Episode 5: Gorillas, Kilimanjaro, and breaking out of the bubble with passion + PB&J

Sam Richardson wakes up excited about life every day with a sense of adventure and wonder. Whether it's climbing Kilimanjaro or up the side of a volcano in search of Mountain Gorillas in Rwanda, studying in Ghana, or hiking or biking around his home in San Francisco, California and beyond, Sam believes in embracing life and living it to the fullest. After so many adventures around the world at such a young age, Sam has taken his love of life and adventure to start Sam's Adventure Snacks where he crafts PB & J's and inspires people to inspire one another by sharing their stories about Fitness, Adventure, and Nutrition.
Published: January 2, 2021
By: Metamo
Category: Podcasts

Sam Richardson wakes up excited about life every day with a sense of adventure and wonder. Whether it’s climbing Kilimanjaro or up the side of a volcano in search of Mountain Gorillas in Rwanda, studying in Ghana, or hiking or biking around his home in San Francisco, California and beyond, Sam believes in embracing life and living it to the fullest. After so many adventures around the world at such a young age, Sam has taken his love of life and adventure to start Sam’s Adventure Snacks where he crafts PB & J’s and inspires people to inspire one another by sharing their stories about Fitness, Adventure, and Nutrition. 

In the San Francisco Bay Area? Check out Sam’s snacks at https://www.samsadventuresnacks.com/

Learn more about Metamo: https://metamo.travel/subscribe/

Enquire about your next trip: https://metamo.travel/enquire/

Episode Transcript:

Bob Spoerl: Hey there, welcome to the Metamo podcast, where we explore with you and our guests travel topics that push the boundaries in celebration of the human experience. 

I’m your cohost Bob Spoerl here in Chicago. In today’s episode, we’re joined by Sam Richardson. Sam is Greg Traverso’s nephew. And Sam is an avid traveler himself. He’s been to Africa six times. He had climbed Mount Kilimanjaro by the age of 19, and he even founded a snack company called Sam’s Adventure Snacks that really showcases encapsulates the adventurous spirit of Sam. On this podcast, we’re going to dive right into a story where Sam is on the side of a volcano in pursuit of mountain gorillas. 


Sam Richardson: We were with my Mom and Dad, Nick and Joe, Greg’s two sons, and both of my brothers Jack and Will. We started early, early in the morning. There was a big group of us. Different groups of people went to different trailheads. They had different lengths of time and different amount of elevation and vertical and mileage that you would have had to track to find where the gorillas are at the given moment. There are guides that spend the night following the gorillas. And our guides we are with are in communication with the guides on the mountains. They tell us where we need to go. So they continued climbing up this 12,000-13,000 foot volcano. And what could have been a four or five-hour hike out to the gorillas turned into a seven or eight-hour hike all the way to the gorilla family. And there were points that we were having to grab onto vines to pull ourselves up. It’s so wet and muddy. And we were having such a ball with that. We were clambering over one another, racing to the tops of different sections. And then by the time we finally got there, we had a bit of a snack, went around a corner, and there’s a group of twenty-five mountain gorillas. So we were lying in the grass quietly, not talking to one another, scattered 10 or 15 feet away from one another. And the gorillas began moving about us, moving towards us. And for an hour we got to observe this, these otherworldly animals playing with one another, eating, resting, moving around. 

One of them came right up to my Dad. It’s something I’ll remember forever. 

Bob Spoerl: Wow, were you scared or were you excited or what were your feelings? 

No, the guides were so confident. Yeah, the guides were so confident. We were totally, totally calm. 

Bob Spoerl: Yeah. 

That is awesome, and you were you were right, I said, how old were you? 

Sam Richardson: And I had just graduated college. I had turned twenty-one at the beginning of the. One or two days before we got to go hiking with the mountain gorillas I just turned twenty-one. 

Bob Spoerl: It’s cool. So it must be a really incredible kind of experience as a family. Tell me about that. What’s it like being with your family rather than being on your own? You had returned from being on your own but now you are having such a surreal experience with nature, with creation as a family. What was that like? 

Sam Richardson: Some things are better enjoyed as an individual and some things are better to enjoy it as with other people. Doing something like hiking to see mountain gorillas and having a glimpse into their life is something that I think is better enjoyed with other people. Our cousins and my brothers and I talk about it all the time and frequently send one another messages or photos from that track with our boots getting stuck in the mud and having to carry one another over different bogs. It’s something that I think about sharing with other people. 

