As the founder of Wildland Adventures, recently acquired by Austin Adventures, Kurt brings a lifetime of designing and leading adventure trips around the world to the Austin family. He is an ecotourism pioneer having founded and served on professional travel, conservation, and cultural heritage organizations dedicated to bridging adventure travel, conservation, and community development. He currently serves as the Director of the Travelers Conservation Trust and a founder of the Transformational Travel Council devoted to deepening our personal life experience and renewal of the planet through travel. Kurt’s love of travel and appreciation of diverse cultures originate from his Turkish heritage and childhood visits with family in Istanbul. His career includes work for the US and Costa Rican National Parks Service, a wilderness activist in the Pacific Northwest, and opening adventure travel destinations in wildlands and among indigenous cultures throughout the world. Together with wife, business partner, and travel companion, Anne Kutay they enjoy outdoor music festivals, hiking, camping, and kayaking in the Pacific Northwest, daily outings with their Tibetan Mastiff, Prince.
What’s your favorite vacation destination(s)?
Turkey for everything it has to offer (and because it’s my family heritage)!
Manu National Park in the Peruvian Amazon (because I love the jungle and this is one of the wildest and remote rainforests in the world)
India for the spiritual, the tiger safaris, and the adventure of it all!
What is your favorite historical site, castle, museum, etc.?
The 15th century Sveta Nedjelja cave and monastery in the mountain peak of Sveti Nikola built by Augustinian monks on the island of Hvar, Croatia.
What is your favorite hike?
Hiking the Lycian Way along the Turquoise Coast of Turkey on footpaths only accessible from the sea leading to ancient Roman ruins, Crusader Castles, Byzantine ruins among villagers, shepherds, and beekeepers.
What is your favorite bike ride?
Anywhere in the Dolomites on a single-track mountain bike route.
What is your favorite Austin Adventures trip?
Botswana and Zambia.
Back from Tuichi by Yossi Ghinsberg, lost and found in the jungles of Bolivia.
No Hard Feelings, The Avett Brothers.
When did you first catch the travel bug?
8 years old when I read a story in National Geographic of a cartologist and anthropologist leading a 6-month expedition through the Darien Gap of Panama. Little did I realize that 25 years later I would lead an expedition through the Darien Jungle with our guide who was conceived by the same Nat Geo expedition leaders featured in the magazine article that fascinated me so.
What are your favorite outdoor activities?
Camping, hiking, mountain biking, surfing.
What are your hobbies?
Gardening, cooking, mixology, wines.