Where Our Travel Experts are Going in 2023
While discussing possibilities for future journeys, travelers often want to know about our own adventures and to hear recommendations fresh from the field. Lately we’ve been making up for lost time, with staff flying out to get the latest lay of the land on a seemingly weekly basis.
We’re just back from India, Patagonia, Vietnam, Japan, Morocco, Kenya, and Bhutan with all kinds of news and updates. Next year we’ll be covering more territory and returning with special experiences to share with you—even some exciting new destinations to consider.
Here’s where our world-roaming experts are headed next. Ask us how it went next time you call.
Brady Binstadt, CEO
I’ll be introducing my kids to the Galápagos and I’m excited to be up close with nature together with them, snorkeling with penguins (yes, really), witnessing a huge tortoise walk right through camp (happens all the time), and seeing so much more: marine turtles, iguanas, rays, boobies. It’s not an understatement to say it’s the kind of place that has the potential to change a kid’s perspective on the world, to make them realize how wonderful (full of wonder!) travel can truly be. I chose Galápagos Safari Camp for this trip because, after about 15 trips to the islands myself, I feel it’s a perfect first-time stop for my kids at this age (10 & 12). It’s sleeping in a gorgeous African-style tented camp, and then spending days out exploring—some by boat, some by land, every day a new adventure.
I’m also excited to show them Quito—a manageable and comfortable city filled with colorful markets, gorgeous cobblestone streets, and churches—and spend time on a four-hundred-year-old working farm for horseback riding with the kids (my daughter in particular loves this!), biking, cheese-making, hiking, and just soaking in the 4,000-acre historic hacienda for a few days.
Gayle Lehmann, Trip Designer
I am excited to be heading back to Kenya next year, home of the game-rich Maasai Mara National Reserve. In addition to seeing some of Africa’s most iconic animals and incredible bird life, I am also hoping to catch the great migration this time—over 1.5 million wildebeest and zebra moving through the rivers and across the plains, closely followed by predators snapping at their heels offers moments of awe and adrenaline! I will also be checking in with some inspiring local conservation organizations and visiting Maasai and Samburu communities to learn how we can better organize our safaris to support the protection of both wildlife and people in this beautiful country.
Sara Barbieri, Trip Developer
First of all, if you have an interest in history, in origins, in how human civilization emerged, Iraq is a place considered to be at the center, the starting point of it all! Here the 4,000-year-old Ziggurat of Ur rises from the desert floor, the melodies of maqam (sung poems) drift out of concert halls, and the Marsh people—descended from Sumer, Ur, and Babylonian civilizations—live in concert with the land, harvesting reeds and rice, fishing, and herding water buffalo. Now, a moment in time has arrived, revealing an opening, an opportunity to explore this previously largely inaccessible country. We are planning a scouting journey to investigate and assess all of the areas we are considering for an Iraq group trip in 2024. I’ll be looking for the sort of experiences that will allow our travelers to have the deepest understanding and enjoyment of the culture, the most intersection with people living their lives and telling their stories.
Jesse Knight, Trip Designer
Between recent and ongoing archaeological discoveries at Saqqara (near Giza), celebrating the 100-year anniversary of the discovery of King Tut’s tomb, and the long-awaited opening of the billion-dollar Grand Egyptian Museum (aka the GEM)—showcasing never before displayed contents from King Tut’s tomb—Egypt is having a moment in 2023 and I’m excited to be part of it!
Tina Liadis, Trip Designer
Bhutan has been high on my list since 2020 and now with the country open for travel again, I can finally return! I can hardly wait to see amazing mountain scenery, prayer flags fluttering in the wind, and taste the national dish of chiles and cheese once again. There are several exciting new properties that opened just before or after the shutdown, including the Six Senses lodges in Thimphu, Punakha, and Paro. It will be fascinating to see what’s changed—and what hasn’t. I’ll be getting off the beaten track exploring remote eastern Bhutan and researching some potential new experiences for our guests.
