Some of us can remember when ‘travel’ was any trip of more than about 30 miles from home, and people who ‘went overseas’ were almost always in the military or in the elite group of really rich people. If you wanted to visit foreign places you could read about them and watch films or TV, but traveling to far-flung exotic destinations, mingling with the local residents and experiencing a different way of life was more a daydream than any sort of specific plan.
This situation has changed dramatically over the past couple of decades, and today the world is opening up for discovery and exploration by almost anyone with a yen to travel. Tour operators on every continent offer carefully planned and beautifully organized trips to just about any spot on the planet, from the white sands and azure waters of tropical islands to the top of the highest peaks of the Himalayas, and from the ultra-modern to the almost unbelievably primitive areas of the world.
The options are truly unlimited; all you have to do is decide where you want to go, how much you can afford to spend and what you’d most like to do when you get there. Pass that information along to any good tour operator and more likely than not, you’ll find yourself with a travel itinerary that fits your budget and checks all the boxes in your wish list.
There are categories within the general travel industry also; some specialize in adventure tours, some in art and culture, or sightseeing highlights, or international events – just about any area of interest is covered. Many tour operators advertise ‘culturally immersive’, which is a way of saying you will have the opportunity to rub shoulders with the locals, learn a little of the language and eat, drink and otherwise experience a cuisine and lifestyle unlike anything you’ve known before.
No amount of watching from a distance via television or other media can offer that ‘broadening experience’ that traveling to and walking right into the scene will do. Doors to everywhere have been thrown open; all you need to do is pick a door and ride on through.