Where You Want to Be + Out of the Ordinary = F.U.N.
By Catherine Spearnak
If you didn’t know there were beautiful canyons with amazing hidden homes in local neighborhoods in and around Downtown, hook up with the husband and wife couple who operate Where You Want to Be Tours.
The San Diego tour company known for its unique adventure tours, including a trip through Bankers Hill, where company owners Darlynne and Marc Menkin take you across two footbridges and lead you through canyons even long-time San Diegans have never seen.
“We do a lot of hikes and bike tours for the corporate world, but we also get a lot of calls for family reunions, birthdays, or wedding parties. Just about anybody,” Darlynne said.
Where You Want To Be Tours is an award-winning company originally launched in July 2003 that has become known for creating unique and out-of-the-box outdoor adventures for both corporate team-building and leisure markets.
This spring, Where You Want to Be Tours merged with another major San Diego tour company, Out of the Ordinary, founded by Carrie Elwood.
“It’s a wonderful marriage between two proven companies that have exceled in the corporate and leisure markets. The combination creates a powerhouse of fun adventures,” Elwood said.
“Never in our wildest dreams did we fathom merging with another company,” Darlynne said. “It just came out of the blue. It wasn’t anything we had on our radar.”
Darlynne, a former reporter for San Diego TV Channels 5 and 6, said Elwood approached the couple about merging because she is getting ready to retire from her long-time stint as one of San Diego’s leading tour planners.
“I did reach out to Marc and Darlynne due to their reputation in the industry and the fact that we were both active in the world of team building,” Elwood said. “It was important to me to work with someone who understood our business and what we were attempting to do for our clients.”
Elwood said for now, both companies will remain separate but share clients.
“I will be retiring, but for now I am actively involved and supporting Marc and Darlynne in any way I can,” she said.
The benefits of the merge were the addition of events that the two companies complement in each other. Out of the Ordinary has always offered things such as outrigger canoe challenges, team sailing regattas, boat-building competitions and sand sculpting or beach Olympic events, while Where You Want to Be Tours has team-building scavenger hunts and secret biking and hiking tours around San Diego.
“Both companies have highly recognized brands and a great reputation within the industry, so it only made sense for each company to retain their own unique style,” Darlynne said. “The expanded menu allows us to offer our clients so much more.”
The team-building exercises the Menkins have always offered are used regularly by some of San Diego’s largest corporations.
“Our company hired Where You Want to Be Tours to organize a scavenger hunt for our department,” said Tracey Williams, principal tax analyst for Sempra Energy. “We are always looking for new and exciting team-building events and found them to be the perfect company to provide this.
“We spent two hours running around the city getting to know the neighborhood and completing fun tasks as a group,” Williams continued. “If any company is looking for a fun and exciting team-building event, I would highly recommend Where You Want To Be Tours. Our company will definitely be using them again.”
The team-building urban challenge scavenger hunts are just one of the more popular events the couple said they offer. They also organize biking tours to “hidden San Diego gems,” and customized walking tours to secret areas, like the Bankers Hill tour and various other events.
“Marc and Darlynne know San Diego so well,” said Janette Lampe, corporate events manager for Kaiser Permanente. “If you give them your goals and objectives, they’ll work with you for creative solutions to fit your specific needs. Participants have a blast. Regardless of your physical skill level, everyone participates and learns along the way.”
Lampe said that during one planned outdoor activity for several hundred people, it rained and they had to change plans quickly.
“Working with Marc and Darlynne, we modified the plan, and moved it all indoors,” she said. “One ballroom had Frisbee golf set up inside the hotel. We had so much fun!”
“We’ve been doing this for quite a while, so we have a lot of repeat customers,” Darlynne said. “It’s all about interacting strategically.”
—Catherine Spearnak is a San Diego-based freelance writer. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.