We had the good fortune of connecting with John Palmer and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi John, what’s the most important lesson your business/career has taught you?
There are many opportunities that come around on the road of life.
Do something that has meaning and serves a greater purpose
Follow your passions
Believe in and invest in people
Be courageous and always strive to do the right thing
When we all work together for a common goal the results can be profound
Don’t stop in the middle of hard
‘I found myself in the middle of nowhere’
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
We have something special here at Deer Hill Expeditions.
We are a mission driven company where our mission is “to empower the individual to create authentic connection to self and community through wilderness and service experiences.”
Our programs last anywhere from 2 to 3 weeks, and most often consist of 3 elements: A multi-day river expedition, followed by a community service home-stay, and then a culminating overnight backpacking trip.
This programatic flow provides an ideal structure for the ‘authentic connection to self and community.’
While on an expedition, each participant will have the opportunity to overcome challenge, to see real beauty in nature, to gain some self awareness, and to genuinely care for those in their group. They will also learn what it feels like to be in service of others, and do this all in a rich and diverse community.
The main component that sets us apart from other expeditionary programs is that we conduct our community service home-stays with Navajo, Hopi, and Zuni families. Many of these families have been working with us for over 15-20 years. These working relationships focus on what each family or community needs and how we can best support them. While on these home-stays, we also learn about their culture, traditions, and hear stories over shared meals.
Our tag line is “Find yourself in the Middle of Nowhere” and our participants do just that, both literally and figuratively, which is needed now more than ever.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
We’re lucky to live in the four corners, where in any direction you choose to head there is great adventure to be had. Being that we’re an expedition company that focuses on getting people out into the backcountry and away from email and phone reception, I would take them on an overnight family river trip on the Colorado, Green, or San Juan Rivers. You can either ‘go light’ with a canoe trip or bring all the creature comforts of home with a fully rigged raft trip including plenty of good food and drink. After getting off the 3 night river trip, I’d head to The Farm Bistro to get a Colorado Mule, and a Baseball sirloin, or get Thai food in Cortez, and then head to either Fenceline Cider or the Brewery in Mancos to finish off the night
If my best friend wanted to keep charging, we’d go ride Phils World just on the east side of Cortez.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Like many, the thanks and gratitude started with my parents. They always let me follow my passions and opened many opportunities for me. The seed for where I am now was planted long ago at Nickerson State Park on Cape Cod. I spent nearly every summer there camping, exploring, and taking trips to the beach.
When I was a senior at Hawthorne Valley Waldorf School in Ghent NY, I completed my senior project for Zoar Outdoor, in Deerfield MA, working as a raft guide. This is where I realized that I could take my passions for the outdoors and turn them into a career.
At Brevard College in Brevard NC, I graduated with a degree in Wilderness Leadership and Experiential Education with a minor in Business. Dr. Jennifer Kafsky and Robert Dry were two very influential mentors and teachers in my time at Brevard who I still admire today.
Finally, I’d like to give a shoutout to the community here at Deer Hill Expeditions. I certainly would not be where I am today without this community and all that I’ve learned along the way.