Biotrek Adventure Travels’ Sunny Reynolds
As a child, the world was small for Sunny Reynolds. Raised 20 miles north of Syracuse in Central Square, NY, Sunny never dreamed of a life of travel. Her family owned property nearby where they would camp for vacation. Her father, who worked as a tool and die maker for Smith Corona, didn’t enjoy his job and recommended Sunny find a career she was passionate about. Life had big plans for this small-town girl.
Possessing a creative eye, Sunny was educated in Theatre Arts and Photography at the University of Syracuse. Rather than the spotlight; however, her interests lay behind the curtain in set design, costumes, lighting, and makeup. Composition, light, colors, and textures called to her throughout her life.
Sunny relocated to Virginia around 1980. This move would change her life. She was in her late 20s and was hired by a bank in Fairfax, Virginia. She settled in Manassas. Sunny rose to bank manager and remained in the industry for eight years. It was during this time that Sunny discovered her real talent for photography.
While in banking, Sunny worked with an attorney who recognized her talent. He asked her to photograph his family and decorate his office. His suggestion that she pursue photography full time was a spark that lit a fire. It wasn’t long before she left banking to focus exclusively on photography. “I took my last bank check and started a business,” she laughs. She fully engaged her passion with more photography classes at NOVA at the Loudoun County Campus and George Washington University.
She relocated to Midland and converted a basement room to a dark room. “I wanted to make it big. I used my connections and got an interview with a New York City ad agency. They liked my work and I was hired,” she says. Her work took this inexperienced traveler, who first saw the ocean when she was 30, to exotic places. “One of the first places I went was Costa Rica to shoot an IBM facility. While there, one of the locals showed me around the village.” That trip was the catalyst for Biotrek Adventure Travels.
Back home, Sunny, and a partner, opened a gallery at 19 Culpeper Street where famed artists such as Loudoun County artist, Maggie Siner, showed artwork. “We were successful right away,” she says of their sold-out shows. The gallery even sponsored international artists who came to showcase their work.
“Although it was successful, it became too much to maintain the gallery and corporate photography,” Sunny explains. When her partner moved on, Sunny relocated to 81 Main Street: “I quit the ad agency and gallery to start a travel company.”
Sunny returned to Costa Rica and met with in-country ground operators. “At first, I did it all on my own. I remember personally renting a passenger van and driving people around the country,” she says. Those early trips were full of adventure. “We always had a flat tire, it was just something we could count on because of the quality of the roads. I made a game of it and would see how fast we could change the tire,” she says of making the most out of the situation.
“One time, after a flat, in Monteverde, we ended up catching a ride with the local coffee pickers back to town. It’s a memory that will last forever for the guests on the trip,” she reminisces. It was Sunny’s friends and family who embarked on those first trips. “I called that group the ‘Dream Team’; they have travelled to many countries with me over the years,” she reminisces.
Twenty-five years later, Sunny is still the Warrenton dream maker; making dreams come true for travelers throughout the United States to vacation in exotic locations such as the Galapagos Islands, a place she has visited 38 times. Her tours include 11 additional countries including Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba, Guatemala, India, Morocco, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Peru, and Tanzania. “To keep my travelers coming back, I continually add new countries like Portugal [added for 2018],” Sunny says of the growing list of locations Biotrek Adventure Travels visits.
Over the years she has gained a familiarity with countries and people only time can create. Sunny laughs when she walks off a plane onto a runway, only to recognize all the drivers waiting for passengers, even though only one is waiting for her. Sunny has spent countless days with the locals who work as ground operators and drivers escorting her guests through unfamiliar terrain – from the deserts of the Sahara to the mountains of Peru. “These people have become my family,” she says of the level of trust given to her ground operators.
The adventure has changed for Sunny, “Seeing the reaction of travelers is what it is all about now. For people to see wildlife on a safari or the colors of a Cuban street is my reward,” she says. And having her creative eye is gift for everyone. “I know immediately if a hotel will work or not,” she says of the care taken to select accommodations that promote the local culture.
Having traveled hundreds of times and to every continent over the years, Sunny and her team have made all the mistakes, so her guests don’t have to: “I know which month to travel to each location for chances of the best weather, the fewest tourists, and most pleasant experience.” Having vetted every ground operator, hotel, and local site, Biotrek Adventure Travels brings a personal touch to travel which is incomparable.
Biotrek Adventure Travels limits expeditions to only 10 people, creating an intimate and catered experience. Guests travel with the knowledge that every measure has been taken to ensure they have a wonderful, stress-free trip. From accommodations and restaurants to transportation, packing lists and helpful hints, travelers will be immersed in the local culture with an unparalleled local touch. “It is not uncommon to be invited to our Indian ground operator’s home for dinner,” Sunny shares. Every expedition is environmentally and culturally based.
Photos by Sunny Reynolds
Celebrating 25 years of global service from Warrenton, Biotrek Adventure Travels is currently scheduling 2018 trips to:
- Cuba (May 11-20)
- Galapagos Islands (June 15-25)
- Guatemala (July 14-22)
- New Zealand (Nov 25-Dec 10).
It is recommended to book trips six months to one year out. Scheduled payments are available. For information on upcoming expeditions visit www.biotrekadventuretravels.com.
Sunny’s photography experience and talent is on display in her two published books as well as her website (sunnyreynoldsphotography.com). The Random House publication Hardie Newton’s Celebration of Flowers, features exclusive photography from Sunny. Additionally, she published her own book Boats, in 2002. This publication moves the subject off the land and onto the water.