Hawaii. The paradise of the Pacific. It’s a place that stems jealousy every time you tell someone you’re going. And I get to live and work here. With its tranquil beaches, tropical breezes, exotic fruits and island pace, the Big Island—the youngest of all the islands—embodies all that is Hawaii.
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!
If the power of an engine can be measured by how fast it goes from 0 to 60, then a relationship with a Backroads co-leader runs at lightning speed. Meeting your co-leaders isn’t like meeting your average stranger. That first handshake says, “We are now friends, family, coworkers, confidants and sounding boards, and I have your back no matter what.” This is the best friend you just met.
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.
It’s pretty wild that last year, between the end of April and the first week of December, I didn’t sleep in the same bed for more than three consecutive nights. Somehow seven months flew by since that spring day when I packed up my temporary home in Marin County, California, as did my time in about ten states, four countries and who knows how many cities. And at the end of it, I was just weeks away from going to South Africa— my first time in any African country! This year is already just as action-packed.
As a Trip Leader, a phrase I find myself coming back to often when speaking to guests or potential guests about traveling with Backroads is some version of, “We take care of all of the annoying aspects of travel to let you enjoy the good stuff.” This philosophy applies to every trip Backroads offers, but after leading trips for two years, I can see no time that it’s more valuable than when my guests are traveling with kids.
In the 38 years since I founded Backroads, I’ve found a great deal of pride in knowing we deliver the very best active travel experiences. I’m passionate about what we do and what we stand for. No matter who you travel with, you deserve the best possible trip. If you ask the right questions, and hold your responders to their answers, you are much more likely to be successful. Here are the top questions to ask when choosing a biking, hiking or multisport adventure.
I’ve traveled with Backroads on eight unforgettable adventures and from my first trip to Vermont, I was hooked! I could write a book about why I love Backroads, but this is a blog, so I’ll pare it down to a few reasons why I continually choose Backroads over any other adventure travel company.
What is the Backroads Experience? It’s the feeling of your body in motion, with the wind in your face and the excitement as your experience unfolds. By bike or on foot, you explore hidden corners, meet locals and immerse yourself in the life of a region while traveling in the company of our expert leaders, the best in adventure travel. Since 1979 we’ve been exploring new places, dreaming up new adventures, and we never stop searching for the best, most inspiring ways to experience the world. We invite you to come and feel alive and engaged on your next adventure.
I write from the Provence leader house, amid a low murmur of convivial kitchen banter and stovetop smells. I’ve brought a bottle of wine to contribute to this homemade chicken soup dinner, so my hands are free from cooking tasks. And so I sit and I think… as another season winds down.
Twenty years ago, I found myself in Slovenia for the first time. I had never heard of it; to me, it was just a rumor, a whisper of adventure, a place where few were aiming their sights. “You’ve gotta check it out, man. No one even knows it’s there.” So, with very little thought and absolutely no plans, my friends and I grabbed our bags and set out for the station.
Stockholm is not a city that speaks for itself. Like the Swedes, it exists with a quiet elegance and humility that is discovered by the foreigner with the patient peeling away of layer after layer. Its skyline is one of the most striking I’ve seen in Europe, with spires reaching towards the sky and pastel-colored buildings lining the canals and bridges that unite the city across 14 islands. From Lake Mälaren through a web of canals and rivers reaching the Baltic Sea, the Stockholm Archipelago draws city dwellers from the capital’s urban chic into the countryside.
The perfect cycling combination awaits in the rolling desert hills near St. George, Utah: a butt-kicking workout on the way up followed by an adrenaline-pumping downhill race. When I first rode up Snow Canyon last summer, it was a real “sufferfest.” Finally I crested that last sweaty hill, pushing my poor legs harder than they had any right to be pushed, filling my lungs with hot desert air… then I looked around. Miles of pristine Navajo sandstone stretched out before me, carved into towering walls of red and white striations. I felt like I was on Mars, and I was hooked.
It’s said that long ago in the Bernese Oberland region of Switzerland, there were two monasteries at the top of the world. One, on a peak called the Jungfrau (the virgin), is where the women would stay. The other, called the Eiger (the ogre), housed the men. In the middle stood the most formidable of the three peaks, called the Mönch (the monk), to keep the sexes apart. These mountains tower over the village of Grindelwald. The Eiger in particular, with its steep exposed north face, has long been a test piece for serious mountaineers. Last fall another Backroads leader and I hiked in the shadow of the Eiger–and you can too!