A coworker recommended the following site to me: http://www.gapadventures.com
I gathered, first, that the group catered to younger folk. The “adventure” part of the travel is usually a giveaway. And then I read some of their copy. There was this big emphasis on “authenticity” and “environmentally sustainable” tourism. Oh goody: eco-tourism. That means, what? Sleeping with the bugs and using biodegradable toilet paper? But the authenticity thing kept coming back to me because of the promotional videos on the site. They seemed to have an awful lot of them, and in them the travelers are talking to the camera.
So yes, my caution antennae were twitching appropriately. Turns out that “These documentary style episodes will give you the chance to live vicariously through our travellers’ experiences.” Which means, that my personal, private travel experiences would become a g-d reality show, which is about as inauthentic an experience as one can have and still be on planet Earth.
I appreciate the sentiment, but on the whole I think I’m better off with the blue-hairs. Or alone. (BTW, my coworker did explain that she was kidding. My one-track mind sometimes forgets about humor and other times revels in nothing but, often at the most inopportune moments.)
*Other site recommendations did come in, however:
And awayyyyy we go!
*On a completely related note, I discovered that it is nearly impossible to do vacation planning for Ireland without buying Guinness. In my case, I went for the Guinness Draught bottles, which have that clever nitrogen thingy (oh, excuse me, it's called a widget) inside to induce carbonation. Brilliant!