certification in 2022. I’m currently working on learning additional skills and getting other certifications. 

Something to remember is that my goal is not to be a wilderness guide, but to be a liaison. So on any trip, while I am ready and willing to use my WFR, I work with guides who specialize in whatever terrain we are tackling. The best guide you can have with you is someone who knows and loves the terrain with years of experience; these are the people I like to have with us on trips. 

Did you say before you wrote a book? What’s that about?

I did say that. I wrote a book called The Little Book Of Greatness, which is a parable that tells over the life framework I developed, called The 5 Keys To Greatness. It’s a short read, has won a few awards, and a Rav of mine in Cleveland wants me to adapt it for the frum market. That’s not to say there is anything bad in there – there isn’t – but some may feel uncomfortable with the portrayal of men speaking to women and vice versa. I can also include more Torah in the book once it is adapted specifically for the frum market.

What kind of coaching do you do?

The coaching part of my business is still a little young. I’m currently developing programs that integrate my love of nature and desire to be outdoors with break-through executive coaching, so that I can use the wilderness to empower high achievers to scale up and break through any barriers holding them back.

Kurt Hahn, the founder of Outward Bound, said, “There is more to us than we know. If we could be made to see it; perhaps, for the rest of our lives we will be unwilling to settle for less.” It is my goal to bring this mantra to my coaching and outdoor programs so that anyone I work with is unwilling to settle for less. 

What kind of wilderness trips do you run?

I love it all. It’s actually kind of a problem because the sky’s the limit and sometimes I don’t know where to start. Some of the trips I’ve done in the past include backpacking in Yosemite, winter mountaineering and ice climbing in Colorado, camping, white water rafting, caving, climbing, river kayaking, paddle boarding, and more. I want to climb Kilimanjaro and many other epic experiences as well.

Wow! Quite the experiences. Tell us about your camp last year.

It kind of popped up last minute. And I plan to do at least one or two sessions this year as well. It was an epic experience (that’s why I call it Epic Camp) with an action packed time that includes white water rafting, caving, hiking, kayaking, flying, and much much more. I’m hoping to do SCUBA with at least one group if it works out. Basically we go outdoors and have epic adventures together.

You should do this for adults!

I actually do! In Spring 2022 I’m doing a men’s trip that is only a short drive from Baltimore, with 3 nights at a hotel and delicious prepared kosher food. It includes white water rafting, skeet shooting, caving, axe throwing, and an escape room. And, if you can’t get away for a long time, you can arrange to only miss two days of work, or you can take a full 4 day vacation by packing in activities on the first and last days.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

Thank you for the opportunity! Probably the main thing to know is that I do these outdoor programs through my brand JTreks; the website is jtreks.com. If you want to talk about my upcoming trip or plan a new trip, please call or text me at 410-262-7654.

P.S. want a cool car magnet that says Explore More? No purchase or commitment necessary. Call or text: 410-262-7654

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