Last year, I watched the NCAA men’s basketball championship game with fellow Classic Journeys’ guests at an award-winning country inn on the slopes of the Baru Volcano in Panama.

Paramonte Inn & Spa

Many sports fans consider March the best time of the year, as we have three weeks of heart-stopping, jaw-dropping, and stomach-turning action. And this season has been no different, as we enter the first Final Four since 1979 with no number 1 or 2 seeds remaining. It makes for great theater.

Last week, I heard a quote by John Wooden, the famed UCLA coach who won 10 NCAA titles in a 12 year span and seven in a row. He said, “Don’t confuse activity with achievement.”

Since my basketball career ended in high school, cut short by an inconsistent midrange jumper, I immediately viewed the quote through the lens of experiential travel. That’s taken me much farther and far afield than my basketball skills.

So how does Coach Wooden’s warning fit into Classic Journeys’ approach to cultural walking adventure toursculinary tours and family vacations?

Consider your options when you decide to travel to one of the 68 regions in 31 countries on 5 continents where Classic Journeys operates a tour. You can choose to explore on your own figuring out all of the details (what the industry calls FIT), on a cruise, on a motorcoach tour (from low end to high end), or join one of our adventure travel tours.

On any of the options, you’ll get plenty of activity. On your own, you’ll be the planner, the driver, and the guide (reading from your guide book). On a cruise, you’ll get shore excursions where you can see Tuscany in four hours before your tender picks you up at the port of Livorno to take you back to the ship with brief memories of the David and San Gimignano. On a motorcoach tour, you’ll see plenty of countryside through the window of the vehicle as you whisk from one region/country/city/site to another while local “step on” guides join you briefly to share their packaged delivery of information.

On Classic Journeys best-selling Bordeaux tour, guests wander castle-studded river valleys, go truffle-hunting and see ancient cave paintings.

Chateau de Fayrac

On a Classic Journeys’ adventure travel tour, you’ll get something different: a complete immersion into the history and culture of a region, with expert local guides who are with you 24/7. These guides include our friend Bart who has been leading our tours of Bordeaux & the Dordogne Valley since 2001. He’s probably the most knowledgeable person in southwestern France on its 27,000 years of history. (Famous author Michael Crichton hired him for three months when he was researching his book Timeline.) And because Bart makes his home there year round, he’s also the most-well connected. Want to meet France’s foremost truffle expert? He’s Bart’s friend. And yours too because you are with Bart. So we spend a morning with Eduard learning the art of truffle hunting.

On our Cotswolds tours, achievement trumps activity again as we make your visit to Stonehenge significantly less stressful and more impactful. How? By making special arrangements with the British government to explore the site at sunrise before it’s open to the public. So you wander the stones with just your fellow Classic Journeys’ guests and guide, Wendy. Sit with your back to the stones as you enjoy a picnic breakfast. Then escape before the madding crowds arrive.

Whether you’re traveling solo or with your kids, with a significant other or a group of friends, Coach Wooden’s advice is still as applicable today as it was in the middle of his title run in the 1970s. I like to think that he’d choose the Classic Journeys approach to travel, where our guides seemingly work magic daily for our guests. After all, he was the Wizard of Westwood.

If you’d like to challenge us to find the best way for you to get the most achievement from your vacation time, drop us a line at or call one of our Guest Services Coordinators at 800-200-3887.