Adventure Couples

There’s something almost magical that happens when we are fearlessly chasing adventure. Our entire state of mind is open to whatever life has to offer. The thrill of the unknown calls us to go further – and we do, because somehow we know that amazing things are waiting for our arrival. For some, that amazing event is meeting the love of one’s life; the companion that makes every adventure more fulfilling.

Love Is The Greatest Adventure

It’s only natural that the first story in our Adventure Couples blog series begins with the founders of Rivers & Oceans: Tim & Pam Whitney.   From the moment they met, these two have devoted their lives to adventure. Like all Adventure Couples, they came to realize that love truly is the greatest adventure.

In the beginning

It all started the summer of 1984, when Tim and Pam met while working for a Grand Canyon rafting company in Marble Canyon, Arizona. Pam was working as an office manager while Tim was working as a boatman guiding people down the Colorado River. Pam describes Tim as a “real catch” and as a special man who charmed everyone he met with his warm smile and even warmer personality.  They worked closely for nearly a year getting to know each other as friends and colleagues. Fittingly, it was an adventure that brought them together; a company vacation to Club Med in Wyman, Mexico. Tim and Pam returned to Arizona officially in love.

In 1986, a year after their trip to Mexico, change set a new course for Tim and Pam. When the rafting company they had been working for came under new ownership, Pam found herself out of the office and right alongside Tim in the Canyon taking hundreds of people down the river. It was during this time in the Canyon, interacting with fellow adventurers, that an idea to build a business was born. Tim and Pam saw that the number of Grand Canyon outfitters offering rafting trips in Grand Canyon was growing, but at the same time information on booking river trips was hard to come by. They saw a need for a travel company that could help people in their search to find their best rafting adventure in Grand Canyon, and their vision didn’t stop there. Both had a love for diving, rafting, and worldwide travel, and they wanted to help others venture out into the world. They dreamed of a business that could connect people to their best water adventure, and they knew they were the perfect people to help.

That Time With The Rubber Garden Gloves

When I asked Pam what was one of her most memorable adventures with Tim, she recalled a diving trip in Cancun, Mexico that still makes her laugh to this day. It had been almost 15 years since she had been scuba diving, and over those years many things had changed. At this time, a Buoyancy Compensator Device was a standard piece of dive equipment used to help a diver descend into deeper water more easily. Essentially, a BCD is a vest that can be inflated or deflated as a diver needs in order to descend or ascend. A BCD was something that Tim, a more seasoned diver, was very familiar with. Pam, on the other hand, had learned the old-fashioned way and had never done a dive with a BCD.

Vision Becomes Reality

In 1987 they brought their vision into reality and named it Rivers & Oceans. Slowly, but surely their business grew every year, and Tim and Pam found that Rivers & Oceans was also supporting their dreams to travel and see the world together.  Rivers & Oceans gave them the opportunity to not only lead amazing adventures, but also partake in them alongside their clients and friends. Over twenty years of travel brought Tim and Pam to destinations such as Costa Rica, Belize, Papua New Guinea, Nepal, Cozumel, Baja, Guam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Borneo, Thailand, the Maldives, Egypt, Switzerland, and more. Tim and Pam enjoyed sharing their knowledge and love of travel with others. This love of sharing is the driving force behind Rivers & Oceans, and what made the company valuable not only to Tim and Pam, but their clients.

Always taking care of his number one girl, Tim insisted that Pam wear rubber gardening gloves to protect her hands from having any cuts or injuries that might attract some dangerous spectators. Once they were in the water, Pam began to operate her BCD, with mixed results.  Every time she tried to handle the valve with her gloved fingers, her hands slipped right off, making it impossible to get a firm grip and navigate downward with the rest of the group.  For every little bit she could descend downward, she eventually rose back up, never really moving from the same place she started.  When the dive was over and they were back on the boat, she said her patience was shot and she was mad that Tim made her wear those dang gloves! Pam said it only took a few laughs from Tim until she was laughing along with him.  She realized the scene of her trying to descend with her garden gloves must have looked pretty funny, and her anger and frustration quickly turned to laughter and light-heartedness.  “That was the thing about Tim,” she says, “he could always make me laugh.” Pam went on to say that all the times they laughed together are moments she’ll never forget.

Someone To Laugh With

Traveling requires a lot of a person, and even more so when you’re traveling with a companion. Like a relationship, traveling requires and endless amount of patience and acceptance when our human flaws began to surface in moments of pressure and uncertainty, but it also requires a light and loving heart. The value of a partner who can see life as an adventure, who has a way to look at challenges optimistically, and is willing to share a laugh when it’s desperately needed cannot be measured. Tim and Pam’s story reminds us all that a life lived as an adventure is the most rewarding and uniting thing that two lovers could do.

A heartfelt thank you to Pam Whitney for sharing her laughter and memories of Tim with us!

– Cami Beck