Hi Folks,

I travel a lot. Makes quite a bit of sense given my occupation, right?

My brother, on the other hand, is a lawyer in New York City which does not permit him the world-wide adventure travel luxuries that I enjoy. In fact, I come from a family of lawyers—my father, my mother, my sister-in-law Cindy (you probably know her, she knows everybody!) my uncles and cousins—but, lucky for me, I always say, I didn’t do too good in school so I never followed that path. I often make lawyer jokes at my brother’s expense, particularly while we’re traveling together—anything to bug my big “bro”. (Truth is that the pursuit of justice and the law is admirable, and he takes his job seriously, providing a valuable and ethical service for his clients. Even knowing that, it does not stop me from making lawyer jokes at his expense.)

But his real passion is travel—the exact kind of adventure travel that I seem to be doing regularly.

I feel bad for him as he leaves his house in Westchester at 6am and returns well into the evening. I know he loves what he does, but I’m also pretty sure he’d prefer to be out on a trail with me in British Columbia or tracking lions in Botswana than sitting in Manhattan conference room in deposition (although I must say, the guy is one heck of an arguer!). It seems once a week or more he calls me to talk about planning a trip that he and I both know probably won’t happen.

This year my brother turns 50 and we’re planning a bike trip across Croatia. We do these bike trips for every significant birthday—for my 40th we followed the route of the 101st Airborne from Normandy to Bastogne to Eindhoven and down to Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest in Bavaria; for his 40th we biked across the Pyrenees, from freezing snowy peaks all the way to the ocean. These trips take a lot of planning, and many false starts. When he calls and asks me if I want to go here or there, my answer is usually, “I’m in!” But then, eventually one of has to back out, usually him.

Though we take these trips pretty casually and we screw up the plans and change them midstream often, they have been among the most important events in my life. We’re very different, my brother and me: he’s older and more responsible (for example, when we roll into a small town he wants to immediately secure a hotel room but I demand that we go to the first pub we see—we can always find a room later…maybe.) and I think I’m a lot funnier. But these trips have brought us together to become the closest of friends, not just brothers. We’ve fought along the trail—imagine a 40-year old and a 43-year old throwing bike helmets at each other and swinging punches like little girls! – and had great times, usually me harassing and embarrassing him and he begging me to stop until he laughs so hard his beer comes out his nose.

I recall one time, while biking through Spain, he and I sneaking into a wedding wearing our bike shorts and helmets. In the majestic 12th century castle he snuck into the photos with the bride and groom, and we helped ourselves to appetizers and champagne.

Ridiculous, for sure. I mean we’re actually adults! But I can only hope my two sons pursue these same type of important events in travel.

Ben Bressler
Founder & Director
Natural Habitat Adventures