Brittany Jones Cooper—Rafa Ortiz was born and raised in Mexico City, and started kayaking as a kid. Today, he is one of the most well respected and adventurous kayakers in the world, known for steering his boat off of 100-foot waterfalls in some of the most exotic locations on the globe.
Yahoo Travel met up with Ortiz at the GoPro Mountain Games in Vail, Colorado to see what it’s like to have the coolest travel job in the world.
Rafa Ortiz and Brittany Jones-Cooper strike a pose before kayaking down the river. (Photo: Brittany Jones-Cooper)
Yahoo Travel: This has to be the coolest job….every day you’re out in nature. What is that like?
Rafa Ortiz: Yeah, it’s the coolest office ever. Me and my kayak in the middle of nature…it’s amazing!
YT: I’m sure there are rivers around the world just calling your name. What are some of your favorite places to kayak?
RO: For kayaking it has to do a lot with traveling because every river is different, so we look for different seasons in different places. I guess my favorite place would still be my hometown in Mexico — Chiapas is paradise. One of the best places ever.
And maybe something a little more distant — I really like kayaking in India, right below the Himalayas is beautiful.
Rafa’s philosophy is life is to “die exhausted.” (Photo: Rafa Ortiz/Instagram)
YT: Can you even count how many countries you’ve been to?
RO: Ah, I don’t think I can right now off the top of my head! But I’ve paddled every single continent and just about everywhere. Still, I’m missing some places in the middle east. I’ve done Pakistan, but I’d like to kayak in Kazakhstan, there are a lot of rivers there.
YT: I feel like a lot people want to kayak, but get nervous. What are some tips you could give people about getting out there for the first time.
RO: I think the biggest tip would be to find a proper kayak school and to find some proper gear and proper instruction. Rivers are unpredictable and it’s good to be with professionals in the water.