Published by Virtuoso
The pioneering slow-travel tour company has seen a spike of family “takeovers” to make itineraries their own.
“Life,” Albert Einstein wrote, “is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” It’s a maxim that isn’t lost on Judy Newton, a Virtuoso traveler who’s taken more than 20 biking and walking tours in the past two decades, all with Butterfield & Robinson.
“Recalling those trips brings me to my happy place,” Newton says – especially during her pause from travel for much of the pandemic – and it’s no wonder: A short list of her most inspiring memories includes seeing the sun rise in Mongolia’s Gobi Desert during a morning stroll, preparing empanadas in a local’s home while cycling through Argentina, and having a spiritual breakthrough about being present while ascending the steep path to Tiger’s Nest Monastery in Bhutan. “I love the integration of physical, cultural, and experiential aspects these trips offer,” she says, “along with all the ‘aha’ moments you have on them.”
Now’s an especially good time to have your own aha moments, says Pat Eisen, Newton’s Virtuoso travel advisor. Focused on outdoor activities and often in remote locations, small-group walking and biking vacations offer built-in health-and-safety measures. “So many lessons born from the pandemic about how we want to live and travel moving forward mirror what makes these trips special,” she says. For starters: being more mindful, reconnecting with nature, living sustainably, and taking on new adventures.