Blog - Amazing Journeys
Wanderlust Blog

Here at Amazing Journeys, we’re lucky to have the best jobs in the world—and we think our good fortune is worth sharing. So, when your next journey seems like a distant dream, take a few minutes to explore our WANDERLUST blog—it’s chock-full of engaging tales and helpful tips from our travels around the world.

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What Do I Miss Most About Travel – Erin

Tuesday, July 21st, 2020

by Erin


One of the many things that I have inherited from my father is a love of photography – capturing the life of a country, the beauty of nature or the fun of a situation.  Now don’t get me wrong, I have still been taking a lot of pictures in these months where we have not been able to travel, but it still feels like something is missing.

To be able to go to a new destination and experience it is a feeling like no other.  To be able to remember all of the amazing things that you did is nearly impossible.  That’s why I try to document as much as I possibly can, knowing that when I come home, I will be able to re-live all of those moments again while going through my pictures.

Before digital photography, I would average about a roll of film a day, taking pictures of the things I saw, but limiting myself to the number of shots available.  Now, I click, click, click all day long and go through the pictures after the fact, allowing myself to be more in the moment and try to capture everything.

Like many of you, my pictures usually just live on my computer and I don’t do much with them.  But one of the projects that I have committed myself to during this pandemic is to go through my years of travel pictures and print a few that I want to feature on the wall in my living room.  Rather than just going through them on my screen, I want my pictures to come to life.  Not only to brighten the walls of my house, but also to bring a smile to my face.  Each picture is a memory and a moment in time that I remember fondly.

So even though we may not have the opportunity to take pictures of new countries and cultures for now, that is no reason to put away your camera (or cell phone).  Keep snapping away to recall what is happening in your daily life now, and know that one day, your pictures will start to be of new things and they will bring new memories and stories, as well!

What Do I Miss Most About Travel – Malori

Tuesday, July 14th, 2020

by Malori

From the time I was a little kid, maybe 10 years old, I had a fascination with everything travel. I used to ask my parents to take me to our local airport (LAX in Los Angeles) which thrilled me to no end.  The hustle bustle, the sights, sounds and smells.  Hearing announcements in languages I couldn’t understand. The luggage stacked up on the runway, waiting to be loaded into the belly of the planes. The board announcing arrivals and departures for sites unknown. People gathering from all different places on earth, traveling to countries far and wide.

 In the international terminal, as I walked from gate to gate, I was virtually transported around the world, hearing different languages as people headed to what I had imagined to be all places wonderful. I used to imagine why they were going to wherever it was they were headed.  I’d make up probable scenarios in my mind.  Some were most likely off to explore an exotic destination that one day I’d like to visit myself!  I’d see lots of travelers, perhaps returning home after a visit to our country, or maybe meeting up with family they hadn’t seen for a long time. I would listen closely for different languages being spoken, an occurrence  that still fascinates me.  To this day, when hearing someone speaking a different language or with an accent, I enjoy engaging them in conversation and eventually asking where they’re from and most likely, I’ve been there.  The fact that I have seen their country which they miss and are certainly proud of, breaks down many barriers and we enjoy knowing that much more about one another.

I remember being at the airport with my parents, picking up my Aunt Shirley and Uncle Marv who had just landed after a once-in-a-lifetime dream trip to Hawaii.  As passengers started arriving with their individual boxes of souvenir coconuts and pineapples in hand, each passenger was adorned with flower leis made of orchids picked and strung just prior to their five hour flight from Honolulu to LAX. The airport gate was laden with orchids and everything smelled so sweet! I couldn’t wait until I was old enough to travel to Hawaii.

I am in love with the design, art and architecture of airports. Each one is truly unique and each were considered modern at the time in which they were built.  I love how the logistics work both inside airports and coordinating all of the flights internationally.  I love the individual airlines logo, colors, uniform design and everything about them as I scurry through airports worldwide. When I graduated college, earning my degree with a focus on Commercial Interior Design, I wanted to design airports or hotels.  But living in Mobile, Alabama at the time of my first job post-graduation, there were no architectural or design firms in the city building airports…or hotels.

