The warm, beating heart of every Classic Journey is your experienced local guide. After all, there is no better way to discover a faraway place than in the company of a well-connected friend. Your guide will be an insider who knows the opening day of truffle season … and a truffle-hunter who’ll let you tag along. The kind of person whose cousin is the llama-trekker. A native who can navigate the maze of the medina in Fès with her eyes closed, because it’s where she and her family live.
Our local guides are more than map-readers, agenda-followers and spouters of statistics. They are colorful, caring personalities who are unflappable, genuine and as sunny as they are sincere. As your cultural hosts, they are with you full-time — just like a friend should be — to open doors and help you see their world through their eyes. We know them so well that we happily empower them to personalize your trip on the fly, whether it’s to take advantage of an unexpected opportunity like a one-day festival or an invitation into a private home. And your guide will also be glad to offer ideas that appeal to your special interests. Some trips have two full-time guides, and on any itinerary specialists in anything from birding to wine-tasting to archaeology may join you.
Best of all, even after your trip is over, some of your happiest memories will be of the shared stories, unfiltered insights and plain old good times that you shared with your new friend in Peru or Reykjavík or Istanbul or …
Classic Journey: Vietnam, Laos & Cambodia
Home turf: Laos
Professional guide for: 10+ years
How to be Toubee: Start with a year as a novice monk. Like many Lao boys, Toubee lived and studied at a Buddhist monastery. Back out in the secular world, he learned English in Vientiane…and he still applies his sacred learning to show you how to participate in the daily alms ceremony.
Splashiest moment: He counts on the “elephant surprise”. That’s the moment when guests finally get it that the pachyderms they’re riding are going more than belly deep in the river. “Plenty of splashes. Plenty of wet. Plenty of fun!”
Classic Journeys: Normandy & Brittany; Loire & Burgundy
Home turf: Normandy
Professional guide for: 10+ years
Vive la différence: Dominique was born long after WWII. But her family and her own life were shaped by it. Ask her for the story of how, as a small child, her mother was sent on errands to deliver secret messages to aid the local Resistance.
Highest low point: “No one believes me at first that we can walk the tidal flats at Mont-St.-Michel barefoot. But sand between the toes is so much finer than sand inside the sandals. I think no other Classic Journeys guide takes her guests for a walk on the bottom of the sea.”
Classic Journeys: Ireland – Cultural Walking Adventure & Family Journey
Home turf: Ireland
Professional guide for: 18+ years
Blarney alert: Donal would have you believe that “we only tell the truth where a lie won’t fit.” Though that is its very own bit of a fib. Donal loves a good tale — the bigger the better. But he’s also a serious wellspring of delightful information from the history of Killarney to the fine points of peat cutting, sheepdog training and seabird mating habits.
On pub culture: An evening in the local pub is an essential sociological experience, Donal proclaims, even if you’re keener for darts than a pint of something dark and foamy. He’s got fair warning for you here, too: “Guinness makes you see double and feel single.”
Strength in Numbers
Our guides are always experienced. You can count on it.