Lover of Adventure and Laughter, People and Life

Jeffrey ‘Jefe’ Brian Salz

March 1, 1953 – April 28, 2021

The Wonderful, Beautiful Always Uplifting - Jeff Salz

Jeff Salz died on April 28, 2021 of Covid in Cuenca, Ecuador, the home where he and his wife Jaffe had put down roots and spread branches of love throughout the community. And as word rippled out around the world, mental flags flew at half-mast, mental sails drooped in the wind; the hour stood still. What Jeff’s countless friends long suspected can now be confirmed:

‘Jefe’ was a visitor from the Planet Pun, a warm-hearted imp searching for love, meaning and connection who, encamino, infected everyone he met with the same. 

Armed with unflagging curiosity, endless compassion and a wicked wit, Jeff explored, instructed, yarned and danced his way into hearts across continents, cultures, time zones and theaters.

Born March 1, 1953 in Newark, New Jersey, Jeff grew up in West Orange. But West Orange was not nearly West enough for Jeff so at age 16 he decamped from his childhood home and hitchhiked to Arizona and Prescott College. Somewhere enroute he picked up a bum lamb which dutifully followed him around campus. It was the 60’s.

A solo ascent of the Matterhorn in Anaheim, California and survival for several days in Jungleland ignited his exploring/adventuring career and got him, briefly, arrested.

But climbing was in his blood and became his lodestar.  A climb on Mt. Fitzroy in 1973 ended in tragedy but cemented, forever, his love affair with granite and gravity.

In 1975, Jeff ‘s calling as a teacher began as a founder of San Diego-based Boojum Institute,  spreading the gospel of adventure and education, two themes that would guide him through life. At Rancho San Luis, in the remote mountains of northern Baja California, he met Chato and Lydia, also warm-hearted imps, who became ‘abuelos‘ to Jeff and a vibrant mob of Gringo and Mexican adventurers. A teaching position at San Diego State University (Wilderness and the Human Experience) followed as did an MA in Experiential Education and a Ph.d in Cultural Anthropology. 

As a founder of Yolla Bolly Institute, Jeff joined a new crew of cohorts offering treks to Nepal while taking the first steps in his professional speaking career.

Jeff and Kate married in a Tibetan monastery 1992 and had their family and community wedding in Del Mar in 1993… Jeff adding ‘husband’ to his expanding resume with typical Salzian fanfare on horseback.

In 1996 they moved to Idyllwild, California where Yeshe was born and Jacinto (Jack) followed in short order, proudly adding ‘father’ to the resume.

Jeff was a loving and rambunctious daddy, punning and yodeling while teaching the ways of the wilderness, comedy and love.

A naturally gifted storyteller, Jeff suffused his speaking work with insights into life and work, joy and despair; insights all hard and happily earned in adventures around the world from South America to South Asia, New Jersey to New Zealand.

His speaking engagements filled the auditoriums of corporate America and he was ultimately inducted into the National Speakers Association’s “Speakers Hall of Fame”.

He was a natural in front of the camera, starring in adventure documentaries. He advised movie projects, provided expert perspective on national TV talk shows, and wrote not one, but two successful books. Jeff drew energy from those around him, amplified it, and returned that energy as inspiring, educational fun. Jeff and Kate divorced in 2001 but as partners in raising Yeshe and Jack remained close friends on shared family travels.

When Jeff met Lisa Jaffe in 2009 it was a melding of minds, hearts and boundless spirits. They married in 2017 and Cuenca, Ecuador became their new home and their shared, grand adventure.

Somewhere on an astral plane there is a very long park bench or maybe a cosmic kiva where Jeff stories are being swapped.  Ed and Lenore sit with Chato and Lydia flanked by Layne Longfellow, Steve McAndrews, Randy Udall, DJ Knowles, Jim and Mary Rice and Mike Buckley. Romero the Wonder Dog chases passing comets. They are warming up for the arrival of the storyteller’s storyteller, eager to groan at his puns, tell stories and …dance.

Jeffrey Brian Salz is survived by his sister Carole Dlugasch and her husband David, his niece and nephew Howard Dlugasch and Jana Dlugasch Humphries and their children, West and Liv Humphries, first wife Kate Pruefer and children Yeshe and Jacinto Salz and his loving wife, Lisa Jaffe. 

He is also survived by those many living souls who can’t help but smile at the thought of him.

We will miss you every moment sweet ‘Jefe’!
But we will keep you close in our hearts always.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory of Jeff, please visit the TREE PEOPLE website.

Share This Story, Choose Your Platform!

Send PHOTOS, VIDEOS of Jeff and We Will Post them Here:

Adventure allows us to see things we have never seen before…
and see familiar things in ways we have never before see them.


Your most effective, satisfying, creative life.

An organization based on synergy,
exploration and innovation.

A world of vitality, curiosity, wonder
and 24/7 inspiration.

Discover What Dr. Jeff Salz Can Do for You

(Click On a Bubble Below)

“Dr. Jeff Salz is a master presenter, storyteller and teacher. Steeped in the cross-fertilizing disciplines of anthropology, adventure, teamwork, peak performance and communications, he has spent his life exploring and charting the crossovers between the ordinary and the extraordinary.

