I really dislike starting off this blog post with the word COVID, but here we are. Like it or not COVID now defines daily life and that is especially true in the travel context. For me, the question has been how to balance safe traveling with actually traveling and it took me a while to sort out what that meant. Personally, it means traveling with health and safety in mind but the key part of that is traveling. I’m not going to stop traveling, that much is for sure. That being said, over the last couple of years the only trips I’ve taken have been short and easy as I got used to the new reality. I was excited though to once again return to the life of experiential travel, so when I was approached by legendary tour company Globus, I knew that the stars had aligned. This blog post isn’t meant to be a comprehensive look at my tour or even the company. No, it’s meant to share the feeling of travel today and how Globus helped facilitate me getting out of my shell and back into the adventure that is travel.
What is Globus?
Globus family of brands traces its history back to 1928, when founder Antonio Mantegazza started using a boat to take commercial goods across Lake Lugano in Switzerland. Since then the company has grown and evolved into what it is today, one of the largest travel companies in the world with more than 30 tourism and aviation business under its umbrella. I’ve actually traveled with Globus family of brands before both on Monograms independent trips as well as luxurious river cruises on Avalon Waterways. This trip though was with a part of the company that was new to me, but which serves as the company’s backbone – Globus. Tours offered by Globus are fully escorted and take many different forms in every corner of the world. One reason why I was drawn to this particular trip though was because I didn’t have to travel far in order to enjoy a transformational experience as I learned more about beautiful Northern California.
One of the few benefits to being locked down in the US is the incredible diversity we enjoy in terms of travel experiences. Urban or rural, snowy or beachy we have it all which also means it would take multiple lifetimes to truly experience it all. The Globus tour I enjoyed lived up to this idea, promising to expose me to places both familiar and new, the ideal mix if we’re being honest.
Starting in one of my favorite cities, San Francisco, the California Dreamin’ tour takes guests to Sausalito, Sonoma, Sacramento, Lake Tahoe, Mammoth Lakes and Yosemite over 9 days – the ideal pace to enjoy what I consider to be some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world. What made this particular tour even more special was the inclusion of YourChoice excursion options. I think many of us have an outdated idea of what escorted touring looks like, but more and more people are demanding (and receiving) options when they travel, and this trip with Globus was no different. In Sacramento, Mammoth Lakes and Yosemite I had several options of what to see and do, perfect for my own particular way of travel.
I’ll be posting a more thorough day-by-day review of the trip, but I wanted to share some initial thoughts about Globus before releasing that epic tome. This was not my first escorted tour, but I haven’t done very many and I wasn’t sure at all what to expect. To be very honest, there were no negative moments for me and only wonderful surprises where I didn’t expect to find them. Some examples include:
Making great friends – After so many years I don’t know why this still surprises me, but it does. When a group of people share the same travel experience they tend to become great friends with each other very fast, and that’s especially true in this instance. Spending more than a week with each other, enjoying the same special moments on the road is a bond that is both hard to describe but equally difficult to dissolve. It’s a wonderful way to make friends because you know that the friendship is based on a very real shared experience; a stronger base than many of my other acquaintances.
Loving unlikely places – I would never have decided to spend a couple of days in Sacramento, California on my own. The end, full stop. However, that’s what was included on the California Dreamin’ tour and you know what? Sacramento was the sleeper hit of the entire trip. I really enjoyed everything about it, but wandering around the historic center at twilight, watching people out with friends and family on their way to dinner was a personal highlight for me and I can’t thank Globus enough for exposing it to me.
Freedom to explore and enjoy the adventure – I first visited Yosemite in May, just a few months before this trip and the difference in my experiences could not be more stark. On my own I spent the night 30 minutes from the park entrance and when you add the additional 2 hours of driving within the park just to get anywhere, it was a lot to do. Then I had to contend with not knowing where to go or what to do and of course parking, the dreaded activity for any popular National Park. With Globus though, we stayed at an amazing hotel mere minutes from the front gates but the best part of the tour was the fact that it was a tour. I didn’t have to drive and instead could relax as we made our way to the amazing Yosemite Valley. It may not sound like much, but it enabled me to enjoy my experience in ways I wasn’t able to on my own.
I have so much more to share, but I wanted to start things off by talking about the tour concept and to be honest about my experiences. My ultimate takeaway is to give every travel style a try, because you never know what you’ll love most until you do it!