Here we go, around the world!
Marge's great ear-rings, which she auctioned off in Iceland at the end of the tour.
And this is it! The final blog for the World Tour - Northern Hemisphere, 2007!
What an adventure. You've read some of the comments from some of the passengers. I believe I can honestly say that this trip changes lives!
We have been on camels, elephants, planes, tuks, feluccas, dhows, dune buggies, water taxis, buses, (and more buses!), and horse-drawn carts. We have walked, climbed, sat, eaten, had a few drinks, danced, shopped, talked, visited, and danced some more. We have had long days and short days. We have had adventures in Nairobi and free time in Dubai. We have seen the sun rise and the sun set in the same day. We have dined under the full moon in Africa and in Egypt! We have laughed (thanks most often to the Ripleys!), we have reflected, we have napped, we have hugged, and we have cried. We've been patient and we've been impatient. We've had our eyes opened and we have had lots of opportunity to count our blessings. We have travelled the world and yet stayed connected with family and friends, thanks to technology and this blog. I mean, really.........who DO you know that travels the world on
da plane, da plane!
a private plane???????? We've had the best service in the world, thanks to Icelandic Air. The take-offs have been smooth and the landings have been just as smooth! We did experience a few bumps as we flew over the Equator, and that was just amusing! We've had nice rooms, great pillows, comfy beds, and a few interesting toilets (heated in Japan........and with a view in Hong Kong!). We've had sushi, curry, lots of fish, plenty of rice, food we cannot pronounce and food we cannot forget! But most of all, we've had the opportunity of a lifetime!! "Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some stay for just a short while and leave footprints on our heart, and we are never, never the same!"
(Comment from Heather Machel, Cambridge, Ontario: "I really don't have the words to describe how wonderful the trip was.
It started the minute we stepped on the plane to meet the beautiful and handsome crew and how well they treated us. A champagne kick-off on every journey isn't bad at all. The sights of course were all extraordinary - that is why we were there. It must be a daunting task to
organize a trip like this but it was done and done very well. Our green group was absolutely fabulous. They were all very friendly and inclusive which was a concern that I had as a woman travellilng alone. This is the first trip that I have taken by myself and based on this experience I will certainly do it again. At no time did I feel excluded and was delighted to often hear my name called to come to sit with someone at their table It was great to get to know the people in the other groups as well and I really felt that we all became somewhat of a family - if only for the 4 weeks. Pat, I know you must have been counting heads in your sleep but that attention to where everyone was helped me to feel secure and safe - knowing that you or someone in the group would miss me if I didn't turn up when expected. That counts for a lot when you are on your own. This truly was the trip of a lifetime. The word 'awsome' is used too often but it is the only word that I can think
of to describe how truly memorable and fantastic this trip was from start to finish. Pat, you were fabulous as our green leader. You have the right qualities for this job and in spite of all the hard work that you girls did on this trip it was great to see how much fun all of you had as well. Thank you for an amazing experience.")
(Comment from Ed and Marge Keegan, La Quinta, CA: "Our adventure started by being greeted by the crew of Icelandic Air. As we settled into our seats and were served champagne by six beautiful flight attendants, we knew we were off to an adventure we would always remember! Reflecting back, as we write this, ther are only good and better memories. We touched all classes of people from the riches in Hong Kong and Dubai, to the poorest in Cambodia and the Samburu village in Kenya. Food, sights, smells, sounds, touch......our five senses were on overload. We saw wonders from the ruins of Angkor Wat, Daibutus, the largest bronze Buddha, the beauty of the Taj Mahal, the mystery of the pyramids, and the beautiful city of Prague. More than a
or just in weird places......
at the Floating Village in Cambodia
thousand pictures fill our digital camera. A trip full of experiences that are difficult to explain and are best lived. Thank you Travel Guild for all the work your team did to truly make this adventure a lasting memory! We are looking forward to the next!)
While I had asked a few people to provide me with their thoughts about the trip, my original intent was to include just a few words. However, yesterday, I received a lovely e-mail from Susan Killoran in Portland, Oregon. She gave a great over-view of her own experience and I felt that her entire note should be included. So here it is:
"It was quite a fluke that I came across this trip. I had been looking for a place to travel as a single female, but it’s not always easy to find an adventure that doesn’t terrify relatives knowing I would be alone. I looked at a few tours, but it was impossible to decide on a country, much less a region as they all seemed like fun. But this summer I met Seth through my sister, and we decided to travel together on an extended trip. We practiced
first by taking a 5 day trip north of Seattle to the San Juan islands, Victoria, and Vancouver. We had a fabulous time and became focused on planning a longer trip in November. As we left Vancouver, I picked up the newspaper and read the travel section on the drive home to Portland. I read the Travel Guild’s ad for their Northern Hemisphere trip and thought it was the craziest thing I had ever heard of. I didn’t even realize there was such a tour available! 11 countries in 28 days—how could that even be organized? As I read the details (everything is included, transportation is on a private jet, bags are hand delivered to the hotel rooms, etc) I thought it was the most amazing travel opportunity, so I did my research and checked out every tour company that offers even remotely similar tours. To my delight, this tour was almost half the price of any competitor, and once I arranged the time off, I was set for a trip of a lifetime. And believe me, I am a skeptic—I called every agency to verify Travel Guild’s credentials, and found Pat’s blog to be a wonderful personal impression of
Here are some of my thoughts from the tour:
Most impressive sight: It goes without saying that the Taj Mahal and the pyramids are truly world wonders, but Angkor Wat in Cambodia was my overwhelming favorite. It’s massive scale in height and area, the Khmer history, it’s location in the jungle, all make for jaw-dropping days of exploration. And the Cambodian people are so warm and friendly, I can’t wait to go back for an extended trip to that area.
Favorite 30-second moment: Having an elephant rush toward our bus in Kenya—I think he was having a bad day and wanted to be alone J. He didn’t get very close, but the adrenaline rush of having a 6-ton animal focused on you was quite an experience.
Favorite dinner: Having dinner under a tent in the desert moonlight in Dubai. Wow, that was a night to remember—camel rides, henna tattoos, wonderful local food, live music, belly dancing—we all felt like we were kids at the best birthday party ever.
Biggest Surprise: The nightlife in Rekjavick, Iceland. The flight attendants are based in Iceland, and offered to take us out on
a night on the town. It is a happening city with all the nightclubs, restaurants, bars, and high-end shopping that you would expect only in cities like New York. At 3:00am there were lines 20 deep to get into clubs, and the streets were crowded with people having fun. I expected Hong Kong and Prague to have a great nightlife, but this was totally unexpected and soooo much fun!
Biggest relief: The attitude of the people on the tour—I was thrilled that everyone seemed to have the kind of optimistic, enthusiastic, and appreciative outlook that is so important while traveling. I think I would have left immediately if the tour was filled with sniveling complainers J
Only difficulty: So much to see! There were wonderful, informative tour guides in every country, and we spent a lot of time exploring and learning the history and culture of each destination. Even though we had some down time, we were still constantly on the go to try to see as much of every location as possible. It takes a few days to recuperate after returning home!
I think this tour is perfect for singles, for the adventurous,
and crawled through pillars
Susan, on her way to heaven.....crawling through the hole in the pillar in the temple in Japan.
and those who are young at heart (I like the saying that when you get over the hill, you pick up speed!). It gives such a nice overview of the best sights in the world to see, and allows you to see them without the usual travel hassles. Then it’s up to you to decide where you would like to return and spend more time. Now I’m spoiled, and to continue this lifestyle at home, I will need to hire a driver, a chef, a personal assistant, etc!
Now I am excited to get the word out to Americans and to all ages since you should take this kind of once-in-a-lifetime trip as early (and as many times) as you can! The repeat travelers are the greatest indicator of the tour’s success, and I plan to be one of them!
And now, as I say farewell to all you faithful blogg-ees (is that a word????), I thank you for your faithfulness, your comments, your messages, for passing on the blog address to others who enjoyed it, .........and I know some of you are addicted to the blog, so all I can say
at this point is..........see ya next year! Life is short. Enjoy the moments. (Travel Guild also has shorter tour options......check them out.......www.travelguild.com They really do an outstanding job!)
As you head into 2008, I leave you with some words of wisdom (many of which were shared with me by Noel Chapotelle on the trip). Merry Christmas and remember to live your life by intent! And dream big, because dreams do come true.
How to live a happy and rewarding life:
Take time to smell the roses.
Take a nap on Sunday afternoon.
Drink 8 glasses of water a day.
Never deprive someone of hope... it might be all they have.
Be thankful for every meal.
Don't be afraid to say I'm sorry.
Don't take your health for granted.
Improve your performance by improving your attitude.
Listen to your children.
Leave everything a little better than you found it.
Keep it simple.
Keep good company.
Keep your promise.
Be kinder than necessary.
Take good care of those you love.
Make it a habit to do nice things.
Make it a habit to do nice things for people who will never find out.
Wear outrageous underwear.
success by the peace, health and love in your life.
Be a good loser.
Be a good winner.
Enjoy real maple syrup.
Never refuse homemade brownies.
Never give anyone a fruitcake.
Remember other people's birthdays.
Sing in the shower.
Don't expect money to bring you happiness.
Be forgiving of yourself and others.
Never give up on anyone. Miracles happen every day.
Say thank you a lot.
Say please a lot.
Take your dog to obedience school. You'll both learn a lot.
Don't rain on other people's parades.
Don't postpone joy.
Don't blame others. Take responsibility for every area of your life.
Take care of your reputation. It's your most valuable asset.
Count your blessings.
Marry only for love.
Do more than is expected.
Be there when others need you.
Never sell yourself short.
Never be ashamed of your patriotism.
Never be ashamed of honest tears.
Always keep hope alive.
Travel while you still have your health!
Bye for now!
(Thanks, Mom, for encouraging me to take this trip in the first place last year, and for your on-going support and encouragement to take the trip again this
our lunch on the felluca on the Nile
year! I love you lots!)
Happy, Happy Pat!
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