At the end of a typical Backroads day, I find myself well fed, happily tired and awe-inspired by what I just experienced. I drafted this blog from a hotel balcony in Dinard, just across an estuary from St. Malo, reflecting on yet another one of those wonderful days. What particularly struck me about the day was how much my kids learned without even knowing the trip was actually educational. I’m sneaky that way.
In French, ‘castles’ translates to ‘châteaux’ and throughout the country there are many châteaux that embody the extravagance of French nobility from centuries past. The epicenter of this 16th to 18th-century lifestyle was the Loire Valley, located two hours southwest of Paris and the perfect setting for royal summer escapades.
I’m often asked how I found my job leading Backroads trips… Fate. Magic. Luck… Well, perhaps a combination of those things. It’s a unique story that involves a photography exposition, a small community in northern Chile and two random backpackers high in the Chilean mountains. And it’s a story that put me on a path to helping develop a brand new Backroads trip for this coming December in a corner of South American that is easily one of my favorite places in the world.
Welcome to Split, capital of Dalmatia and the second-largest town in all of Croatia. Thanks to the unstoppable style of its natives, this bustling city-by-the-sea is a fantastic place to visit and one of Eastern Europe’s best-kept secrets.
My husband and I love to travel. Years ago, we were on a trip to Paris and we took a day excursion to the Loire Valley. As we traveled by bus through the countryside, I was stunned by the beauty yet dismayed to be seeing it from a bus. We are active people and I was sure there had to be a better way!
Crossing paths with the thousands of olive trees strewn on the surrounding hills, it was hard for me to imagine that behind them was the most enchanting city I would encounter in Spain: Granada. It now makes perfect sense as to why Backroads offers an Andalucía bike tour that ends in this magical city.
Iceland is frequently referred to as “the land of fire and ice.” It is an otherworldly landscape and one of the few places on the planet where volcanoes and glaciers coexist. But with its spectacular waterfalls, hot springs like the Blue Lagoon and a sea rich with Viking lore, Iceland should be called the land of fire, ice and WATER!
I’ve been fortunate enough to have taken a considerable number of Backroads trips. Friends will therefore not infrequently ask me how to choose among the selection of trips Backroads offers. My first response is to choose one at random. Every Backroads trip is excellent! But that answer usually isn’t wholly satisfying to folks. So let me present some other criteria I’ve used to differentiate among trip options.
My friend stands at my side eagerly pumping the brakes of his sleek road bike; ahead is another divide in the road. We are in the Sierra del Rosario forest, a birdwatcher’s paradise and nest of Las Terrazas eco-community, close enough to reach Havana by pedal–easy enough if you are a passionate Cuban cyclist, but it still highlights your struggle (and that of your compatriots) to live a life with no vehicle of your own.
Set in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, the world’s most remote island chain, Hawaii is a melting pot of different cultures from around the world. With its rich cultural heritage and diversity, you may hear myriad languages being spoken here. Learning some key phrases in Hawaiian (or Hawaiian pidgin) is a fun way to prepare for your trip to this island paradise!
Whether it’s swapping stories with a friend or traveling with a group of Backroads guests on our Douro Valley River Cruise, I can’t help but share all the fascination and stories about port wine production and the country of Portugal. It’s all just so darn good.
If I could describe India in one word, it would be just that… Incredible. I was recently gifted the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience our India Multisport Tour. Journeying through the northern state of Rajasthan in Backroads fashion is more than just an active vacation–it’s an experience. India truly is a place to live and to learn.
What if you could increase your chances of living a long and healthy life just by changing the way you get to work? A new study has now revealed that if you trade in your car or bus commute for your bicycle, you could add years to your life! And unlike squeezing in a visit to the gym, commuting is something you have to do so why not make the most of it?
For the last seven years, I have been an outdoor guide: three years of working on guest ranches in Wyoming and Colorado, and four as a Trip Leader for Backroads. For me, working with my hands, outdoors and with people is what truly brings me to life. And you can throw travel in there as well. Finding a connection with someone from a completely different culture, who perhaps speaks a different language, is an experience so gratifying that I have forever pledged my allegiance to the strong and ever-growing global community of wanderlust junkies. This is why it pleases me deeply that the United Nations has declared this year–2017–as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development.