There are many good reasons to travel: visiting other places builds your confidence, raises your tolerance for uncertainty and allows you to safely “try on” alternative lives, among many other benefits. Now add a dash of adventure to your travels, and something else kicks in: the “sharing effect.”
People are hardwired to crave acceptance, belonging and camaraderie, so sharing your adventures with at least one other person—a family member, friend or, surprisingly, even people you’ve never previously met—can make them feel sweeter. That’s why Off the Beaten Path has put together some of the most creative and imaginative Small Group Adventures in the travel industry. And because these adventures are exactly that—small—you get a guide-to-guest ratio that ensures your particular interests and needs are taken into account.
We know that a guide can truly make or break a trip. That’s why we work only with the best. Our group travel tours are led by people who come from a wide array of backgrounds: they are wildlife biologists, botanists, geologists, naturalists, photographers, former rangers, teachers and authors. But as incurable travelers, they all share a common bond: a strong, innate inquisitiveness about the world in which we live. Because of that driving curiosity, they know where wolves den, when bitterroot blooms, how geysers work, why an arch isn’t a natural bridge and why an eagle sighting can be life changing.
On one of our guided adventure travel tours in the United States, for example, you could explore the ruggedly beautiful Isle Royal National Park, an International Biosphere Reserve sandwiched between Canada and Michigan in the middle of Lake Superior. Isle Royal’s ecological study of wolves is the longest-running, predator-prey study on Earth. Your group leader will provide an opportunity for you to meet with a scientist involved in that research.
On other group travel tours, you could head into the land of endless days in summer and dancing, northern lights in winter: Alaska. On the tundra in Denali National Park, you’ll look for tiny wildflowers with a naturalist while in view of the “High One,” Denali. Your river guide will quietly raft you past brown bears foraging on gravel bars on the Upper Kenai River, and your Alaska winter guide will introduce you to Iditarod-veteran dog handlers so you’ll learn the basics of mushing.
Venture into Yellowstone National Park on one of our small group travel tours, and you’ll get to the best places for chances to spot black bears, grizzly bears, bighorn sheep, elk and wolves. Look up to see raptors swirling in big, blue skies. The only traffic jams you’ll encounter in this granddaddy of national parks are when herds of bison stop in the middle of the two-lane highway. In Jackson Hole, Wyoming, you and your small group will belly up to the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar.
Looking farther afield to international travels, on our guided adventure tour in Costa Rica, you could spend an afternoon watching dolphins leaping in tandem off the coast. Go kayaking in the ocean and “fly” on one of the world’s longest and most scenic zip lines. Sing with the morning birds as you indulge in your private, outdoor-garden shower.
High in the Andes Mountains, on another of our Small Group travel tours, delve into the mystical city of Peru’s Machu Picchu. Your guide will take you to out-of-the-way nooks and crannies, where you’ll climb stairs built by ancient Incas and run your fingers over the enormous blocks of granite that somehow got quarried and transported to this spectacular and one-of-a-kind location.
You’ll do these things and more because small group travel makes it easy to shift gears to take advantage of unexpected opportunities. Is a pack of wolves migrating through Yellowstone with a sighting expected at 6:00 a.m.? We’ll arrange to be there. Have you identified the perfect overlook to take a photo of the ocean on the Pacific Coast Highway? Let’s pull over.
Human nature tells us that when we embark on new adventures, our experience will be intensified if we pair it with other people. As Yoko Ono once wrote and John Lennon quoted many times: “A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality.” So the next time you feel like lacing up your hiking boots or taking on the challenge of exploring another country, make it real by signing up for an Off the Beaten Path Small Group Adventure.