Trips Archives - Amazing Journeys

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Wanderlust Blog

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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Under Construction

Tuesday, March 31st, 2020

by Erin

The Seven Wonders of the World… UNESCO World Heritage Sites… 1,000 Places to See Before You Die – there are plenty of lists out there of destinations that you should put on your bucket list, but what happens when you finally get to that place and it is under construction?

Millions of people travel each year to these top rated destinations, but in order to keep them upright, clean and open for viewing, there is required maintenance to keep the buildings intact.  Or sometimes, the original building is still taking place years and years later.  Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, for example, began construction on March 19, 1882 and is still taking part in its original build.  The Taj Mahal in Agra, by comparison, was built between 1631 and 1648 and has been completed since then, but needs regular maintenance to keep the building clean and to prevent the four free-standing minarets from collapsing.

So if you get to one of these famous places and it is surrounded by cranes and tarps and construction materials, don’t get upset.  Just realize that this is happening out of necessity to preserve the buildings for years to come and either help to document the construction or get creative with your picture taking!

Dressing the Part

Monday, March 23rd, 2020

by Erin

Have you ever been to a party and found out too late that you were not dressed appropriately?  You are either dressed up too much or are not fancy enough… it’s enough to throw you off your game for the entire night.  Sometimes, just dressing the part makes you feel more comfortable and makes you feel like you fit in.

We have found that one of the most fun parts of travel is donning the garb of the locals!   And not just grabbing a hat for a picture, but really dressing the part!  Like each of the four times we have brought a group to India, one evening is spent dining at a local home wearing sarees, bangles and henna.  We are dressed by experts so we are sure to wrap them the right way, and it is just such a fun experience to look truly local.  Also, you get an instant souvenir (but have to figure out when you get home just how to wrap it correctly on your own).

If the opportunity doesn’t always present itself on land, you make your own party on a ship and dress local.  Each time we are in Greece, we strip the bed, wrap ourselves up in sheets and host a toga party!  The cabin stewards may not appreciate the party as much as we do, but we sure know how to make an entrance into the dining room with a crowd clothed in sheets!

And if all else fails and you don’t have the time to match your outfit to the locals, just figure out what it is that makes them unique and copy them in any way that you can!

Standing out in a crowd

Monday, March 16th, 2020

by Erin

One of the reasons we travel is to see different cultures, meet different people, eat different food and experience different customs.  If you are not willing to do any of those things, you might as well stay home.  

In some destinations, the only thing giving up the fact that we are tourists is that we are traveling everywhere in a group, following a sign, wearing tennis shoes and walking with our cameras up and taking pictures of everything – besides that, we look like everyone that surrounds us.  In other places, we stick out even more, standing out in a crowd, clearly announcing that we are not from here and not quite fitting in.  But in the latter instance, I have always felt welcomed with friendly locals greeting us, showing us something that is unique to their culture or practicing their English with us.

I find that one of the most rewarding parts of travel is people watching and interacting with those that we are visiting.  I encourage others to say hello, not shying away from the fact that we are different or do not speak the same language, but rather trying to find our similarities with creative communication.

I’ve also found that the less we look like the locals, the more they want to take pictures of us and with us.  Walking around China and India, a group of white Americans stood out and we were virtual celebrities in certain places where the locals are not use to seeing foreigners.

So when you are traveling, don’t be shy and hide behind your camera – jump in the picture, make a new friend, interact with the locals and make a memory in a new country!

Weathering the Storm

Friday, March 13th, 2020

by Malori

You have no doubt been inundated with information regarding the coronavirus. This is not the first time since our founding two decades ago that a global event has led to uncertainty around travel, and it won’t be the last.

I want to assure you that your well-being now and in the future is of the utmost importance to us. Those who are traveling with Amazing Journeys on upcoming trips have received personal emails throughout this crisis. We are monitoring the COVID-19 situation via the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control, and the State Department. We trust their information as well as the on-the-ground advice from our travel partners and our in-country partners and staff to make educated decisions about our trips, while not overreacting and keeping it in perspective among the other potential risks we may encounter in everyday life, whether traveling or at home.

For those who have reached out to us with concern over our well-being as a company and as individuals during these trying times in the travel industry, we thank you for your concern.  I have weathered many storms during my tenure in travel and I know from experience it’s all about having the right raingear.  We are well-positioned to ride this out.  Fortunately, I am the sole owner of Amazing Journeys and can make quick and well-informed decisions. I run a debt-free operation and have since day one.  What does all of this mean?  Amazing Journeys is here for the long-run.

