by KELLEY GUSICH

Bucket List: Michael Baum has recently returned to Rancho Peñasquitos after spending several years learning and teaching the art of adventurous living. He is a UC Irvine summa cum laude graduate in the field of Cognitive Psychology, but his experiences as a San Diego native and an outdoor educator at UC Irvine and in the mountains of San Bernardino have really shaped the design for his life. Michael has been a zip line instructor, high ropes facilitator, archery and rock climbing instructor, as well as outdoor survival teacher. Through these activities he learned he was able to watch and help hundreds of individuals overcome personal trials, develop self-confidence and create pride in their accomplishments. “I absolutely loved being a part of helping people succeed at whatever challenges they took on,” noted Michael.

Thrill Seeking Growing up in San Diego offered Michael a wide variety of climates, activities and experiences. “I love everything about Park Village – from the weekly neighborhood parties to running trails throughout the preserve,” said Michael. “It really is a great place to live!”. Passion for his home town and the outdoors inspired him to come back and start the business of Heart-Pounding Adventures, an adventure travel company that offers opportunities for jet-pack flights, gliders, speedboats, trapeze, off-roading and more.

Adrenaline Rush Michael attended Park Village Elementary, Mesa Verde Middle School and Westview High School. As a founding member of Westview’s improvisational comedy team, he is excited to be back helping Westview as the improv coach and referee. He has also led workshops throughout the year. Michael commented that the students “are truly a gifted bunch of performers!”

Heart-Pounding Because of his love for improvisation and adventure it might surprise people to know Michael is extremely safety-conscious. As the company’s owner, he only partners with the best vendors and equipment, and develops emergency safety procedures for virtually every scenario that could occur. “In this way, I know guests can have an amazing time while also remaining safe!” he asserted. When asked where he sees himself in the future, Michael said, “…I have created a work environment that is active, engaging and fun. I see myself doing almost exactly what I am doing now in the future!”