“On Different Trails” is the ultimate immersive experience. It becomes your life for the week that you are out on the trail. Two partners, who are paired on the basis of diverse political views or personal backgrounds, are thrust into the wilderness with a series of objectives to complete, and challenges that they will face, all of which are impossible to complete without the other. The challenges are designed to occur in a crescendo. They start out small and simple, giving the partners a relatively smooth introduction to each other. By the end of the week they are facing significant obstacles together, and as they complete them, the two partners forge a firm bond between each other.
The classic psychological effect of shared pain and hardship creating strong bonds will provide the basis for the bonding that will occur during “On Different Trails.” The challenges presented during the process are not designed to be completed easily. The instructions provided to the participants will be limited, and cooperation and problem solving skills will be vital to their success.
The experience will have the effect of humanizing the person on the other side of an issue. So often, people on opposite sides of a contentious issue have never spoken to or interacted with the opposing side in real life, if at all. Individuals often exist in an echo chamber in which they will never experience the opposite side of the issue. But in the immersive “On Different Trails” experience, the most contentious issues fall by the wayside as the most basic human needs at the base of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs are struggling to be met, causing the participants to bond on a much deeper level than any shared political beliefs. At the end of the experience the partners will have more respect for each other, and their respective beliefs and backgrounds.