Journeys Director Will Weber reflects on the special, lasting friendships that have developed over the years with our guides and clients.
What’s better than visiting an exotic location at the invitation of friends who know the destination better than any American? Over our 36 years of travel planning at Journeys International, our partnerships with local hosts have grown into true friendships. These friendships have grown around our determination to provide guests with a fresh, safe, and deeply-satisfying personal adventure. Our clients are welcomed as friends, too. Our guides know relationships run deep at Journeys, and they open their arms especially wide to Journeys travelers.
We have invaluable friendships all around the world. Here are five of those stories to give you a taste:
Ladakh, India: Journeys travelers have been visiting Ladakh since 1981, when we began working with Wangchook and Norboo. They bring you to visit their home villages, the Buddhist monasteries they support, and introduce you to their friends and neighbors. Ladakh has changed a bit over the years, but the tradition of local hospitality Wangchook and their families provide has deepened and grown as the opportunities to explore this area of the Tibetan Plateau continue to expand.
Nepal: If your interest is trekking in Nepal, you’ll appreciate our strong links to the families and friends of the staff from the very first Journeys trip in 1978. Together with Nawang Sherpa, son of Journeys co-founder Pemba Sherpa, we have carried on the tradition of reliable service, knowledgeable leadership, and the experience of learning from friends.
East Africa: We met our partners in Kenya and Tanzania when they were guides in the early 1980’s, and we have supported each of them in growing their own businesses. Mrosso, in Tanzania, knows every inch of Ngorongoro and the Serengeti. Makau, in Kenya, carries on the tradition of his mentor and Journeys first safari leader, John Ochieng. To both of them a safari has always been about promoting cross-cultural understanding and helping young Africans to appreciate the magnificence of their wildlife heritage. The respect they have built among local people, parks personnel, and other tour operators assures you a kind of VIP treatment.
Indonesia: Journeys’ program in Indonesia similarly has roots in the 1980’s spanning two generations of leadership. Alwi Baria had a vision of a network of local leaders on different Indonesian islands who could show visitors the spectacular richness and diversity of the country. Thirty years later, Alwi has passed away and we continue to work with his son, Robbi, in offering some of the most extensive programs in the archipelago.
Middle-East: Ihab Zaki is an Egyptian living in Michigan as a representative of his family’s business in Egypt. He dropped into our office nearly 30 years ago, and we have been friends ever since. Over the years he has built a remarkably extensive knowledge base and organizational network that has enabled Journeys to send travelers not just to Egypt, but also to places like Lebanon, Tunisia, Libya, and coming soon, Iran. We trust Ihab’s sensibilities to keep travelers not only safe, but superbly satisfied and informed.
We count long-term friendships like these as our greatest achievement. Bringing you into the circle is deeply rewarding. The virtuous cycle of successful experiences leading to more and even better successful experiences keeps us at Journeys engaged, determined and delighted.