My favorite airport?  I love all the features designed into the Singapore Changi Airport. Having won the Best Airport Award seven years in a row, you quickly learn why.  With relaxing forested areas and the world’s largest indoor waterfall, a butterfly garden, a movie theater, swimming pool and world class restaurants and shopping, this airport earns the top spot.  My favorite domestic airport is Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson Airport. Built in 1980, I was one of the first passengers coming through this modern airport and they have kept it growing and modern ever since.  My favorite feature is the art galleries placed all over the airport, each with different themes and always changing. My favorite artwork is between Concourses A and B. Besides interesting sculptures in the center of the underground walkway, and murals lining the sides of this 450 foot passage, most people don’t look up to see the most interesting ceiling covered in art, an installation called Flight Paths. This walkway has sounds of rain, simulated lightning and thunder and is missed by most travelers. The worst airport?  In my opinion, it’s Charles de Gaulle in Paris.  It’s so spread out, it’s larger than most cities in Alaska.  Maybe all of them!  You have to allow hours to navigate between flights and it always seems to be under construction. Terminals and gates are labeled nonsensically and you’ll find gates and terminals labeled with F12H and KA12T and the like.  I’ve been through CDG a plethora of times and I still don’t get it. You have to leave and reenter security at least once per plane change and typically, your terminal isn’t on the train system and they shuttle you from terminal to terminal, using back entrances, stairways and alleys.  What a mess!

While I realize most travelers look at airports as an inconvenience, and the length  of time spent mid-air as a “boring part of travel which must be endured” to get to the destination which is the real excitement, just know that for some of us, “it’s the journey and not the destination.”

What Do I Miss Most About Travel – Stacey

Tuesday, July 7th, 2020

by Stacey

What do I miss about travel?  The food!  Churros con chocolate in Spain, empanadas in Argentina, tagine in Morocco, pho in Vietnam, samosas in India – my mouth is watering just thinking about it!  There’s nothing better than sitting down to a meal and enjoying the local food, the surrounding, and the company.

Actually, the only thing better is popping by a street vendor to grab something on the go so I can keep exploring.  One of my favorites was a simit that we grabbed from a cart in Kusadasi, Turkey – imagine a huge, puffy, flatish bagel, covered in sesame seeds.  Yum!  Or there was that time in Mykonos, Greece that we got crepes with nutella and ice cream!  Okay, that sounds like a great idea until you really think of eating a hot crepe, on the go, in hot Greece.  I think we left a trail of melted ice cream behind us as we walked and tried to eat it as quickly as possible.  Sitting on a bench in Budapest enjoying a huge, doughy pastry, curled into a coil and covered in cinnamon sugar.  Using my rusty French to order a baguette and munching on it while walking down the street of a small town.  Grabbing a pint at a pub’s outdoor seating in Dublin.

These are moments that pass so quickly; decisions that are made in a split second – “I must eat that” –  but they just stick in my mind and make me smile.  I can’t wait to pick up where I left off.

What Do I Miss Most About Travel – Michele

Thursday, July 2nd, 2020

by Michele

EVERYTHING!  Having been in the travel business my entire life, I can honestly say there isn’t anything about travel that I don’t miss.  I started dreaming about flying and sailing all over the globe at a very young age.  I vividly recall playing “pretend airplane” and “pretend ship” with my cousins when I was a very young kid.  The moment I had an opportunity to pack, you didn’t have to ask me twice, I was ready!

One aspect of travel that I can say I miss the most is the people.  Whether it is the locals I have the opportunity to meet and learn about; their country, culture, and cuisine or if it is the special group of individuals I travel with, it is the people that make every destination… amazing!

There isn’t anything that brings a place to life or can ingrain the experience more than the people that love it and take pride in it the most.   The locals have a unique way of sharing their knowledge with you that opens your heart and mind in a way that can’t be matched.  Tell me about your community and family, tell me how you came to do what you do and why, tell me about the beautiful architecture and the history behind it.  I love hearing it all while on tour or over a coffee at a neighborhood cafe as we people watch together.  Nothing can bring a place to life like a local.

