Celebrating Our Beloved Geo—and Looking Ahead
As we enter the month of September, all of us at Geographic Expeditions pause to remember and celebrate our beloved chairman, George Doubleday II, who passed away one year ago this month. George—or Geo, as everyone called him—assumed leadership of the company in 1984, two years after its founding.
A travel industry veteran who had headed Pan American Airways’ Far Eastern Operations from a base in Hong Kong before moving to San Francisco, Geo brought a unique combination of passion for world travel, business acumen, integrity, idealism, and compassion to our company.
He guided GeoEx’s course from a scrappy start-up specializing in exploring remote corners of Asia to a world-renowned, widely respected pioneer in the adventure travel field, with trips ranging from trailblazing treks to cultural immersions in more than 60 countries on all seven continents. Guided by his commitment to excellence, GeoEx won just about every media plaudit awarded, from best trip and best travel company honors by National Geographic Traveler, Travel + Leisure, Condé Nast Traveler, AFAR, and many others, to Best Places to Work by Outside magazine.
Under Geo’s leadership, GeoEx grew into a company renowned throughout the industry for the creativity, quality, and integrity of its travel offerings and for the family-like feeling of its staff. Working for GeoEx was truly like joining a big family, and one of the company’s standing jokes was that on the rare occasion when a staffer did leave—to have a baby, or accompany a partner on an irresistible venture, or pursue an academic dream—they would inevitably, eventually, return. And so they did.
Geo infused GeoEx with his signature qualities: an exuberant enjoyment of life, an embrace of world-exploring adventure, a delight in people, a bedrock integrity, and an all-pervading compassion. And as we all could tell, like a proud parent, he deeply loved this company he had molded and the globe-connecting, culture-bridging journeys it creates.
And we all loved him. Whenever Geo visited the office, we were overjoyed. “How are you?” he would heartily ask staffers as he walked from cubicle to cubicle, his laughing-dancing eyes looking straight into ours, his exuberance transforming the air. Then he would give each of us a great bear hug that would always breathe new energy and inspiration into us. For many, he became a prime life-mentor. Whatever vicissitudes the day had delivered, Geo still filled the room with his infectious, inspiring love.
His passing one year ago devastated us, left a hole in the world that we still feel today, but we also find solace in remembering and celebrating his larger-than-life—and certainly larger-than-death—personality, his fundamental passion and compassion, his deep generosity, his keen intellect, his big-as-the-world heart, and his inspiring idealism.
As we remember Geo, we feel profoundly fortunate and grateful that his three children—Ned, Jennifer, and Stephen—have taken up their father’s mantle, carrying on his work as members of the GeoEx board, guiding us through the extraordinary challenges of the world today. They are infusing GeoEx with the same passion, idealism, and commitment that Geo made part of the company’s DNA, and with the fresh new enthusiasm, energy, and vision that their father brought to the company in 1984.
Nothing can entirely solace the loss of a beloved patriarch and life-mentor, but as we look ahead, we find comfort and inspiration in the presence and passion of Ned, Jennifer, and Stephen, and in their determination to honor, nurture, and continue to make flourish the special company that their father so lovingly and successfully tended for the last 35 years of his glorious life.
We pause today to celebrate this singular man who, through his spirit and his actions, made the world a richer, better place. And we rededicate ourselves, in his memory and honor, to continuing that essential work, more important now than ever, of sharing the planet’s extraordinary diversity of wonders and forging bonds of understanding, friendship, and goodwill around the globe.
Yours in celebration of a man who embodied wanderlust,
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If you have a memory of our beloved Geo or a comment about him that you would like to share, we would love to hear from you. Please share your thoughts below. Thank you!