Just the Numbers

Sometimes you pay attention to the details. Other times, it’s all about the big picture. Today, I’m looking at the big picture, and throwing out some crazy numbers.


The mode rating of programs I’ve directed. With a “rank this trip out of 100” criteria, it’s safe to say I’m known for surpassing expectations.


I have led and directed travel programs for over 290 teens and parents. That’s more people than a fully packed New York City subway car (the A car holds 240 people, the B car holds 246 people).


I have trained over 640 volunteers, leaders and summer employees. That’s just shy of two full 3 class Boeing 747s (a 3 class 747 holds around 350-400 people depending on the amount of leg room the airline offers).


In the last three summers, I have traveled over 12,190 miles through the US and Canada. That’s distance is more than 5 times the shortest cross-country road trip from Jacksonville to San Diego. Oh, I’ve also visited 39 states and 7 provinces.


Off to Cancun tomorrow!



Defying Gravity

Yup, those two rubber shoes pointing straight up into the air are mine.

This is the Snake River in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Our guide called this flip “the perfect maneuver.” We were paddling at just the right velocity. The weight in our raft was perfectly distributed. We hit the rapid at just the right angle. The nose dipped and rebounded just as a gust of wind picked it up, and carried the raft vertically straight into the air. We did a 360° vertical flip.

Needless to say, the whole raft was dumped and given the thrill of riding through Lunch Counter. If you thought body surfing was intense, give this a go. A pure adrenalin rush through chilly waters.

This story is remembered two days before I take on the Pacuare River. An 18 miles rafting trip through 52 rapids in the pristine Costa Rican rainforest.

All I have to say it bring it! Off to Costa Rica tomorrow.

Pura vida,


P.S. – You can follow my facial expressions. I was in the front of the boat, on the left hand side.


The Certainties… Death, Taxes & Bandanas

My first summer as a Director, I threw a bandana in my knapsack. I wore that yellow bandana for 28 days straight. You associate Groucho Marx with a cigar, John Wayne with a fist … and me with a paisley headband. That was also the summer I started photobombing, but that’s a story for another day.

Since then, the headband has become a staple of my travels. “AmVoy #2” was the black bandana with the number 2 on the front.

“XR19” was the camo bandana with the vertical American flag to the right. That was also the summer I attempted to change a bus battery, but again, another story for another day.

How do you know there is a trip in my future – a turquoise bandana has appear in my office! Trip “PV1,” hope you’re ready for Costa Rica… #dontstoptheparty! Chuck, the rubber chicken, is ready too. 


Pura vida,


It Just Keeps Growing

Since launching this site a few days ago, I’ve found it interesting to analyze the visitor data (shout out to the user in Montreal reading my testimonials now and whomever is in California filling out the contact form). Tracking this data has turned me into big brother!

The little dots on the geographic map are everywhere – visitors from 17 states, 6 countries and 5 continents have checked out jaredfinegold.com – that’s crazy… especially since I don’t really have too many friends, or any of that matter, in Alaska or South Korea. Google has started indexing the site and apparently I’m pulling traffic from there.


With the average visitor spending 8 minutes and 10 seconds on my site (yes, I’ve blocked my IP address to not skew statistics) I’m pretty excited to see my content is engaging and find it interesting that the testimonial page is drawing the most page views.

Traffic Graph

As much as I’m more a creative person, the numbers get me excited. For the last few months, I’ve been watching the daily traffic on the Westcoast Connection / 360° Student Travel site. More unique visitors, more pageviews,  more pages per visit, a longer visitor duration – green numbers along side up arrows makes me smile!

To sum this all up, thanks for visiting my site! The next new addition is coming soon.


I Like to “KISS”

As in Keep It Simple. Others may prefer the expression less is more, but that post title isn’t nearly as catchy.

Either way, I designed and sent out an email blast last week. Three different versions, two with a ton of copy. One with less than 50 words of text and one big photo. The sample size was too small to yield entirely conclusive results but as of today, blast “short, sweet and to the point” had the highest open rate and generated the most clicks. Next variable to isolate is the subject line. If only SPAM filters didn’t make it so difficult!

Happy Monday,


Day 1 Blogging, Day 2 Training …

For the Super Spartan but we will save that topic for another day!

The first version of this website was created in 2008. It’s great to see, after 5 years, it updated entirely with new content and a fresh look. Maybe the inspiration came from launching a 300+ page website for my company a few weeks ago. Maybe it came from the Art Basel creativity in the South Florida air (pictures from this weekend below). All that matters it’s up and running!

Enjoy, and feel free to send any feedback my way.