Kevin Tobin loves what he does. He is the Director of Passages Adventure Camp in Richmond Virginia where he’s spent the last 25 years introducing multiple generations of kids to adventure, fear and–most importantly–their own inner strength and abilities.
Kevin is also an accomplished ultrarunner, adventure racer, and my former boss (I worked at Passages years ago). I really enjoyed this interview as it was as much an excuse to reconnect with Kevin after so many years as it was a great reason to dig deeper into how he thinks about adventure, planned adversity, and the motivation to push yourself beyond what most would consider sane limits.
I hope you enjoy it.
- [2:55] What is an adventure race and how he got started in it
- [4:45] The first ultramarathon Kevin ever ran (The Mountain Masochist) and how he got through 55 miles of extremely hilly terrain.
- [7:03] Why he doesn’t wear a watch or check distances during long races.
- [10:00] The two Chinese characters that are tattooed on Kevin’s calves.
- [12:05] Lack of sleep during the Beast of the East adventure race.
- [16:30] The special connection that is created by adversity and the concept of planned adversity.
- [18:00] The reasons behind why Kevin lives so fully and pushes himself so hard.
- [20:30] Passages Adventure Camp: What is it and how did it get started?
- [22:00] How they measure the success of Passages
- [23:00] Getting them started early, how they handle introducing adventure sports to 5-7 year olds and building long-term relationships.
- [26:25] What’s the purpose of teaching adventure sports to kids?
- [30:00] Why campers crying is viewed as a good thing.
- [30:55] A specific story about a camper overcoming her fears.
- [34:00] All about the staff at Passages.
- [37:20] Driving vans into rocks and Kevin’s response to mistakes by his staff
- [40:20] What is one thing that you believe that other people think is crazy?
- [41:50] How do you define adventure?
- [46:00] What’s the one thing you’d want to impart on a kid or a parent of a young kid about adventure?