Greg Traverso: I should interject that I happen to be at the lodge when they came down from the mountain. We had went on a lower elevation hike, which is always an option. My jaw dropped when I saw them all walk in the door. They were covered in mud, head to toe, with huge smiles. I think they were looking for a change of clothes. Well, their “change of clothes” had gone before them with others who had finished earlier, on to Kigali. So they looked at me, at least my kids did, and they had to wait until they got back to Kigali to get out of their mud-caked clothes! And that was a special time, a special experience for these guys. 

Bob Spoerl: Yeah, Greg, along those lines, are you talking about your particular family, but I know you’ve helped a number of families over the years make these trips to Africa at different parts of the African continent.. 

Is that an experience like Sam shared in terms of the enthusiasm and passion for the experience that you’ve heard? 

Does that resonate with other families? It must be an experience that brings them together; it must be just something that you take away that is different from just about any other trip you can imagine. 

Greg Traverso: I think so. There’s a uniqueness about it. I mean, obviously, trips in our own backyard can do the same. And family is family. But there is something about stripping away all of the vestiges of our normal everyday life. And you can just be real and be out there and experiencing things where you don’t have to worry about life’s cares that really resonates with people. The experience of a safari adventure whether it’s to see the mountain gorillas in Rwanda, to go see the great migration in the Serengeti or Masai Mara watching thousands of wildebeest and zebra, or watching a lion, or generally travel around out in nature gives the family time and friendships to kind of fertile ground to just kind of develop even further and just have fun and enjoy and share memories. So I agree. 

Bob Spoerl: Sam, during university, you did the semester abroad in Ghana. Is that Right? 

Sam Richardson: Yeah, in Accra. It was the year before going to Rwanda. It was in September through December and August through December and I ended up meeting my best friend Jimmy there. And we met two weeks into the program and then ended up spending every moment together until we left. And we’ve been best friends since. And again, I had an incredible time there. It was more than I could have asked for and more than I could have dreamed for. 

It was an amazing time. It made me look forward to everything in my life and it was kind of each time was a bit of a rebirth for the revitalization of who I’ve become today. 

Bob Spoerl: Rebirth. Revitalization. These are all terms that, again, sort of following in this theme that we’ve been talking about on this podcast is transformational travel; to Greg’s point, it can happen anywhere. 

But, Sam, it sounds like for you it happened and it happened with these experiences across the continent of Africa. 

Sam Richardson: And it’s born in a sense of adventure and sense of wonder. And that’s just as far out as they can go. There’s a different type of adventure that can be had in my backyard, in your backyard, but going to Rwanda, to Kenya on these trips is as far out in curiosity and awe that I’ve experienced. 

Bob Spoerl: Now, speaking of your own backyard, Greg tells me you’re an avid biker, too, so you, you know, just nonchalantly bike a hundred-mile bike ride around the San Francisco Bay Area. Is that not true? 

Sam Richardson: Not nonchalantly. 

Bob Spoerl: OK, OK. So obviously you’re feeling that a little bit. 

Sam Richardson: Super hard. Super hard. 

And that could segue into some of the adventurous spirit that came into my work and when I returned from college for my first real job. I was finding that I was going from the bubble of my house to the bubble of my car to the bubble of the office and constantly in a bubble and constantly in a comfort zone. So I pulled up Google Maps one morning and figured out all the different ways that I could get to work. I biked to the ferry and began biking different routes around the San Francisco bay. One time I schemed up a kayaking journey from San Francisco to the other side of the bay but decided it wasn’t going to work, but it’s fun having the thoughts. 

I used to wake up excited. I used to go to sleep excited for the mornings and used to wake up really early in the morning, excited for what the day was going to have. 

Bob Spoerl: It’s awesome, it’s like you’re  figuratively climbing Kilimanjaro every day on your way to work. 

Yeah, that’s super cool.

In terms of your life, what are you doing now. 

It sounds like some of these trips, these adventures, have been transformational travel experiences. 

They led you to the direction of the kind of doing your own thing. So you’re an entrepreneur, too, right? Sam? 

Sam Richardson: I have a normal job during the day that receives my focus during the day and early in the morning and late in the evening. 

I’ve begun a food business. 

