The Mayan calendar, created more than 5,000 years ago, inexplicably ends on Dec. 21, 2012, causing some to predict the end of the world. As a result of this speculation, the Wildland Adventures team took the opportunity to reflect on if they had only one more trip, where would it be? The results ranged from Africa to India and Patagonia to Turkey.
“So many of our clients reach out to us for that milestone trip, that one special place they have been dreaming about visiting all their lives, or returning to with loved ones,” says Kurt Kutay, president and founding CEO of Wildland Adventures. “The Mayan calendar reminds us to live every day and we are encouraging everyone to even start to research how and when they can make that special journey, even our team at Wildland.”
Wildland Adventures Vice President Anne Kutay chose India. Having been to the subcontinent twice already, Anne still feels she has a lot to learn about the mystery that is India. “Perhaps it can’t be explained and must be experienced, and that’s what I would do. I would savor India slowly,” says Anne. As one of the most sought after destinations, Wildland Adventures offers six inspiring itineraries for India in 2013 that vary from 11 – 19 days in length. Designed for individual travelers, families and veteran adventurers, these itineraries give an excellent overview of the many ‘crown jewels’ offered throughout India for international travelers, with the goal of always connecting with as many local people as possible.
Rachael Garrett, director of operations, said she would want to travel to Kenya with her five year old daughter who has recently developed an insatiable hunger to know everything about how Africans live, what their houses look like, and what at they eat. Wildland Adventures’ Maasailand Safari: Living Among the Maasai trip takes travelers off the beaten path to join a Maasai warrior for a bushwalk to learn about daily life; and spend days in a Merrueshi village, sharing stories with elders and discovering the fine arts of beading, traditional healing, music-making and dancing.
“This trip would answer a lot of my daughter’s questions through hands-on experience with a traditional African culture, instead of me trying to answer her in just words,” says Garrett. “I can picture her face at the end of a day there – the joy of experiencing it all first hand.”
Marketing Manager Jonathan Burnham thought this was the toughest question to ask a person whose passion is travel. “I pondered between choosing somewhere new or returning to a place that I love,” says Burnham. “But I have to give in to my desire for exploration and go somewhere new. I would want to go to Patagonia with my dad; I’ve spent my whole life dreaming about it and would love to share that experience with him.”
In one of the most spectacular hiking areas in the world, Wildland Adventures’ Hiker’s Patagonia trip allows travelers to explore among the mountain peaks on undulating trails that contour past turquoise lakes, waterfalls, hanging glaciers, and the pampas where guanaco roam and condors glide. Each day of this Patagonia adventure tour in Chile and Argentina presents different hiking options including two non-technical mini-treks on Perito Moreno and Viedma Glaciers, with numerous opportunities to photograph wildlife.
Kirsten Gardner, program director for South America, chose Turkey. “In December my partner and I are going to Turkey for the first time. It’s just a short trip with three days in Istanbul,” says Gardner. “But I suppose if the world was going to end and I didn’t have to return to work, I would just stay!”
For travelers similarly interested in exploring Turkey, Wildland Adventures’ Highlights of Turkey tour visits three of Turkey’s most important cultural and political centers: Istanbul, Cappadocia and Ephesus. In Istanbul, travelers visit lavish palaces and enjoy gourmet cuisine in local restaurants; in Cappadocia, visit the early-Christian rock-carved churches and descend into the honeycombed underground cities of Kaymakli and Derinkuyu; and in Ephesus, tour the Temple of Artemis (one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World) and visit the rural Aegean village of Tire to interact with the local Turkish people.
And for Kurt Kutay, someone who pioneered authentic adventure travel over 25 years ago, his destination would be a return to Costa Rica where it all started when he worked for their National Park Service. To Kutay, “the rainforest feels like home, the Garden of Eden from whence most creatures have evolved and can still be found today.”