How I Design a Trip
My intention is to design travel experiences for people who do not wish to travel on their own, nor do they wish to travel with a large tour group. My groups usually have from twelve to twenty people. We travel often as the locals travel, and the traveler has the sense of exploring the area without the homogenizing effect brought on by large numbers.
I feel the design of a trip is my personal art form and creation. I love art and literature, and I approach the design of a trip in much the same way a writer creates a story or a painter paints a picture. I want my trips to tell the story or paint the picture of a region or place we are exploring.
I begin the process by seeking to get to know the area as well as possible. I go there, travel to the cities and countryside, and let the essence of the area sink in. At the end of this learning process, I think through the “composition” of the trip from a physical and spiritual perspective. Once I have done this, I begin the design of the itinerary.
When I design the itinerary, my guiding concerns are pace, tempo, location and experience. While I may have traveled to ten places, I try to determine which five tell the essence of the region’s story and give the greatest visual and spiritual experience. I would rather experience and immerse myself in five places than “see” ten places at a hurried and frantic pace.
Once I have determined the sites to be seen, I then give attention to an itinerary which allows us to see the region at a tempo and pace which allows us not to just see the area but to experience it as well. I try to build in blocks of time when we explore together as well as free time which allows individuals to make exciting discoveries on their own.
In the end I try to create a tour which not only allows a person to travel through a region but to experience it, and allow the trip to affect the traveler’s daily thoughts and lifestyle.