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Here at Amazing Journeys, we’re lucky 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. Check out the most recent entry (at the top) or search by your preferred criteria. Consider it motivation for your next embarkation.

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The State of the Travel Industry

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

Malori and Stacey just returned from World Travel Market in London and are happy to report that all is good in the travel industry!  We met with tour operators and vendors from over 250 countries around the world as we planned and got ideas for future Amazing Journeys in 2012.  In addition, we attended lectures given by travel insiders from around the globe as they presented the state of the travel industry.

“Green” travel options were a big topic.  Vendors from every corner of the globe are stepping up to the plate to offer sustainable tourism, becoming more aware of water shortages, carbon footprints and taking a stand to keep the world from being overused.  Along those lines, we attended lectures on keeping religious sites truly sacred by limiting the amount of tourists at any one place at a given time.  It’s a responsibility we must all embrace if we are to have a world to share with the next generation.

Trends in growth for travel include Asia, leading the recovery from the 2009 economic downturn with more people visiting countries within Asia, as well as the “new middle class” within China who are beginning to travel within their own country and abroad.  Latin America is offering more adventure and sporting event opportunities with Brazil being the favorite destination.  Africa is getting ahead of the pack with “Space Travel” opportunities, offering travelers in-room telescopes to look at the night sky, night-vision safaris, Astro tourism, clear night skies in Africa and wants to actually take up traveling in space to compete with the US.  Adventure travel is appealing to more individuals than ever before and 85% of those polled worldwide, list adventure travel as a priority when making plans to travel.  And finally, there are the beginnings of interest in Iraq as a growing area for tourists (think Vietnam).

While in London, Stacey and I selected hotels in London for our upcoming British Isles trip.  You’ll love what we found and we can’t wait to share it with you in the coming weeks!

So there you have it.  We have toured the globe in only three days at World Travel Market.  Where do you want to go in 2012?  Now is the time to let us know as the planning has begun!

Scattered Among The Nations

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

For thousands of years since successive waves of invaders chased the Israelites from their ancestral home, Jews have carried their religion with them wherever they have gone. Living in the Diaspora, Jews maintained their way of life, gathering in communities to share their traditions. Others were touched by the faith of the Jews scattered among them, or by the words of the Torah, and bound their lives to this enduring heritage.

There are scarcely more than thirteen million Jews in the world today; most of them live in established Jewish centers like Israel and large cities in North America and Western Europe. But what many do not know is that there are Jewish communities in Africa, Asia, South America, even parts of Europe and the Former Soviet Union, in which the Jewish populations do not have white skin or do not live fast-paced, modern lives. Some of these communities exist in places so geographically and culturally distant from other Jews that they must struggle daily to maintain the religion of their ancestors.

These often tiny Jewish communities are fascinating. Some of them are ancient such as in Tunisia where the first Jews arrived 2600 years ago during the Babylonian Exile. Others are brand new such as the the Inca Jews of Peru who started practicing Judaism just a few decades ago. The small communities are recognizably Jewish with many of them observing Shabbat and kosher laws in the familiar ways one would find everywhere. However, each have customs reflecting their own “flavor” of Judaism. For example, in the tiny Jewish communities of Uganda and Zimbabwe songs written in Hebrew are set to African melodies; in India the Benei Menashe still practice ritual sacrifice of animals while the Bene Israel have their “Malida” ceremony which offers prayers, songs and bowls of fruits and flowers to the Prophet Elijah.

Amazing Journeys has toured 7 continents and save for Antarctica, have explored and enjoyed points of Jewish interest in places like Peru, St. Petersburg, Sydney, Buenos Aires and even San Jose, Costa Rica.  Yours truly was actually an invited guest on my extended “tour of duty” in Costa Rica back in 2003, to join a family—a big “machar” at the local synagogue—for Pesach Seder.  A totally unexpected experience; so amazingly different…yet so amazingly familiar.  Jews are Jews no matter where in the world they are, no matter what language their native tongue, no matter how mainstream or remote their neighborhood.

See below for some snapshots showing our fellow Jewish kinship from places you probably never thought of around the world:

 

 

 

 

 

Ugandan Jews are called the Abayudaya and here are some congregants and their Shule. They are found in the town of Mbale which is in the Eastern part of Uganda.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are five rabbis in Tunisia; and even several kosher restaurants. Yacov B’Chiri is a cantor of the Djerba, Tunisia Jewish community. B’Chiri has been playing lute, or ud, and singing Arabic and Hebrew songs since he was young, and has become a legendary voice of the Djerban Jewish community.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Over five decades ago, in the northern Peruvian city of Cajamarca, two brothers began a spiritual journey that would reshape their own lives and those of hundreds of others. After Alvaro and Segundo Villanueva Correa read the Torah, they eventually decided to embrace Judaism, forming a community in 1958 whose members strictly observed the Sabbath and the Festivals and kept kosher.

The group, which came to be known as the “Bnei Moshe” (or Children of Moses), makes no claim of Jewish ancestry. Rather, it consists of like-minded families and individuals who found their spiritual truth in Judaism and decided out of deep sincerity to join the Jewish people. They continued to practice Judaism faithfully over several decades, expanding to the city of Trujillo as well, and growing in number to more than 500 people.  Subsequently, nearly all of the Inca Jews underwent conversion by Israel’s Chief Rabbinate and made aliyah, thanks in part to Shavei Israel.

Out of Africa; AJers taking in the sights and sounds

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

Two weeks flies by when you spend it with friends…and wild animals. It hard to believe that on June 6, thirty Amazing Journeys adventurers embarked on a trek to the remote bush of Africa for 12 days and nights of exploring a world of unpredictability, randomness and unparallelled beauty. Over this course of time, we saw elephants protecting their babies, baboons strolling with their families of hundreds, giraffes “necking”, wildebeest migrating, lions lounging, buffalos chasing…..even cheetahs prowling and a leapoard just hanging out in a tree.

It was….Amazing!

Life in Africa is …Amazing!

Monday, June 14th, 2010





And Away We Go

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010

June 6-20th

Amazing Journeys heads to the bush of Eastern Africa with a sold out crowd of 30 Safari-ing Adventurers.

Wait until you see the images, and hear the stories!!

A Blockbuster Coming Attraction for Amazing Journeys…

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

An African Safari is a vacation experience like nothing else imaginable. There are no museums to visit or ancient cathedrals from the 17th Century…nor are there bridges to climb or ruins to be curious about.
Nothing’s been excavated to expose an Old City, steel skyscrapers don’t reach into the sky and traffic lights don’t control the comings and goings of moving vehicles. Basically, life in the bush is a life the way the world was invented. No rules, no timelines, no deadlines and no predictability.
Life just……..happens.
And like Forest Gump once said about a box of chocolates, “you never know what you’re gonna get.”
But one thing you do get is a journey of remarkable and unduplicated wildlife, scenery and randomness. Amazing Journeys is thrilled beyond words to lead a sold out private group of 30 adventure seekers to Tanzania and Kenya in just a few short weeks, beginning June 6th. What is in store for us is something that words will never be able to describe. So intead…we coin an old phrase: A picture’s worth a thousand words: