An Old Twist on Exciting New Adventures

By+Linda Jenkins

A WORLDWIDE CONNECTION

My grandparents were very adventurous. My memories of these two Boston gadabouts are from photographs of them traveling on camels in the desert of Egypt in the late 1920s—my grandmother in a long skirt and big hat with a veil and my grandfather in a three piece suit and what look like “spats”. Both are smiling and into the moment. They loved to travel! They had a group of friends with whom they would often cruise on freighters to Cuba where they would dance and gamble, and then they would continue down the coast of South America. Quite often they would not have an exact itinerary as the ship was picking up and dropping off freight of sugar or bananas, etc., along the way.  One of their favorite trips was on the Orient Express through Europe to Turkey. They made stops in France (because they loved Paris and all its romance) and Germany or Italy to hike the Alps and visit more museums—so exotic! My grandparents also sailed the Atlantic from New York or Boston on one of 15 different ship lines sailing weekly to the continent. Remember, this was all before the airlines were flying daily to Europe. My point is that if you wait long enough, “everything old becomes new again.”  We are seeing a resurging interest in travel to more enlightening destinations in ways many of us have never before traveled.

The days of sitting on a beach and watching the world go by may be becoming passé. Today’s singles, couples, retirees, honeymooners and families are looking for more stimulation.  Through movies, television and the internet, we have had the world open to us and our children. The possibility of experiencing something “different” and “unknown” has lost its mystique.  We want something more in our lives to connect us to the rest of the world, and I think we have come to realize how valuable our time is. We want to do a better job of using and sharing it!


HISTORY LESSONS

Today, organizations like the Smithsonian Institute and National Geographic organize group tours specializing in specific interests.  From visiting the beaches at Normandy to studying the ruins of Machu Picchu in Peru, their lecturers and guides are specialists in their respective fields—providing expert commentary on the historical, cultural or scientific heritage of a locale. These types of vacations are growing in popularity, especially among retirees and baby boomers using their free time to pursue educational interests.

Another growing market is religious travel. While people have always been interested in their own faith and its origins, we are finding the interest in immersing ourselves in another religion can be quite stimulating. A few years ago I visited Thailand and Cambodia and was truly blessed to have shared several days with some Buddhists. What a lovely and peaceful faith they have. Probably my favorite trip was to Israel, the birthplace of so many faiths. I have a photograph of my father from 1952, standing in front of the big olive tree in the garden of Gethsemane. Forty-five years later I stood in the exact same place. Walking in the footsteps of Jesus was a very remarkable experience. It was so amazing to think we stood in the same villages 2000 years apart. Several years ago my clients decided they wanted to go to Lourdes, France to visit the Shrine of Bernadette. They enjoyed a Catholic tour that made sure they saw all the important cathedrals and shrines. If you are interested in the history that shaped your religious beliefs, there are tours offered for every faith and religion.


WHAT'S YOUR PASSION


As a member of Bon Apetit magazine’s Travel Board, my favorite vacations include food and wine. Several years ago we took a small group to Paris for a cooking trip. We prepared dinner at Escoffier, took several wine tasting and hands-on cooking classes—what a great trip! We have also done trips to Santa Fe, Italy, New Orleans and other areas of France. It’s such a fun and delicious way to experience a city or a country. We have customers who are only interested in wine and have arranged drivers to escort them to private vineyards not only in Europe but the United States, South America and Australia. If this is your passion, what better way is there to learn about wine and how it is made? By the way, some cruise lines offer special wine cruises—a wonderful way to travel and become a oenophile!

Perhaps you have a hobby you would like to develop. Two customers who were weavers enjoyed having me find interesting places in the world for them to take classes and buy yarn. We have arranged tours to the Chelsea garden show in London and visits to the gardens of some of the most beautiful chateaus and palaces in the world for several clients who enjoy gardening. Some who work with glass enjoy vacationing in places where they can learn new techniques or use different mediums.

Have you ever wanted to play baseball like the major leaguers, take the stage like a rock star or uncover history in an archeological dig? Well now you can! Fantasy camps for adults allow you to take a vacation and give you an opportunity to do that thing you’ve always wanted to do.


NOTHING LIKE FAMILY


The multigenerational family travel market is growing quickly. If you are searching for a perfect family vacation, there are some excellent resorts that meet the needs of all age groups. We’ve found resorts are actually
now working harder than ever to make vacations a positive experience for the whole family. Parents—you can enjoy snorkeling, scuba diving or ziplining down a jungle path while your kids learn a local sport or craft with other young ones. Nothing is more fun than watching children handling and learning about turtles in Cabo or dolphins in Hawaii.

Looking for a life change? Volunteerism is another travel market expanding in new directions.  If you are interested in helping to restore a church or cathedral in Europe, or building an irrigation system in a remote village in Africa or Asia, several organizations are looking for volunteers. How about teaching English as a second language any place in the world? Most will take care of your food and lodging, but you would have to pay for your transportation.

No matter what your passion, it’s important to spend your time doing something you love and really enjoy. So splurge on a trip that will open your eyes to the wonders of the world... and find a travel agent who can help you make it happen!