Sam Richardson: It’s a rendition of the classic PB& J sandwich. And I’m hoping to bridge the gap between consumer packaged goods, something wrapped in plastic that’s good for a number of months versus a baked item and something like a croissant. And I’m trying to merge the two and having really healthy baked goods centered around peanut butter and almond butter as something that people reminisce about. And they come in a small brown paper bag. The name of the company is Sam’s adventurous snacks. The first product, the first product line at Sam’s adventure sammies. So there are three different flavors. One of them is Chai Spice, the normal butter, and they come in small baked good bite-sized pieces of bread. 

And it’s centered around this idea that adventure doesn’t have to be held only to exotic locations, it can be had in your backyard. And it was spawned by these daily jaunts to work and back that I began to want to incorporate some of my skill in the kitchen to a company that I wanted to build. 

Bob Spoerl: So you actually deliver them all yourself. You ride your bike across the Bay Area, 

Sam Richardson: Deliver them by bike.

Bob Spoerl: Wow. So the only people that could order something from you would have to be in San Francisco. Are are you willing to do one hundred mile bike ride to deliver that thing for Greg? 

Sam Richardson: I could do it. But right now it’s just a Bay Area exclusive, something that you can get the next day. 

Bob Spoerl: Cool. SamsAdventureSnacks.Com, right? 

Yeah, we’ve been through a lot in the last year as a globe, right, as a world, and I think it’s really exciting to have these kinds of conversations with people that are still really embracing life and living it to the fullest. And that’s really what we’re trying to do with Metamo. 

And I think that’s what you can travel around the world and you can travel in your own backyard. But I think it’s that ability to find those parts in life that really get you excited to wake up in the morning. I think that it’s is really incredible. 

What is one thing Sam with you being Greg’s nephew – one thing that listeners might not know about Greg? Is there something that you can share with us? 

Sam Richardson: That he’s a really good musician. 

Bob Spoerl: You know, it’s almost like we set you up for that because you might not know that the theme song for this show is Greg and his old band. Yeah. So great. Greg, the intro you hear is you shredding on the guitar? Yeah. 

Greg Traverso: No, that’s my buddy Joey, I just play the rhythm part. 

Bob Spoerl: All right, well, you’re still shredding. You can shred. Rhythm is still a form of shredding. 

Greg Traverso: Yeah, yeah. 

It’s that spirit of adventure coming out, you know, in a different form. 

Bob Spoerl: Great, how long have you been playing? 

Greg Traverso: Well, since I was 14 years old, and I was always a bit of a hacker. But I enjoy it and it’s the passion and spirit of adventure and life and writing about things that are in our daily life. And a lot of writing about the travel experiences comes out in the music. And really, as far as my talents, it’s more the enjoyment of the creation of a song and how it comes together then any kind of talent at all. You have my buddy Joey and the other guys that I’ve played with – they have more of natural talent. But I do love the spirit of it. And so I’m looking forward to continuing to write songs and put them together and seeing how they come out even if it’s only me listening to them. What you hear at the beginning of the Metamo Travel podcast is just one of the song, this little touch of it. But thanks for bringing that up. 

Bob Spoerl: Final thing. So we talked, Sam, about your business and what you do, and transformational travel. 

We also like to ask guests kind of a final parting, parting words of wisdom. So anybody listening who might be thinking about a trip in 2021 or beyond, what advice would you give them as an avid traveler yourself? 

Sam Richardson: You’ll come in with a bit of jet lag, but it’s going to be overtaken by excitement. As soon as you land, it’s such a unique environment. Don’t worry, don’t worry, if you’re tired, things are going to work out and it’s a ton of fun. Awesome. 

Bob Spoerl: Well, Sam, really appreciate it. Again, anybody in the Bay Area, within biking distance for sure. 

You should look up Sam’sadventureSnakcs.com. Anybody around the world that’s thinking about taking a trip to East Africa to any of our destinations, you can go to Metamo.travel. That’s Greg’s company Metamo.travel . You can email us at Hello@metamo.travel. Or you can also chat with a representative on the website and somebody will be happy to talk about your next travel plan or just share some more information about what travel to Africa looks like. Thank you. It has been a pleasure, Sam. Appreciate you being on the show and joining us. And I hope everybody has a great, great rest of your week and we’ll talk to you soon. 

Greg Traverso: Take care. 

Metamo provides modern explorers looking for a more fulfilling way to travel with experiences that are stress-free, profoundly transformative, and rooted in an appreciation for our planet and the people that inhabit it.

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