Adventures in Gratitude & Appreciation | GeoEx
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Adventures in Gratitude & Appreciation

By Don George | April 28, 2022

Hot air balloons at sunrise over Luxor, Egypt

The mood in the GeoEx office, as in much of the larger travel world, has brightened considerably recently. For the first time in two years, our experts report, there is a palpable sense of excitement and rediscovery in the air, and travelers are calling with eager inquiries about visa regulations, weather conditions, and available accommodations. While we know that Covid conditions and rules are still part of the travel landscape, we are thrilled to see this shift in attention and attitude.

Buoyed by the sense that we may be entering a new chapter, I have been looking back over the last two years, reflecting on the journey we’ve been on as a company, and on the lessons of that journey. Today I spent a few hours perusing the comments and reviews that we have received from people who have traveled with us during this time, and this turned into an unexpectedly illuminating, inspiring, and moving odyssey.

First of all, on behalf of everyone at GeoEx, I want to say that we couldn’t have done it without you, literally and figuratively. And I want to make sure you know how grateful we are to you, our loyal and passionate travelers, for your goodwill and enthusiasm, patience and flexibility, understanding and appreciation, and ongoing engagement, encouragement, and support.

As I reviewed these comments from trips around the world, Algeria to Rwanda, Guatemala to Sri Lanka, a few common threads emerged.

The first was how much our travelers genuinely prize, and have been longing for, personal connections and mind-widening off-the-beaten-path experiences. I was deeply moved to read the palpable excitement and appreciation our adventures in authenticity created.

As one traveler wrote after taking our new trip to the little-visited Chiapas region of Mexico:

I loved the itinerary, which offered a smorgasbord of activities showcasing Chiapas’ Spanish colonial past, its ancient Maya heritage, crafts, and traditions, buttressed by tours to three Maya archaeological sites, including Palenque (a UNESCO World Heritage site), an introductory foray into Zapatista history /territory, and a delectable sampling of Chiapas’ beguiling assets in nature.

“The visit to San Juan Chamula church was truly exceptional. The cavernous interior of the church had an otherworldly, mystical atmosphere dominated by a sea of glowing candles and small discrete groups of supplicants huddled on the floor around a cluster of candles along with their shaman who performed the rites. It provided a glimpse into syncretic religious practices integrating rituals of pre-Hispanic traditions with Catholicism still practiced today by the Tzotzil people. It was reminiscent of magical realism, and my thoughts swirled with tales from the Popol Vu as well as the stories by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Isabel Allende.”

Sandra echoed these sentiments after returning from Egypt:

“The trip was amazing and exceeded expectations. From start to finish, we experienced Egypt in the best possible way. The trip was made extraordinarily special by our guide, Khaled. His wealth of knowledge, storytelling, eye for detail, and great personality brought Egypt to life for us.”

Sue also savored the authentic insights offered on our new, trailblazing trip to Algeria, writing:

“I love GeoEx. You get what you pay for. The experience was once in a lifetime. Everything went as planned, although I think there were definitely some extras thrown in. Bill, the group leader, was amazing. The local guides were also the best. I feel that we got an authentic experience with lots of conveniences thrown in.”

Another thread that emerged was the intrepidness of our travelers, especially in these challenging and ever-changing times, and the trust that they have placed in us.

As one visitor to Rwanda wrote:

“Traveling at this time can be stressful, but GeoEx made sure that everything on our trip went smoothly. Their attention to detail and procurement of the best guide and accommodations made our trip to Rwanda truly amazing.”

One Guatemala traveler’s experience vividly underscored the uncertainties of travel this past year, and the necessity of our being able to make new travel arrangements on the spot:

“Once again GeoEx put together an AMAZING itinerary of adventure, cultural immersion, and leisure that gave us a terrific sense of Guatemala! And when we got stuck at the airport due to a plane malfunction, they immediate found us local transport, lodging, and Covid testing for the night and covered all the costs. Absolutely amazing, and why we continue to use them again and again.”

A Morocco guest described her own very personal experience of uncertainty in the field:

“The trip was fabulous despite a small setback of a broken leg. Our guide, Mohamed, and driver, Abdou, couldn’t have been more attentive. They even set off to find a nice-looking pair of pants that would fit over my leg cast. They selected a black stretch fabric with beads down the sides. They were so concerned that I would like them! Mohamed pushed and pulled my wheelchair up and down steps for a solid two weeks. An angel!!!