He is one of the few speakers that can educate, entertain, and have you laughing and crying—all at the same time. I have been a fan of his thinking, writing and teaching for decades – and am always dazzled by the continued evolution of both his presentation skills and his hopeful ideas about life.”


Ken Dychtwald, Ph.D. CEO Age Wave

Author Bodymind, Age Wave, Healthy Aging and With Purpose: Redefining Money, Family, Work, Retirement and Success.

Who Is Jeff Salz? And What Can He Do for You?

“If anyone currently alive deserves the
term swashbuckler it is Jeff Salz.”

–Layne Longfellow, Ph.D., CPAE, Legendary Speaker, National Speaker Association

Dr. Jeff Salz – acclaimed ‘America’s pre-eminent anthropologist-adventurer’ by the Discovery Network and History Channel – has led over one hundred wilderness, mountaineering and anthropological research expeditions around the world – from the Celestial Mountains of western China to the steppes of Outer Mongolia – including a number of first ascents of summits in Patagonia and the Himalayas of India. He has served as CBS News’ adventure expert for the Survivor television series, and created and starred in documentaries for the Travel Channel.

Hall of Fame Speaker (click for video ) and author of the best-selling, The Way of Adventure: Transforming Your Life and Work with Spirit and Vision – Dr. Jeff is equally at home sharing stories with gauchos around a campfire in Patagonia or conducting leadership workshops in Silicon Valley for C-Suite suite executives at some of his favorite clients – thought-leading organizations such as Microsoft, Google, Walt Disney Company and others shown below.

What Some Recent Clients Have to Say
Best Selling Book on Amazon
Best Selling Book on Amazon
Companies that Love Dr. Jeff

Keynote Speaking Training and Events

“Easy times are the enemy…they put us to sleep.
Adversity is our friend…it wakes us up!”

–H. H. the 14th Dalai Lama

Jeff Salz
Jeff Salz

Adventure of Change

Leading in Turbulent Times

“Adventurers and adventurous organizations are
energized by uncertainty and adversity.”

–Jeff Salz, Adventurer, Speaker Hall of Fame

Learn the secret of how to create the ultimate competitive advantage in times of change as Dr. Jeff Salz reveals and explains The Six Steps.

Gleaned from 40 years of exploration and expedition leadership, the Six Steps are the essential lessons Jeff shares with the C-suite execs at some of today’s most successful organizations.

The Adventure of Change is Jeff’s most requested presentation. A dynamic combination of award-winning photography and powerful storytelling it provides inspiration and tools essential for innovation and growth in today’s unique business environment.

Participants will discover the ‘best practices of the successful adventurer’ – invaluable insights for enhancing professional and personal effectiveness – and the keys to mastering innovation and resilience in a world of unprecedented change.


“When it comes to building effective leadership teams by connecting individuals through their highest values, Dr. Jeff Salz is unsurpassed!”

Kevin Turner, Chief Operating Officer

Jeff Salz

Into Thin Hair

The Adventure of a Lifetime

Jeff Salz
Jeff Salz

“The end of life is the best, that’s why they save it till last.”

–Jeff Salz, Adventurer, Speaker Hall of Fame

What is the secret of a long and generative life? How do we inhabit every stage of life – especially our later years – in a way that insures a sense of optimal joy from start to finish?

Entertaining, provocative and inspirational, Into Thin Hair is the result of four decades of anthropological investigation – from the frozen hinterlands of Patagonia to the jungles of central America to the wind-swept Tibet plateau – in search the highest common denominators of humanity.

Join Dr Jeff Salz on the journey of a lifetime to discover the map that leads to the possibility of fulfillment and delight in every phase of work and life.


“More than a keynote…whole new approach to living. A bounding, leaping, imaginative ‘user’s guide’ to a life well-lived!

Into Thin Hair is a fresh approach to what it takes to live a rewarding life… from start to finish. It is also ‘must see’ for those involved professionally or personally in exploring the reality of aging in today’s society…which pretty much includes us all!”

John Cihomsky, VP, PR & Communications


Jeff Salz

Across Worlds

A Tale of Two Lives of Adventure

“Sharing our stories we discover how much we have deeply in common…and how insignificant are the things that separate us.”

–Dr. Jeff Salz

A unique keynote/theater experience for college and university campuses, organizations and associations.

An essential and timely theme. Across Worlds shares the secret of discovering the positive possibilities that can occur when contrasting lives meet and diverse cultures and ethnicities collide.

The uplifting and surprising story of two adventurous lives: an American mountain climber and a Lost Boy of Sudan. This unique multimedia, living-documentary event utilizes a symbiosis of storytelling, music (live and recorded) photography, and video.

The result is an uplifting synthesis of entertainment and inspiration that delivers a heartening vision of humanity that will remain with you long after you leave the theater.


