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Exploring Galapagos with Contiki

I had the amazing opportunity to tour Galapagos with Contiki. We dove with sharks, explored the islands, ate incredibly delicious meals, and learned about the animals and history of the Galapagos. I’ve already written a few articles on it and there’s still more to come. All of the activities and experiences were fantastic. But none of this would have been as fun if it wasn’t the new friends I made during the tour.

Everyone in our tour group was in media in some way. We had a professional surfer, videographers, models, TV hosts, radio hosts, photographers, and writers. None of us knew each other or even had heard of each other before this trip.

On our first day, we explored Quito before we flying to the Galapagos. As we were having dinner on our first night, I looked around at everyone at our table hearing the different conversations. It was as if everyone had known each other already. All of us immediately became friends.

Then what started as friends started to become more like a family.

Then it occurred to me what Contiki is unique for. Do me a favor and go look at Contiki’s website and Facebook page. What do you see in common? All of their pictures involve experiences with people, many of which are shots taken from their actual tours. They show life.

I like that they put attention into experiences, learning, and having fun rather than just taking you place to place.

[disclosure]I was on a comped Ecuador and Galapagos Island Hopper media tour with Contiki in exchange for coverage. I am never forced to write any review and will always and continue to write my honest true opinions so obviously these opinions are all my own.[/disclosure]

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School VS Travel – New Video Series by Michael and Stephanie – Episode 1


Michael: Welcome to Travel Talk with Michael and Stephanie. I’m Michael Tieso. I’m from I’ve traveled for the last two and a half years. I have been throughout Asia, Australia, and South America.

Stephanie: And I’m Stephanie Yoder. I run I’ve been traveling on and off for the last five years, and I’ve been to five continents and more countries than I care to count. And we’re coming to you today from Villa de Leyva, Colombia.

Michael: So we’ve been getting a lot of e-mails lately asking for travel advice. So we thought instead of answering each one individually, we would do a video instead.

Stephanie: Yeah, it’s very time consuming for us to answer everybody’s e- mails one on one and give them advice. So, we thought it would be better to do a video, and that way we might be able to reach and help out more people. So, I’ll start with the first question which I think is a very common question.

Michael: This is an e-mail that I received.

Stephanie: Yeah. “I’m a freshman at a university. I knew before I decided to attend college that I wanted to learn by traveling the world rather than investing my money in education. My parents were not supportive of my dream, and I decided to give college a shot. My mind has not changed as this semester alone has put me in debt, all the while knowing that this is not what I want to do. What are the benefits of college before travel and vice versa?” So, I’ll let you answer first.

Michael: Well, the short answer is to definitely finish college first, and one of the reasons would be that you have many more opportunities after you finish school. With your degree you have more opportunities abroad. One of the options you might have with your degree is you teach English, or with any other job abroad, some countries may require you to actually have a degree. With that in mind, I would say to get that degree. If your passion is travel, you can also take courses within the school that you’re at right now. One of them is Spanish lessons, any kind of language lessons that you might want to go to. That way when you do finish college, you’ll be prepared to go travel around the world with your new language.

Stephanie: Yeah, and you might also consider majoring in something travel related if that’s really what you want to do, something like international relations or hospitality.

Michael: And one of the most important things to remember is that travel and school can never be compared.

Stephanie: The other thing I think it’s important to think long term. College teaches you a lot more than just things you learn in a text book or Biology 101. It teaches you about critical thinking and ways to interpret the world. I know personally that my college degree has helped me a lot just in understanding better the things I see when I travel.

Another thing I would point out is, from the letter, it sounds like it’s only your first semester, and I think that’s really too soon to be making any rash life decisions. You really haven’t settled into college yet. You don’t really know how the next four years are going to go. There are a lot of short-term things you can do as well to improve your situation. If you’re really worried about debt, you might consider switching to a cheaper school or maybe getting a part-time job to help you save money for when you are able to go travel.

Lastly, the last piece of advice I would give is to study abroad. It’s one of the best opportunities for students to get out and see the world. You can go pretty much anywhere in the world. I studied abroad my senior year of college, and it really changed my life and changed the way I look at travel. It really helped jumpstart this love of travel for myself. So I would definitely recommend looking at your school’s options for that.

Michael: Why do you think people would say that you learn more through travel than you would in school?

Stephanie: I think you learn different things in travel.

Michael: Yeah, absolutely.

Stephanie: You learn about the world around you and how to interact with people and how to read bus schedules and things. It is very enriching and fulfilling, but I don’t think that that diminishes the importance of the things you learn in college.

Michael: You just learn different things.

Stephanie: Yeah.

Michael: The two can’t be compared, like I said before.

Stephanie: Yeah.

Michael: Well, thank you for joining us and thank you for sending in the question. Please feel free to send in more questions. We’d love to do this more regularly. My e-mail is [email protected].

Stephanie: And you can reach me at [email protected].

Michael: Thank you again and see you next time.