Spirit Magazine - June 2014 - (Page 20)

Rapid Rewards Freedom Story Andrew Skurka + PRO FE S S I O N A L B AC KPAC KER , D EN V ER FAR TREK Andrew logs lots of miles both on foot and inflight. 20 SPIRIT JUNE 2014 Personal skills and passion have translated into a profession for megahiker Andrew Skurka, making for the consummate Southwest Airlines Freedom Story. Andrew, National Geographic's Adventurer of the Year in 2007, has deliberately tested his physical endurance and wilderness skills on long-distance, solo backpacking trips. The author of The Ultimate Hiker's Gear Guide, he also offers guided backpacking courses across the country in places like New Hampshire's White Mountains and California's High Sierra. He typically leads about 15 trips each year. For the past decade, Southwest flights have enabled Andrew to share his experiences through presentations at universities, outdoor retailers, organizations like the Boy Scouts of America and the Appalachian Mountain Club, and corporations like Google and Microsoft. "I never imagined that I would make a career of this," he says. "Traveling 150 days per year isn't easy, but I wouldn't want it any other way." After he moved to Colorado in 2003, the opportunity to develop his unique profession emerged in tandem with Southwest's expansion in Denver. "As my travel schedule grew, so did the number of destinations and flights," Andrew says. In 2010, his most recent solo expedition took him 4,700 miles across Alaska and the Yukon, where he skied, hiked, and crossed bodies of water with a four-pound, inflatable packraft. He spent the next two years giving 112 presentations, traveling to the majority of them via Southwest. Since the airline doesn't charge change fees, Andrew appreciates that booking flights comes with "an implicit insurance policy." And although he travels ultralight when backpacking, Andrew says being able to check two bags for free is a big perk of flying Southwest. He also appreciates the personal touches, like getting a card from the airline on Valentine's Day with free drink coupons tucked inside. "I feel like Southwest really LUVs me!" We certainly do, Andrew. Your story inspires all of us to be explorers-in both life and the world around us. Rest assured: Southwest stands ready to be part of your next big adventure. -Monica Van Slate PHOTOGRAPHY BY WILLIE PETERSEN

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Spirit Magazine - June 2014

Spirit Magazine - June 2014
Contents
Set your sights on Atlanta
Gary’s Greeting
Gary’s Greeting en Español
Star of the Month
Freedom Story
From the Editor
Your Words
Your Pictures
Eat Drink Sleep
Create a stir with Sriracha
Try a Midwest take on crab cakes
Wise Guide
Spice up small talk
Learn about a little bird
Numbers
Business
Hop over hurdles
Ask for expert opinions
Size up adjustableheight desks
Follow Your Nose
Scents & Sensibility
Your Adventure In Galveston
Promotional Series: Spirit of Music City
Calendar
Craft a critter at a snail’s pace
Fun!
Spotlight
Community Outreach
Products & Services
Flight Service
Terminal Maps
Information
Rapid Rewards and A+ Rewards Partners
Route Map
The “If” List
Get to know Gabrielle Union

Spirit Magazine - June 2014

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