How Explore Inspired’s Jonathan Ronzio turned a love of travel into a career

jonathan ronzio, explore inspired

While many millennial-age entrepreneurs focus on developing the next great social craze a la Snapchat or Tinder, a Boston Massachusetts-based forward thinker named Jonathan Ronzio decided to spin a different kind of web. Infatuated with any and all things outdoors — like climbing a continent’s highest mountain or camping in Iceland in the middle of winter —  Ronzio gravitated toward making a career out of documenting and sharing his travels. Despite knowing he barely possessed the knack for keeping a consistent journal, he put a fierce desire to keep moving and exploring to work, launching a blog by the name of Explore Inspired.

Related: Luke Swanson’s Tripty Project aims to benefit, celebrate Bangladeshi culture

“The whole thing started as a personal challenge because I’ve never been any good at journaling,” the 26-year-old Ronzio told The Manual. “I take it all in in other ways and just have never been able to document journeys. After [the] Between the Peaks [documentary] came out, something I had worked on for four years, I thought, ‘what’s next? What if I started a blog?’ I just started telling people about it knowing that if it’s actually going to be something, I have to follow through with my word.”


Concerning his mention of Between the Peaks, before Explore Inspired materialized as a means of documenting his journeys, Ronzio and two of his pals set out to summit two of the world’s esteemed Seven Summits. On paper, the idea was to buy one-way tickets to Chile and climb Argentina’s Aconcagua before heading north to tackle Denali in Alaska. Along the way, the trio intended to volunteer in every country they stopped in to give back to the communities they came in contact with.

The result?

An incredibly successful trip which not only fueled Ronzio’s passion for traveling the world but the self-produced documentary also won him the award for “Best Documentary Feature” at the 2015 Mountain Film Festival. Based on the raw personal transformation he experienced over the course of the trip, Ronzio wanted to find a way to pass that on to other travelers. To him, creating Explore Inspired in the wake of Between the Peaks was much more than just curating a blog or simply taking a group of people on a trip.

“It’s a mentality. A philosophy. A mission within the message,” he continued. “What I do isn’t confined to the start and end of the trip. The way you look at the world is something you want to continue feeling so what I wanted to create was a continuous experience about being inspired by the world around you. A slight change in perception of how you see your environment can change everything.”


At Explore Inspired’s core, it’s this change in perception Ronzio is particularly after. Though documenting and sharing the details of his travels may serve as the genesis of the website, Ronzio’s startup is all about experiencing these perception-shattering voyages with other people. Don’t think of it as your run-of-the-mill group getaway, however, an Explore Inspired trip typically consists of no more than four to six people — Jonathan included — to keep the personal interaction of the trip goers at an absolute maximum. Because each seven-day trip lacks considerably in the department of extensive planning (on purpose), these small groups will rely on each other for almost everything (again, this is done on purpose).

Selected via an application process, those who join Ronzio on an Explore Inspired trip are not only expected to possess an open mind but also boast the ability to literally go with the flow. Be it an unexpected detour, an unforeseen change in weather, or an uncomfortable night at the end of a long day, there’s no room for pre-conceived expectations. To Jonathan, it’s all about letting go and being open to how changes in the road can turn into optimism in different ways.

“Expectation is something we all bring to the table. No matter what, everyone has expectations of what something’s going to be like,” Ronzio explained. “Breaking the expectations of those who join us has been one of the best things we’ve been able to change. Everyone needs to be taught how to let go, be it professionally, personally, or with relationships. We want to teach people to stop trying to define their future.”


Moving forward, Explore Inspired is in the process of planning a trip toward the end of fall (end of November or early December) to either Norway or Iceland. As is the case with past trips, anywhere from four to six people are expected to be selected via the application process in order to keep the trip intimate — and the gear light. Though just because the time off between official Explore Inspired group trips may soon span 365 days, it doesn’t mean Ronzio’s been resting on his globe-spanning laurels.

Quite the contrary, actually.

In addition to summiting Africa’s Mount Kilimanjaro this summer, splitboarding down Mount Rainier, and competing in NBC’s Spartan: Ultimate Team Challenge , Ronzio’s also found the time to avert his attention to a new business venture. Stylized as Startup MVMT, Jonathan’s latest enterprise is an activity-based event geared towards teaching people the fundamentals and concepts of startup culture — while breaking a sweat, of course. An idea which took a mere matter of days to materialize, Ronzio teamed with Boston’s General Assembly chapter to turn the thought into a reality.


“So many speaking events are exactly the same in that someone speaks on stage while people just sit and write in notebooks,” he pointed out. “It’s not entirely engaging so I wanted to find a way to get people up and learning through activity. Startup MVMT helps turn concepts into metaphors we can teach through active learning. I connected with a local rock gym I frequent and asked to use their space for a General Assembly event. After they said yes, we held our pilot program there.”

