The reality of traveling the world often isn’t the picturesque image as seen through an Instagram filter. It comprises experiences with people and places that only some are brave enough to step out of their comfort zone to enjoy. Zack Helminiak, the executive producer of All the Places, an adventure-film series that is about the immersive travel experience and examines the relationship between food, culture, sport and environment, considers himself a “nomadic person” by nature. He only remains in a country for as long as his tourist visa will allow. While he’s seen his fair share of the world’s hidden treasures with his own eyes, he’s also seen a sensationalized view of travel content pushed onto socia-media sites by influencers. Through screenings of All the Places, including one at Denver REI, on Thursday, October 26, Helminiak hopes to change people’s perspectives on the accessibility of immersive travel.
“I’ve been traveling for most of my life, and I’m not an expert or a professional athlete, but I’m trying to show that immersing yourself in the culture and meeting real people is easier than everyone thinks,” Helminiak says, adding that All The Places: CocoraVelo will highlight bicycle travel across Colombia’s coffee region.
The All the Places crew — five riders and two executive producers — don’t all “work in the space” of extreme sports or year-round traveling, either, making them even more relatable to the general public as they educate us about the ease of immersive traveling.
The idea for All the Places: CocoraVelo came about after Helminiak had been in touch with a group of people interested in taking a biking trip while visiting Colombia, and he reached out to friends whom he knew were already itching to take a trip with purpose. From there, All the Places: CocoraVelo, directed by Warren Kommers, took on its focus of connecting people to their coffee and where it comes from.
“We are exploring travel routes of global significance in each of these webisodes, and the first one is all about Colombian coffee,” Helminiak says. “Other ideas we want to explore include biking through the tea region of China to show how people live and where tea comes from; going to Ireland for scotch and whiskey; traveling through Vietnam for pho and other Vietnamese soup; going through Chilean and Argentinean wine country.”
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This isn’t Helminiak’s first venture into a global purpose. He is the co-founder of Nomadix, a company that creates eco-friendly towels out of single-use plastic water bottles. Though Helminiak insists Nomadix is a separate entity from All the Places, it is one of the film series’ top sponsors. Rosetta Stone, the foreign-language education software company, is the project’s main financial sponsor. Gear was sponsored, in part, by Oakley, Mission Workshop and other various performance-based partners.
Helminiak has chosen to screen the 2017 All the Places tour at REI locations throughout the country, with various galleries and restaurants thrown in. He adds that one of All The Places’ riders will be at every screening, including Fort Collins resident rider for the Colombian trip, Jessie Beyer, who will host a Q&A at the Denver REI.
The Denver REI screening, taking place Thursday, October 26, from 6:30 to 8 p.m., at REI, 1416 Platte Street, is one of the final showings of All the Places: CocoraVelo. Helminiak says at this point his crew is focused on finding a channel to continue showcasing this work, whether it’s online or on television, but it’s still currently undetermined. For more information on All the Places, which is free to the public but will have limited seating, visit the series' website.