This isn’t a story about surfing. It isn’t a story about nature. It isn’t a story about tourists and the fine lines we walk in either helping – or hindering – the destinations to which we venture.
It isn’t even a story about twin brothers who grew up loving the surf, but thinking there was still something more to life. It’s all of this and more bundled up together, and it’s called The Fresh Air Project.
Ben and Rory Gollow are West Australian twins born on a diet of long, salty summers and weekends out chasing waves. From Perth to Dunsborough the two would drift, growing up in the sand and sea.
As surfers, in their quest for the ultimate experience, they often become great adventurers on land as well as on water, heading to some of the most remote and rugged wildernesses on the planet. It was through those adventures that the brothers began to realise the impact travellers could have on a destination. Everyone goes looking for their slice of paradise, but when they arrive are they supporting the local community, or a foreign bank account that controls the majority of it? What legacy do they leave for the locals once bags are packed and boarding passes issued?
And from this philosophy, The Fresh Air Project was born.
The Gollows realised that as travelling surfers with a love of nature and respect for locals, there was a role they could play in helping to sustain local environments and their communities. They could begin to bring like-minded adventurers to these exotic locations, and immerse them in the authentic culture. They could facilitate an exchange whereby the locals directly benefitted from the visitors’ economic impact, and the visitors began to learn and appreciate the local culture and how the people really lived.
Since launching in 2013 they’ve run 8 trips through Indonesia, Sri Lanka and India. It’s become a platform that’s kind of exploded into something way, way bigger. It’s become a community of like minded water people who are globally active and socially conscious. This is our tribe: