As travel agents, much of our time is spent planning clients’ trips, solving logistical challenges, and researching. I am often drawn to itineraries or locales my clients choose, resulting in a long list of “someday” trips I’d like to take. When it comes to my “dream trip”, there is no question: a cruise around the world, complete with a land tour component in each major city.
My goal for this trip would be to experience the countries, cultures, histories, peoples and cuisines of the world first-hand, not just to sightsee. With that in mind, I have a strong preference for shore excursions that provide travelers with a tangible experience to treasure, rather than whirlwind bus tours that leave travelers with little more than a panorama of discombobulated images. Unfortunately, working in a full land tour in each area is next to impossible, but since I am dreaming…
I wish I could combine all the wonderful ways to explore Alaska into a single tour. In Hawaii, I imagine an inter-island tour encompassing the sunrise over Mount Haleakala, touring the natural wonders of Molokai, an authentic Hawaiian luau, and leisure time on Poipu Beach. Next would be visits to the pristine islands of the South Pacific. In Australia and New Zealand, apart from seeing the Great Barrier Reef, the Outback and the major city highlights, I would tour some of the best estate wineries, visit Kangaroo Island, and witness the ritual of the fairy penguin parade on Philip Island.
After that, my tour of exotic Asia, land of my family’s heritage, would begin. I would immerse myself in all the unique sights, events, culinary delights, and possibilities for one-of-a-kind experiences the Asian countries have to offer.
Continuing westward, I would want to visit my husband’s native India. To avoid extensive overland travel, I would insist on flying to the most popular destinations from the port city and touring fully escorted, possibly requiring a multi-night stay in each given city.
The opulence of modern Dubai, navigating through the Suez Canal, and visiting the ancient wonders of Egypt would all present opportunities for new adventures, the conclusion of which would be our entry into the Mediterranean. Having traveled extensively in this region, I would plan more unique, less touristy experiences. For example, enjoying authentic paella cooked over an open fire on a beach in Spain or a walk through a lavender field in Provence.
Sailing north, I would like to spend a significant amount of time exploring northern Europe, Scandinavia, the Baltics, and Russia. I would be tempted to debark from our oceanliner in Bergen, and take Hurtigruten’s 12-day round-trip voyage to experience the Norwegian Fjords, no matter what time of year. And when it comes to Russia, I’m not sure the overnight in St. Petersburg would do it justice, especially during White Nights.
Owing to the fact that I would eventually have to come home, after concluding the tour of Europe, I would set sail back across the Atlantic to Nova Scotia. Hopefully I would arrive in time for the fall foliage, which I haven’t seen in years. Then it’s down the eastern seaboard, paying homage to my childhood origins in the south before heading to parts of South America for experiences new and different, then transiting through the Panama Canal, and finally ending my journey back in Los Angeles.
Would this be a dream trip or my ultimate challenge as a travel professional? Both. As there is no single supplier or cruise that can offer this type of voyage, most of this trip would have to be pieced together—if it even could be. But a girl can dream, right? And, should something like this ever come to fruition, I believe I would be my own toughest client indeed.
Adrienne Mitra is the owner of Celebrations International Travel, Inc., an independent agency focused on serving a number of niche markets, including culinary travel, cruises, tours, and group travel. Phone: (480) 272-6020