I strive to be a responsible citizen and so I have asked my staff to work from their homes for the coming days and possibly weeks. As always, please feel free to contact any of our team at any time.

Email: info@amazingjourneys.net
Phone: 412.571.0220
Please be sure to leave a message so that we can return your call

As your Amazing Journeys family, please remember that we are here for you now and in the future. It was travel that brought us together in the first place and not only will we get through this together, but we look forward to traveling together for many years to come.

We thank you for your complete trust in Amazing Journeys and hope we see a day in the very near future when our adventurous travelers are back on cruise ships, tour busses and planes, heading once again to the destinations of their dreams.  And when you do, we hope that you will allow Amazing Journeys once again to help you indulge in your wanderlust.

Wishing you good health and comfort in the coming weeks,

Malori and the Team at Amazing Journeys

Indescribable Antarctica

Wednesday, March 4th, 2020

by Erin

It has been said that the only people who can describe Antarctica are those who have never been, and I could not agree more!  Having been home for a week now, I am still processing the fact that we stepped foot on Antarctica – the frozen continent – and am having trouble putting the experience into words.

The scenery was breathtaking and truly indescribable.  I found myself fighting with my camera because it wasn’t taking pictures that could capture the beauty, grandeur, immense scale and vastness of what I was seeing with my eyes.  Videos weren’t doing it either and the only thing that I could do was stand there, in that moment, and try to commit everything to memory – the chill of the air, the sound as the ship sailed through icy water, the sun reflecting off glaciers and the height of the mountains that surrounded us.  We experienced all types of weather, and in each one, the lands and waters surrounding us was different.  My favorite part was hopping into a zodiac, sailing away from the ship and finding a quiet spot just to sit and observe.  And in the age of Facebook, Instagram and getting that truly post-able picture, I also reminded myself just to be in the moment.

Traveling to such a remote destination, a continent that only 51,000 people visit a year (less people than it takes to fill a football stadium), is not easy.  It took 10+ hours to fly to Buenos Aires, 3+ hours to fly to Ushuaia, 2+ days cruising through Drake Passage and potentially some of the roughest seas on Earth, but when you wake up, look out the window and see massive icebergs floating by you, you realize that it is totally worth it!

Each stop that we made was different – there was a day where we walked around with penguins and climbed to the top of a ridge for a beautiful view, a day where we visited an Antarctic research station, a day where we walked around the edge of a once active volcano and a day where we went ice swimming.  Each experience was unique and even those who have been to Antarctica will have experienced something different as each sailing charts its own course depending on the weather conditions.

While I am still trying to wrap my head around the fact that I have now been to Antarctica, and have the daunting task of going through over 3000 pictures, I don’t think I will ever truly grasp the sights that I saw, the silence that I experienced or just how magical nature truly is in a destination as untouched as Antarctica.

What Was The Craziest Gift You Have Ever Received?

Tuesday, February 11th, 2020

Amazing Journeys has been honored and blessed to have received a multitude of gifts over our 20 years of trip planning and guiding.  I want to say right from the start, we are not encouraging gifting on our behalf – we are honored by your patronage and presence on our trips and that is the only gift we are hoping ever to receive.

Of course, we have received the traditional gifts of flowers, pictures, stuffed animals, edible fruit, deli trays, lunch for the staff, candy, jewelry, hats and books.  We are always flattered to receive them and are so grateful at the kindness behind the gift.  The cards are thoughtful and usually contain  notes of thanks for an amazing trip or once-in-a-lifetime experience but more often, they are thanking us when we have introduced them to their basherte, “saved” them from natural disaster or introduced them to a destination that they never thought they would visit.

On a recent trip to South America, someone asked, “what was the craziest gift you have ever received?” That brought to the forefront an entirely different category!  We wanted to share with you what we think are the most fun, craziest and most loved gifts we have received. The photo above speaks for itself… yes, there is an Amazing Journeys bra, a moose hat, bedazzled underwear and so much more!

Thank you to those who have honored us over the years with your appreciative nature, your fun and enthusiasm, and most importantly, your friendship.

We are so grateful~
Malori

AJs 20th Anniversary!

Wednesday, January 29th, 2020

Bluebird of Happiness

Wednesday, November 27th, 2019

Keep your boarding pass off social media

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2019

So yes, it is unlikely that someone would make the effort to mess with your travel plans, it is just as easy to keep your information safe – particularly in this time of identity theft and cybersecurity concerns.

Travel and Animal Welfare

Wednesday, September 4th, 2019