The Creation of a Boundless Journey October 7th, 2019 • by Michelle Cournoyer In my dozen or so years of managing active tours for discerning travelers (which followed my dozen or so years guiding those travelers to some of the world’s great places), I have had the good fortune to be tasked with bringing several Boundless Journeys tours from concept to fruition. (That’s me scouting our new trip in the Dolomites.) If you have ever tried to plan your own trip, you know the countless hours that go into doing it well—from researching endless hotels and reading between the lines of what exactly is meant by “Garden View” rooms, to figuring out how to get from point A to point B. And then you’ll want to find the best restaurants, and of course, you’ll hope to stumble across some hidden gems…all the harder if they have not been discovered yet by all those TripAdvisor/Yelp/Google reviewers. My job is to figure all of that out for you, so that you can simply enjoy the anticipation of an adventure you can trust is well-planned. (Here I am in Patagonia trying to stay upright in very strong wind!) Offering a new trip begins as any great journey should, with excitement! Perhaps a new hiking route has landed on our radar (Alpe Adria), or a special event is taking place (total eclipse in Patagonia). Sometimes our own personal travels inspire the new itineraries we offer (Azores!). Then begins the planning and research. We read a lot, weeding through a vast amount of information and searching for the lesser-known highlights and unknown experiences. We sort out sticky logistics; we gather advice from our local connections; and we carefully form an itinerary that, at least on paper, will be amazing. Then we put it to the test—on ourselves. Our home office staff and local guides regularly travel to these destinations to be sure that every element is as good in reality as it appeared in our research. We hike the trails, scout the waterways, meet the guides, and visit hotels, looking for just the right places to complement our active days. (I joined our Scotland trip one year to ensure everything was still up to our standards, even though I did not develop it.) We ask a lot of questions and knock on doors to meet artists, vintners, cheesemakers, and potters. This first-hand knowledge is used to create unique, impossible-to-plan-yourself adventures that both our guests and we, ourselves, will love for years to come.