Jonathan Ronzio is a professional adventurer, award-winning filmmaker, international speaker, and founder of Explore Inspired.
I really got my start in the adventure travel scene after ditching normalcy and buying a one-way ticket to South America to see through a project I called Between The Peaks.
That was my first attempt at a real documentary and followed the story of myself and two friends attempting to climb two of the Seven Summits and volunteer in every country between them. From Argentina to Alaska. Spoiler alert, we ran out of money in Guatemala… let’s backtrack!
When I was 11, my 14-year-old brother started a video production company. He was shooting high school cheering and dance competitions, and I wanted in. I started as the cute kid at the sales table and manning the VHS-towers in our basement, duplicating tapes and shipping them out. Over the course of the next decade, I’d dig into audio and video production, branding, design, and marketing, and would travel around the states managing productions for clients like U.S. Figure Skating, MLB Media, Mercedes Benz, and the NFL Probowl.
Before graduating college, we had built one of the nation’s largest event video production companies. But in 2011, after graduating from Bryant University, I needed something different. Happening in the background throughout those years, my addiction to adventure was developing. I started hiking and climbing all around the Northeast, had a 5-month study abroad stint in New Zealand, backpacked around Europe, and was ready for more.
So I spent a summer in LA figuring it out, then packed up my life and moved to Colorado to start working on the dream that would become Between The Peaks. I spent the next year planning and training, getting ready for bigger mountains, sleeping in my car in Boulder Canyon and knocking on doors trying to get sponsors behind the project.
And then I just went for it! Spent my savings, maxed out credit cards, and had the time of my life with two great friends. We came back with a heck of a story to tell and for two years while editing the film on nights and weekends, I took a job managing content marketing at a Boston-based brand experience agency.
I had some fun there and learned a lot! My work even won some awards from the Ad Club. But once I was ready to release Between The Peaks, I knew I had to take another leap into the unknown and start something new and truly fulfilling for myself.
BTP ended up taking Best Feature Documentary at Mountain Film Festival, was translated into 3 languages and distributed internationally, and in that time I founded Explore Inspired.
Again, the risk paid off and I’ve been fortunate to keep chasing mountains, trails, and meaningful adventures around the world. I continue to work with some of the outdoor industry’s top brands and speak to thousands of people at companies, schools, associations, and conferences worldwide.
Now, I continue to push myself as a multi-sport mountain athlete, take the stage and speak as often as I can, co-host The Stokecast podcast, share adventure advice and inspiration through Explore Inspired, work with a few non-profits, play and write music whenever I can find any free time, and for something a little different, teamed back up with my brother to launch a software that helps small businesses get systematized. Also, somewhat randomly, I competed on NBC’s Spartan: Ultimate Team Challenge and got pretty into obstacle racing!
At the core of all this, I try to help people discover the confidence to escape comfortability and chase their own unconventional dreams while positively impacting the world along the way. Currently, I call Boston basecamp with my wife Alexandria, and our two pups, Benji and Ellie.
If I’m not traveling and out on some adventure, I’m either hanging with my wife and pups or working on these businesses.