Greetings from Gatineau, Quebec!
I've been continuing my nature tour of the homeland by coming out to Gatineau Park for some kayaking and the lovely serenity of the forests in the final week of August.
I had the pleasure of meeting some members recently while at an event in Toronto and naturally we of course got into a conversation about travel, which interestingly centered around one of the big challenges in travel - how does one overcome the 'never-on-our-radar-before' problem?
Thank you for sharing your passion for travel and helping us choose from wonderful destinations; some maybe we would never have considered. We appreciate your efforts to bring together like minded travelers with the quest for positive connections, new adventures and wonderful memories.
I am pretty certain that even for myself the best travel experiences I have in front of me are to places that I know very little, and possibly nothing, about. They are 'known unknowns', offering lots of potential excitement but infuriatingly little in the way of how to actually find out what they are.
And, as tourism continues to expand, getting beyond the destinations of the mass consciousness is more important than it's ever been in, as overtourism becomes a problem in more and more places around the globe.
We try to bridge the gap here at Wheel & Anchor by putting together trips that are often a bit outside what people are familiar with. It's an endless quest of figuring out how to capture the essence of a country without going to the places everyone and their aunt will be visiting.
Take our programs through France and Italy next year; we aren't doing Paris or Venice or Rome, but instead the Canal du Midi, Corsica, Sardinia, Puglia and more.
In Amalfi we'll be staying outside rather than inside Sorrento, the gateway to the Amalfi Coast, and similarly when we stay in Locorotondo instead of Alberobello, the main attraction in Puglia.
The difference in all of these is mainly the feeling of being surrounded by locals instead of being surrounded by travellers, which is increasingly what happens in any major destination.
Nothing wrong with travellers of course! But there's no question it detracts from grasping the authentic vibe of a place when you can't find any locals around.
The challenge on our end is that most travellers don't know anything about places like the Canal du Midi, Locorotondo, or Puglia etc and therefore aren't looking for it per se. It's hard to decide to go somewhere when you don't really know where you're going!
I think it's a big thing to take anyone's advice when it comes to travel, and it's certainly not a requirement to take mine to stay in this community or travel with us 🙂
However this is why you will find that in most of our programs we will be staying slightly - and occasionally very - off the beaten path in places you may never have heard of. We then explore the hotspots as strategically as possible, and enjoy taking in the vibe of the quieter moments from quieter locales.
All of this is reflected in the latest trip we're releasing this week, our Island-Hopping in Greece program happening in May 2024.
The vast majority of travellers make it to the islands via a large cruise ship, spend a few hours off the ship on each and then hustle back on the ship for dinner. Makes sense for seeing lots of islands; but what you gain in convenience you definitely lose in spectacular sunset dinners and waking up on the islands.
For this trip we will be island-hopping by local ferries and spending several nights on the islands, thus allowing us to get as many of those dinners in as possible, and explore far beyond what one could fit in a few hours off a ship.
Also, relative to what I was saying about visiting places you might not know of, we'll spend a few nights in the lesser-known islands of Paros and Naxos, while also spending a few in Crete and Santorini. It's a mix of well-known and less-so, with the main advantage being spending more time on the islands themselves, and rubbing shoulders with the locals as we make our way between them.
You can find the full itinerary in your newsletter should you be curious, and do get in touch should you have any questions.
I'll leave it there for now, stay tuned for lots more upcoming trips and webinars. I'm off to try and make the most of this final weekend of August, and I trust you'll do the same 🙂