And YOU – our group of amazing travelers.  Sharing the experiences with you is what makes travel special.  You may consider yourself a client when you first call, but you become part of the family rather quickly.  Everyone has their initial call and their first trip sometimes calling with questions and maybe a splash of hesitance?  What I always share with everyone is that within minutes, you will feel part of something special.  This isn’t just a feeling our passengers get, it is what we feel right along with you!  We certainly form bonds and those have truly enhanced my life.

Moving Forward – One Step at a Time

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2020

by Malori

I’ve been working in the travel industry since I was in college.  I took a few side jobs while studying, in order to be around the world I love. While performing the tasks at hand, I would daydream, seeing myself in all of those exotic locales and enjoying people from other cultures. So it should be no surprise that during my first full-time travel job after graduating college, I earned the nickname, “I’ll Go Anywhere Asman” because I truly would go anywhere!  If there was a learning opportunity in Houston, I’d be the first to volunteer.  Visit Nashville?  Yes, please! Lead a group of country western fans from a radio station to Las Vegas? Sign me up! That was actually my first group, leading me to a career in escorting over 10,000 people around the world! I’ve dedicated my career to travel, as have our amazing team of Erin, Stacey and Michele.  Each one of us never imagined ourselves doing much of anything else and each of us started on our “dream job” path during our teens.

How is Amazing Journeys and our devoted team coping during this crisis?  I’ve seen crises in the past.  9/11.  The Gulf War.  The Financial Crisis of 2008-09.  Each one had a huge impact on travel, and as an industry, steps were taken in order to re-start travel and help those with trepidations, to travel once again. But this time is different.  What we thought would be a few weeks turned into a few months. Through it all, we are reevaluating next steps, all while taking care of our business, customers, employees and families.  While some areas of the world are beginning to open to tourism once again, there are still challenges to overcome before we are ready to take those first steps to board a plane.

Here at Amazing Journeys, we’ve been keeping busy.  Since the very beginning, we’ve been able to entertain and keep our travelers connected with engaging online programs such as Travel Trivia, Lunch and Learn, Happy Hours, Shabbat and more.  We’ve hosted hundreds and hundreds of cheerful participants and have enjoyed the engagement we have been missing so much.  While it hasn’t replaced our need to be with our travelers in person, it has fulfilled a need for our community to all be together, laughing, talking and interacting about that which we love…travel.

This pause in travel has given us an opportunity to reset our priorities, thinking about what’s really important including health, safety and our collective well-being. We are of the opinion that we would rather cancel a trip than cause undue concern for anyone’s health and safety and so we have done just that.  We’ve focused on what we can do moving forward in how to best serve your travel needs.  Changes have been made to the number of travelers we will host on any given trip for the comfort and safety of our travelers through 2021. In addition, we have been working with suppliers who can offer us more lenient cancellation terms, or insurance programs which allow cancellation with little to no penalty, closer to the date of travel.

For nearly 25 years, I have traveled over 100 days a year for work, and adding to that, traveling to visit family.  But I’m really enjoying being home much more than I thought I would!  When I’m not planning new trips, proofing contracts and reading industry journals, I’ve rediscovered what it’s like to have time to relax. I’ve rediscovered what it’s like to have down time in some of my favorite nooks and crannies of my house and yard, and time to sit in my favorite spot on a side patio with a book or catching up with friends and family. I set a goal to do at least three active activities each day and so I go for long walks, hikes, bike rides and have several fitness routines I can do at home.

We spend time in nature and on the three rivers in Pittsburgh, visiting with family and recently, adding visits with friends, socially distanced of course. This pause in travel has taught me I’m certainly not ready for retirement any time soon and I am ready to hit the road as soon as we are comfortable doing so.  And it’s definitely taught me while I am comfortable alone with myself, I love being around people and that includes all of you!  I really miss our time spent exploring and discovering our world together, and having a great time while doing it!