With its prehistoric appearance, extraordinarily flying abilities, and intriguing name, the dragonfly has forever been a popular symbol in art and culture that has represented everything from courage, happiness, and summer (in Japanese culture) to swiftness and water (in Native American culture). In Europe’s Middle Ages, this dazzling insect was called the “devil’s darning needle” not only because of its long, slender shape but also because it was believed to be a servant of the devil. In Portugal, folks call it the “eye-snatcher” and in Wales, the “adder’s servant.” With its endless associations and meanings, it’s not surprising that many companies have included the word “dragonfly” in their titles or have used the creature as a mascot. In Dragonfly Expeditions’ younger days, we received occasional phone calls asking if we were related to or a part of similarly-named companies in Puerto Rico or South Africa. Although Dragonfly Expeditions does have several sister companies – for example, Green Heron Gifts and Windjammer Sailing Adventures – none of them have the word dragonfly in their title. The confused callers piqued our interest, so we did our homework on these other Dragonfly companies. And since I have been working with Dragonfly Expeditions, I have noticed even more dragonflies flitting about. Click below to unravel the mystery of the other dragonflies!
Dragonfly Adventures is a full-service DMC (Destination Management Company) in Puerto Rico. The seed of Dragonfly Adventures sprouted in 1968 on a remote ranch in the middle of the rain forest. The small company flourished, providing tours and activities to enchant visitors. Later, Dragonfly Adventures purchased a US-based DMC and several off-site venues. Dragonfly Adventures now operates a lounge, two hotels, and a restaurant. No other DMC on the island of Puerto Rico operates such a varied amount of off-site activities. Like Dragonfly Expeditions, this company offers bike tours, horseback riding, historical tours, walking tours, and more.
Dragonfly Africa began as a small hotel in 1979 and is headquartered in South Africa; the company has since evolved into one of the area’s leading DMCs. They specialize in adventure travel and operate on the Indian Ocean islands and in ten African countries, including Kenya and Zimbabwe. The company has won several awards in the global realm of group travel, which is quite rare for Africa. Dragonfly Africa also caters to individual travelers and is well known for exemplary creativity and service. Like Dragonfly Expeditions, Dragonfly Africa prides itself on its sustainability and strives to present an unequaled experience in which guests will learn about the ecology, history, and culture of a particular area.
The third dragonfly I want to bring to your attention is a product rather than a company; but it is close to home for both Megan Fries and I because it is located in Bloomington, Indiana – the town in which we attended college. Upland Brewery was founded just 16 years ago and is now the second largest brewing company in Indiana. The name “Upland” comes from the rolling hills common to southern Indiana. Upland was launched in an old building that originally stored ice before the days of refrigerators. The ice would be distributed throughout the town by horse-drawn cart. Upland is now the proud producer of seven diverse beers, including Indiana’s two top-selling craft beers: Upland Wheat and Dragonfly IPA. The brewery also produces a beer called Double Dragonfly Imperial IPA. Despite the recession, Upland has seen the tripling of sales in the past five years and has recently purchased a 150-barrel fermentation tank that barely fits in the building. Employees refer to it as “Gigantor.” I’m not a beer-drinker myself, but I’ll take the website’s word for it when it describes Dragonfly IPA as “a well-balanced, malty beer with the crisp taste of hops and an exceptionally floral nose.”
Some other interesting dragonflies:
The Dragonfly Company – A company in the United Kingdom that makes chain mail supplies and specializes in jump rings.
Dragonfly – A video game manufacturer in Korea that has released games like Infinite Blade and Karma: Operation Barbarossa.
Dragonfly Clothing – A company that produces clothing for bikers and operates under the slogan “Rock ‘n Roll Vision.”
DragonflyTV – A branch of PBSKids that entertains kids while teaching them scientific principles.
Every culture has its own belief about this mysterious insect; and as you can see, companies of all types have chosen the harmless and handsome dragonfly to be a part of their title and a symbol for what they do. Out of hundreds of species, we chose the Green Darner for Dragonfly Expeditions’ logo. As one of the only dragonflies to migrate, it’s a fitting icon for a company in the travel industry because the Green Darner is capable of covering 16,000 kilometers in one round-trip journey. Every time I catch a glimpse of a glittering dragonfly, I can’t help but think it is the perfect image to accompany our slogan “Purveyors of Uncommon Adventures.”