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Meet Chris Baker of OneSeed Expeditions in Santa Fe Arts District

Today we’d like to introduce you to Chris Baker.

Chris, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
OneSeed Expeditions launched eight years ago with a simple goal: to use the power of travel to invest in entrepreneurs around the world.

At the time, I was living and working in rural Nepal. My background was in anthropology and I had always been drawn to the mountains. As I spent time hiking and doing research in the high Himalaya, I realized how powerful of a force adventure travel was in these remote regions. At the same time, I was working as a fellow with Kiva, a platform that provides capital for microloans around the world. The concept was simple: use adventure travel revenue to underwrite small business loans for entrepreneurs in rural Nepal.

When you travel with OneSeed, we take 10% of your total trip cost and loan those funds out to a small business owner. So when you decide to trek to Everest Base Camp or summit Kilimanjaro, you’re investing in the communities that make those places amazing.

We started small, imagining that we would just be a Nepal-based guiding outfitter, but we quickly realized that both the challenges and opportunities we identified in Nepal were present in so many other places around the world. Since launching eight years ago, we now operate 30+ expeditions in 7 countries and have loaned funds to more than 650 entrepreneurs around the world.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It’s never a smooth road!

Like all early-stage ventures, we had to be scrappy. We made tons of mistakes and we’ve learned a lot along the way.

One of the biggest challenges we faced occurred in 2015 when a massive earthquake struck Nepal. We had 16 trekkers in the mountains and worked day and night for a week to safely evacuate every single one of them.

When the dust settled, we realized that nearly 75% of our staff in Nepal had lost their homes in the destruction. Within a week, our past travelers had raised over $20,000 to help our guides recover and get back on their feet. It was a humbling experience that showed us the power of the community we’ve built.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about OneSeed Expeditions – what should we know?
First and foremost, we’re an adventure travel outfitter. Our team of 60+ local guides all around the world leads multi-day expeditions to places like Patagonia, Machu Picchu, and Kilimanjaro.

We’re known for pioneering a social enterprise model of adventure travel. This past year we were recognized for the work that we do when we received the Gold Award at the World Responsible Tourism Awards in London.

We’re proud of the work that we do as guides and as supporters of the communities where we work.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?

We work across so many regions, languages, and cultures. Without humility, we would get nothing done. Humility allows us to partner with local communities and learns how best to work within and support those places. We facilitate an exchange of ideas across continents and we try to demonstrate that humility in all that we do.

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