“Don’t know what to say—as usual, GeoEx went beyond our expectations. We’re in love with your company!”

One Egypt explorer’s comment seemed to summarize this theme:

“The most notable thing GeoEx did well was adapting to extraordinary circumstances to deliver an amazing travel experience.”

One more thread that emerged consistently was the mindfulness, open-heartedness, and profound appreciation of tiny details that our travelers bring to the world and to their journeys.

As one Sri Lanka traveler wrote:

“One of the things that separates GeoEx from other companies is their attention to detail. From the moment we landed to the moment we left, everything was done perfectly. Little touches were appreciated, like flowers to greet us, or making sure our every wish was met, such as my request to visit a mask museum.

“Other special touches such as the dinner on the ocean were very special memories. Our guide also arranged special opportunities such as a private meditation with a monk. We ended our trip in Galle with a wonderful tour of the city with a photographic journalist who ended our tour with rooftop gin and tonics!”

Jennifer enthused from Rwanda:

“This was our second trip with GeoEx and once again everything was perfect. From the moment we landed in Kigali until we boarded our flight in Dubai, we had someone looking after us making sure we were taken care of. Not one detail was overlooked. Once again, a flawless trip!”

And Jeanene exclaimed after her Egypt trip:

“This was my first experience with GeoEx. I will use this company again and again. Every detail was covered and each person gave the highest level of service. They are amazing!!!!! This trip was a Master’s level in Egyptology!”

Finally, RC sent an especially heartwarming note after his return from our Hunza journey in Pakistan:

“From start to finish, GeoEx managed to demonstrate excellence in every aspect of my trip to Hunza Valley. Esther took care of airline booking, informing me promptly when changes were necessary and ensuring that my specific requests were addressed. Daniel’s guidance and assistance in getting my Pakistani visa and other required documents were invaluable. Trip leader Bill Jones and local staff made sure I saw them upon my arrival at Islamabad terminal. The local staff including the experienced and knowledgeable leader, Didar, and all others were friendly, courteous and catered to all my needs such as climbing two-foot-high stairs.

“GeoEx’s commitment to quality in all aspects of the trip and customer care made this trip one of the most enjoyable experiences of all time.”

As I contemplate the challenges and uncertainties of the past two years, I can hardly express how much all of these travelers’ comments have meant and do mean to us. And they reveal something that I have felt at the heart of our company since my first day here: GeoEx is an extremely close-knit family, and that family feeling extends beyond the staff to our travelers too. Everything we do is suffused with the sense that we are all in this together and that we want to take care of each other as well as we possibly can, from the care we take in our office to the care we take of you in the field.

We are stewards of each other and of the places and peoples we visit. That feeling is profoundly embedded and threaded throughout GeoEx, and it is rewarding beyond words to see it offered back to us in the passion, trust, and appreciation expressed in your comments.

Crafting adventures of a lifetime is our passion, and as we embark on a new chapter of ever more intentional adventures, we are deeply grateful to our travelers, to you, for entrusting us to make your dreams come true.

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Have you been traveling in the past two years? How was your experience? We’d love to hear about your adventures and reflections in the comments section below! Thank you!

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If you’re ready to plan a GeoEx adventure, we can make it happen. Contact one of our experts to learn more.

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Diana M Chang
Diana M Chang
2 years ago

Thanks to your earlier blog, my family and i will be traveling with Carolyn to Scotland later this year. Love you and love Carolyn. Thanks!

Kathy Condon
2 years ago

My daughter lives in Belgium. During the pandemic, she did travel to the US because she felt that IF anything happened to her dad or me, she would not forgive herself.

While she was here, we headed to the Paso Robles wine country for we wanted to be together, but not stay in all the time. It turned out to be one of the most special trips ever–there were no crowds, wine tastings were outside, and we got to communicate directly with the vintners.

Many precious moments were shared.

Tim Summerlin
Tim Summerlin
2 years ago

Thanks, Don. We set this trip to the Caucasus up two and a half years ago. Still not totally sure it’s going to happen, but here we are in the airport. Need to see the other side of the world. Need to visit the birthplace of wine.

Melissa Sutherland
2 years ago

Thanks Don. Would love to assist with Geoex clients planning on travelling to South Africa in the future. Regards, Melissa Sutherland Chief Travel Curator Vindigo Travel

GeoEx eBook:
The Best of Wanderlust

An Anthology of Travel Stories
Edited by Don George