A success in its own right, Startup MVMT’s initial showing gave Jonathan and his founding partner the ability to see what worked, what didn’t, and what they could do to adjust the program to make it flourish. Though no specific plans have yet been hammered out, Ronzio says he hopes to expand the event into broader one- or two-hour free events with more participants. Like any savvy entrepreneur, he’s already focused three or four steps ahead of himself as thoughts of developing various targeted series’ and expanding to other cities spilled out during our conversation.

With the ambitious project Explore Inspired humming along and the abundantly energetic Startup MVMT showing immense promise, it seems as though the world is quite literally Jonathan’s oyster. At the prime age of just 26, Ronzio’s lasting enthusiasm for continuing to grow, both professionally and personally, is an enviable trait one can’t help but glean inspiration from.

All photos courtesy of Jonathan Ronzio and Explore Inspired.


This Small Electric Toothbrush Cleans Just as Good as Its Competitors

The best part? A subscription option means you'll never have to remember to purchase a replacement again.

How to Get Out of a Rip Current

Every guy should know how to spot and escape a rip current, whether you’re swimming at a protected beach manned by a Baywatch team or exploring an uncharted cove.

10 Best Books by Ernest Hemingway, Ranked

"There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed."

El Cosmico Campground Offers Unique Shelters for the Vagabond in Us All

El Cosmico isn’t just a place to stay — it’s a chance to escape the everyday.
Food & Drink

The Right Way to Make a Spice Blend with Lior Lev Sercarz

Yes, a properly cooked piece of chicken or steak is delicious on its own, but the flavors introduced by a spice blend can elevate a meal to new heights.
Food & Drink

This $550,000 Vacation Comes With Unlimited Tequila, Cigars, and the World’s Most Interesting Man

Hot air balloon ride? Heck yes. A sailing trip? Sure, skippy! Drinking tequila with a hand-rolled cigar in hand? Obviously.
Food & Drink

Epic Meal Time’s Harley Morenstein Serves Up Pizza in a Bag

"It comes in a pizza slice-shaped bag and it's pepperoni jerky. If I walk by, I’d look and think, 'I need to try that.' It's just like Epic Meal Time."
Fashion & Style

This Line of $400 James Bond-Inspired Swim Trunks is Money(penny)

For the right price, you can earn a license to swim.

Do Your Ass a Favor and Get a Tushy Bidet Attachment. Seriously.

It's a lot easier to keep yourself clean and fresh when you use water to wipe instead of paper.

Forget that Tiny House and Get a Tiny Houseboat Instead

Retire to a tiny life fishing on the big water.

Vicariously Enjoy the Adventures of Others With 3 Epic Tales of Wilderness Exploits

What is the outdoor enthusiast to do when life's many duties prevent him from adventuring? Read about it, of course!
Food & Drink

The Best Cheap Beer Money Can Buy

Some cultures may value spirits or wine or something else entirely, but at the end of the day, chances are you’re going to be able to find a cheap beer no matter where you go.
Food & Drink

A Bitter Experiment: Why You Should Try Adding Bitters to an IPA

IPAs already have a strong reputation for being bitter, so why kick it up a notch and add cocktail bitters?
Food & Drink

Shaken, Not Stirred: The Manual’s Guide to Cocktail Shakers

Spirit-forward drinks like a Manhattan or an Old Fashioned necessitate stirring, but by and large, if you're making a multi-ingredient cocktail, you're going to need to shake it up.

Here’s What We Know About the 2019 Toyota Supra

After a 16-year nap, the Toyota Supra is finally ready to re-enter the sports car market.

Sleep in a Giant Tequila Barrel at a One-of-a-kind Mexican Distillery Hotel

Is a tequila-barrel hotel hokey? Sure. Do we care? Not even a little.

How to Be a Super Airbnb Host

Renting your own pad on Airbnb can be easier and more profitable than you think.

Crash on Namibia’s Dramatic Skeleton Coast at the One-of-a-kind Shipwreck Lodge

The hotel is in a place so inhospitable that Portuguese sailors once called it “The Gates of Hell.”

See Africa, Europe, the Atlantic Ocean, and the Mediterranean Sea from the Gibraltar Skywalk

At 1,115 feet above sea level, the panoramic views are humbling, frightening, and beautiful.

Las Vegas’ Best New Bar is 55 Stories Above the Strip

A drink here should be a requirement for all Vegas trips moving forward.

Photography Tips for Beginners: Shoot Like a Pro By Thinking Like a Pro

Because skill will always trump camera gear — even the best gear.

Too Broke to Travel? Take a Virtual Vacation With This Summer Reading List.

These page-turners could be the inspiration for your next big vacation, but for now, settle into your couch.