There are so many interesting places to visit in the world and I've come to realize now that even though I'm only in my early 70s and still healthy, I don't really have a lot of time left to go exploring. Sure, over the years I've managed to see a good bit of the world, including far too many repeat visits to tourist destinations like London, Paris and Venice, but it's a big planet and I don't have the time or patience any longer to keep seeing the same things over and over. Plus, I want not just to see the world, but I want to have learning experiences that will provide at least the impression that I'm not wasting my time with travel entertainment like lying on a beach. I want to come away from my trips with broadened perspectives regarding geography, history and culture.
I've learned the best way to accomplish this, for me at least, is to travel with guided tour groups. It's so much easier to focus on what interests me when I don't have to worry about trip logistics. I've traveled with a few tour companies like Globus and Trafalgar, but the best I've found so far, and I have no inclination now to experiment with others, is Road Scholar Tours. In my limited involvement with Road Scholar -- just five trips now -- the company has provided excellent accommodations, exceptional meals, outstanding guides, and fascinating agendas. And unlike those other tour companies, it's rare for a Road Scholar agenda to include stops at tourist attractions and hokey gift shops. I am sold on Road Scholar.
I've begun to divide my Road Scholar experiences into two broad categories: cultural understanding (the Central Europe and Crete trips) and adventures (the Galapagos/Ecuador, Bhutan and Africa trips). All have been wonderful experiences, but it's the adventures that make my heart race, make me feel alive, satisfy my most optimistic expectations for Road Scholar. This "Classic Safari" was an adventure of a lifetime, an unforgettable eye-opener to of a part of the world I had known only through reading and the movies. But now it's real to me, a land where all those "zoo animals" actually exist in the wild, live in balance, move to the rhythms of nature. And I was privileged to see it, guided by generous and knowledgeable experts chosen by Road Scholar. As for our primary guide, James Kiptoo, "Kip," was a fantastic leader, a gifted naturalist and a worthy representative for Road Scholar. Calm and reserved, eyes like an eagle's, he was a fount of knowledge with regard to the land we explored, he kept us engaged and happy, and he handled all details of the trip with aplomb. I'd travel anywhere with him. This was just a fantastic trip and I recommend it without reservation.
Here's our route through Kenya and Tanzania. There was lots of driving over a few nice highways and lots of rough dirt roads, and there were even a couple of flights in single engine bush aircraft. The whole trip comprised a couple of the most wonderful weeks in my life.
-- Bill Anderson --