I’m excited to have award-winning filmmaker Jonathan Ronzio of Explore Inspired answer our Five Travel Questions! In 2011, Jonathan began working on a project, Between the Peaks, which documented his journey of climbing and volunteering through the Americas. Find out what’s top of his bucket list and more!
Why do you love travel?
It’s simple. Travel creates opportunities. For learning, for seeing, for doing, for anything and everything. Travel open doors and makes you a better person through instilling a greater understanding and appreciation of the world, as well as testing your character, judgment, problem-solving skills, and much much more along the way. Within adventure travel specifically, there is an infectious drive to continue pushing your own limits and learning through travel that often time leads to the most remarkable revelations about self and society, the world, and your place in it. These types of lessons cannot be obtained by simply sitting home and watching The Travel Channel. I’ve been to 24 countries so far, having backpacked and climbed through 4 continents, and I’m not stopping anytime soon. Travel is the best drug in the world!
What destination is top of your bucket list?
Sitting right at the top of my bucket list at the moment is Alaska. And the reason? Mt. McKinley – also known as Denali. I’ve had my sights set on climbing and snowboarding that epic mountain for almost 5 years now. My friends and I were supposed to get there a couple years back when we embarked on our Between The Peaks expedition.
The idea behind Between The Peaks was to climb the tallest mountain in South America, then volunteer in every country we passed through while traveling north from Argentina, and to finish the trip by climbing the tallest mountain in North America – Denali. We did climb Mt. Aconcagua in South America, and we volunteered in every country from Argentina to Mexico, but there, we ran out of money. We put the rest of the trip on hold and decided to edit and release what we had up to that point as it’s own movie. Between The Peaks won Best Documentary Feature at Mammoth’s Mountain Film Festival, and now here I am, planning the next phase of the journey and thinking about when I’ll touchdown on Denali’s Kahiltna Glacier!
Where is your most favorite place you have travelled to? (and why).
My favorite place I’ve been so far has to be New Zealand. At 20 years old, I lived there for 5 months and experienced the Land of the Long White Cloud in all its glory. New Zealand is really the place that taught me about adventure, gave me confidence in my pursuits, assurance in my independence, and really, changed the course of my future. From surfing Dunedin’s Otago Peninsula, and heli-skiing in Methven, to sea-kaying the Milford Sound, and hitch-hiking across the South Island, this place set me free.
What is your most favorite memory or experience whilst traveling?
My most incredible travel experience has to be buying a truck in Chile with two of my closest friends, and for a month and a half getting lost and finding our way throughout the Andes and the Atacama Desert. We met the most amazing people, saw the most breath-taking sites, learned to catch gut and fillet our own fish, slept multiple roadside nights in the dirt along the Pan-American highway, and got stranded on a border-town beach for two weeks before having to sell the truck. The things you can’t plan for are what make the adventure!
What is your favorite photo from your travels?
By far, my favorite photo from my travels is the one I took at just around 21,000 feet (or 6,400 meters) on Mt. Aconcagua in Argentina. We were maybe 3 or 4 hours into our summit push at this point of the climb, and had been steadily ascending in the dark, until the sun started to break upon us. The rays came just over the ridge line and the light was golden with a sea of clouds below. This is always my favorite moment in the mountains – when the sun rises above the clouds. This time it was especially beautiful.