Heather Cunningham, Group Trips Director
Staff reports coming back from India are making me want to go right now. I’m drawn to the chaotic beauty of wild colors, sounds, and flavors of many cultures, and the opportunity to connect with locals to understand more about their lives and country. I manage our Taj to Tiger and Mystical Ladakh group trips, and I’d love to travel along with our guests to get their impressions and suggestions in real time, as well as sit down with our colleagues on the ground to hear their latest thoughts on meaningful experiences. We are continuously fine-tuning the itinerary for the very best experience, and first-hand info is required, so twist my arm—I’m off to India!
Lauren Reale, Trip Designer
I’m so excited to go to East Africa, specifically Tanzania: unrivaled wildlife and beauty, fascinating successes in conservation, Maasai culture, stunning offshore islands, terrific food, and one of the most iconic safari destinations. I’ll be so interested to compare it to southern Africa and be able to give our guests the pros and cons of each from my experience. Tanzania offers a diversity of experiences that are unlike any other country in Africa.
Linda De La Torre, Trip Designer
I’ve set my sights on Tanzania for 2023. Last year I did a deep dive in Ecuador and spent time in the wilds of Patagonia on a historic estancia (hacienda) surrounded by glaciers. I also did a quick trip through Morocco and vowed to get back to Africa, this time south of the Sahara. The steep walls of Tanzania’s Ngorongoro Crater encircle grassland and acacia forest, along with outstanding wildlife and dreamy lodges. It’s there that I plan to focus my time, meet with our ground operators, visit both new and familiar lodges, and learn the newest and best ways to experience such a unique ecosystem.
Charlie Lockwood, Trip Designer
I’m booked to travel back to Scotland to investigate new hotels and interesting experiences. I’m on a quest to see the northern lights! I will be traveling off the beaten path away from the light pollution of the southern cities, getting as far north as possible in the hopes of catching the “mirrie dancers,” as the northern lights are known in the Shetland Islands. Wish me luck!
Ashley Pacelli, Guest Services Manager: Americas & Polar
I mean . . . is explanation really required? As an avid hiker and birder, to me Patagonia is paradise: true wilderness at its finest, exposing you to all the elements and beauty our natural world has to offer. It has stunning mountain peaks, vast glaciers, infinite lakes, and otherworldly coastlines that would take anyone’s breath away. I want to test the trails, experience the logistics, and discover a few secret tips to help our guests prepare for their own adventures!
Elissa Title, Guest Services Manager: Africa, Middle East & Europe Group Trips
I’ve been to the Okavango Delta four times, but it is such a rich photography destination that I want to go back. The light, landscape, and wildlife shift depending on the time of year, always bringing new opportunities. The more I know, the easier it is to help guests prepare for their own safari. Botswana is the kind of place that gets etched into your heart and memory, whether you take photos or not. It’s a truly underrated destination that I’d like to see more travelers consider when planning their next Africa adventure.
Elizabeth McNeil, Guest Services Director
Top of my travel bucket list for 2023 is traveling with New Zealander and renowned mountaineer Peter Hillary as he leads a GeoEx group through his homeland. I can’t think of a better way to explore it and get a unique perspective, plus the trip includes experiences like helicopter rides through Fiordland National Park and wildlife spotting on an Akaroa Bay nature cruise. I’ve been helping our travelers get ready for the inaugural departure of this trip this month and their excitement is contagious!
Katie Stoyka, Content Specialist
Antarctica is the only continent where I haven’t traveled. Enigmatic to begin with, it’s the kind of place that seems to surprise even the most experienced travelers, with colonies of penguins, drifting icebergs, and calving glaciers. I’ll be crossing the Drake Passage on a new purpose-built vessel designed to pierce waves instead of rising with them, hopefully reducing some of the notorious “motion of the ocean” in those waters. The ship also consumes less fuel with more efficiently engineered transit, reducing the carbon footprint for each expedition. It’s a fitting way to check off Antarctica’s natural wonders off my dream list.
* * * * *
What’s on your travel destination list for 2023? Will you return to old favorites or explore new territory? Let us know in the comments section below!
* * * * *
To start planning a 2023 adventure to these destinations or any of GeoEx’s other far-flung locales, give us a call at 888-570-7108.