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Conde Nast Traveler
Boojum / KLM
PO Box 902
Central Post Office
Ulaan Baatar, Mongolia
Boojum Expeditions has its roots in Boojum Institute, founded in 1975 in San Diego by graduates of Prescott College. Boojum Institute was founded to address the need for experientially based outdoor and environmental education in schools and universities in Southern California.
In 1984, Kent Madin and Linda Svendsen, directors of Boojum Institute, had an opportunity to organize a group of friends to take the first group of tourists to visit the Wolong Panda Reserve (remember Pennies for Pandas?). While on that trip Kent and Linda realized how narrowly the Chinese government defined tourism, largely a matter of herding large groups from meals to museums to shopping to hotels. Kent and Linda plotted with their local guide, Lin Xue Biao, to bring groups to China for adventures: hiking, horseback riding, rafting, cycling.
Forming Boojum Expeditions, Kent and Linda organized the first horseback trek in Inner Mongolia working with the now archaic system of telex to communicate with Chinese officals in Beijing and Hohhot. During the next decade they pioneered trips on horse, foot, mountain bike and raft in China, Tibet, Xinjiang and Manchuria. In 1985, on the first Inner Mongolia ride, they were married in a traditional Buddhist ceremony.
During the next decade, Kent and Linda were among the handful of pioneering guides who developed whale watching and sea kayaking trips in Baja California, Mexico.
In 1993 a contingent of Mongolians (Outer Mongolia) visited Bozeman Montana on an exchange program organized by the US State Department. With their interest in Asia, Kent and Linda were invited to be part of the hosting team. From that meeting, Boojum's involvement in Mongolia began. Working via fax (pre-email) they organized a route for a trip to ride horseback to the home of the reindeer people in northern Khovsgol.
Sensing another opportunity, Kent and Linda sought out partners in Mongolia to establish a local tourism company and develop adventure tours by jeep, horseback, foot, camel and kayak. Starting with a first horseback trek in 1994, Boojum Expeditions now offers a full range of travel experiences in Mongolia, supported by Khovsgol Lodge Management Company, our subsidiary office in Ulaan Baatar founded in 1998. We have full time local staff in Ulaan Baatar capable or arranging and guiding any trip you can devise.
Along the way, we met good friends and partners in Martin Jones in Argentina and Valeria Ariza in Uruguay and incorporated riding trips into the winter calendar of Boojum Expeditions.
Our business plan over the years would make an MBA roll his eyes, but has worked for us. Follow your interests and your instincts, find local individuals who share your eagerness and vision for travel and develop trips which reflect your values. Keep the "adventure" in adventure travel and don't sugar coat things just to make a sale. We treat our clients with respect by telling them what they can expect from Boojum, and what Boojum expects from them. And never diminish the educational and bridge-building aspects of travel by treating it like a commodity. Most of all keep it fun and educational and Uncommon!