Speaker Coaching with Dr. Jeff Salz

Speaker Adventure – Guiding You on
Your Speaker Journey from Start to Finish

Speaker Adventure™ helps speakers discover great stories, sharpen skills for today’s top venues, and attain the visibility necessary for unlimited personal and professional success. Whether you are an experienced speaker, entrepreneur, academic or author looking to find your way to a venue like TED, TEDx or similar venue … or a beginning speaker ready to take the next steps in upgrading your skill and career – our team of Hall of Fame speakers, TEDx organizer and coaches, speaker bureau owners and social media experts will supply with everything you need for your next step in your personal and professional adventure.


Here’s What You Get

  • Advanced Presentation Skills Coaching Session (90 Minute, One-on-One)
  • Advanced Story Architecture Coaching Session (90 Minute, One-on-One)
  • Perfecting Your Speaking Skills/Secrets to Successful Marketing Course (Three Hour Online Program)
  • Interactive Small Group Workshop (Full Day)
  • On-stage Presentation Experience (Full Day)
  • Three Camera Personal Promotional Video Camera Shoot (Shot/Edited)
  • Your Personal Speaking Website
  • How to Get Booked Q and A (Live, 90 Minute Webinar)
  • PLUS Lifetime access into The Speaker Adventure Academy Online Portal… Learn More
Apply Online Now


“The Speaker Adventure program is fantastic! A team of professionals covers virtually every foundation and all the nuances of how to market yourself… how to present yourself… how to architect a message that is powerful from the beginning to the middle to the end. They know what they are doing. It’s fabulous experience!”

Jonathan Wygant, Founder and CEO Big Speak, Inc.

Jeff Salz

What They’re Saying  About the Workshop

Into Thin Hair Adventures Expeditions of a Lifetime

Re-Awaken to the Extraordinary

Ecuador Adventure/Inventure!

“Jeff facilitates the most extraordinary journeys I have ever experienced. With Jeff’s help, I have learned how to lead by example, commune with my surroundings, and let go of what is not important. With Jeff Salz I have taken steps I never would have done on my own. If Jeff leads an experience, it will be life changing. Of that, I am sure.”

–Vince Poscente, NY Times Bestselling Author and Founder of The Heroes Climb

compass-1What To Expect

  • Small group format
  • Off-the-beaten track itinerary
  • Daily facilitated theme-based experiences
  • Interaction with local indigenous culture
  • Active exploration of bio-environments, eg., Mountain/Cloud Forest/Amazonia

Discover Ecuador
Re-discover YOU!

A journey into the beauty and diversity of Ecuador provides not only a connection to wild nature and indigenous culture but also an opportunity to discover how we can live every day with a sense of adventure and delight.

Brand New Itinerary for 2021

Join your inner/outer adventure tour guides Lisa Jaffe and Jeff Salz on a unique, facilitated journey into the heart of human possibility. Return with a revitalizing connection to a new place and a new life… of awe, optimism and enthusiasm for nature, relationship and the human spirit.

Dr. Jeff Salz with His Wife, Jaffe

Re-Awaken to the Extraordinary

A ten day trip to Ecuador – the hidden jewel of South America – offers an opportunity to explore the most biologically diverse country on the planet in the company of like-minded fellow adventurers while hiking in the highlands, biking and horseback riding at the foot of glaciers, discovering hot springs, waterfalls, exotic birds and wildlife in tropical rain forests.

Our itinerary features visits with indigenous communities in the high Andes and seldom visited jungle tribes in the Amazon headwaters … including rituals with traditional healers and shamans.

While exploring one of the most beautiful, interesting and diverse places on the planet, our objective will be – through facilitated discussions and informal seminars – to re-discover just how beautiful, interesting and diverse our own lives can be… every day!

We hope you can join us for what will surely be…The ‘adventure/inventure of a lifetime!

Our Next Departure
(please check back)

Please contact us for information about our next adventure.

Phone: 760-262-5000

Musings Fun Things for the Inventurous Mind

“Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend.
Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.”

–Groucho Marx

Expanding the Definition of Adventure

What is your next adventure?” is a question that audience members frequently ask. I never know how to respond. After a lifetime as an mountaineer and trekker, my answer might seem odd to some. Do I yearn for the summit of another distant peak? Well, yes. And no. Consider the

Re-Defining Adventure: The One Minute Mystic

The most beautiful and most profound emotion we can experience is the sensation of the mystical. It is the sower of all true science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead. – Albert Einstein

Shangri-La Found

Through rutted winding streets of Kathmandu Dodging crowded humans, cows, dogs, rickshaws Everything moves like slow fluid in this atmosphere Thick as dreams With sewage, incense, dust and fever And the smoke of brick kilns and cremations Tom Kelly’s bike rumbles down – on the Tibetan side of town. My

Stop Being a Wise Guy and…Play!

You heard it here first. Serious work is about to become a thing of the past. Not because of robots and cybernetics but because a serious work ethic is an outdated approach to the exigencies of our time. And you, as an ever-adaptive human are going to have to start

“Yesterday exceeded both the client’s and my own expectations, and I thank you! It was a very rewarding process by which teams were able to cut through all the “stuff” and get to their core truth. The team discovered what was really important to their collective identity and I believe they are ready to face it now as a team rather than as individuals.”

Zoe Bennett – Senior Manager, Global Leadership and Organization Development
Disney Consumer Products

Jeff Salz

Onward! Time To Soar!