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In the last days of 2013 we are yet again astonished by the places the last year has taken us. From the deserts of Africa to the frozen tundras of Iceland, it was a journey of extraordinary proportions. A seemingly endless list of memories, tales and triumphs stick out as we conquered fears, built bonds and experienced the inexplicable moment of totality from some of the globe’s most stunning destinations.

TravelQuest tours have become so much more than the travel itself. They are often the experience of life changing events, the fulfillment of lifelong dreams or the creation of permanent friendships. Here are just a few of the highlights over the last year alone.

Expedition to Antarctica 2013
What better way to start a new year than embarking on the true trip of a lifetime? An especially adventurous group of TQ travelers spent the first 11 days of 2013 in the incredible windswept, icy expanse of the Earth’s geographic South Pole. The journey included a visit to a Patagonia penguin colony and an overnight at Union Glacier. In the heart of Antarctica, the group also enjoyed an excursion to search for meteorites and delve even deeper into the incredible mysteries of this virtually untouched landscape. Traveling to the Poles is a journey that few will ever take in their lifetime, and it was the perfect way to kick off the year ahead.

Costa Rica – Southern Sky Party 2013
A beautiful way to spend a week in spring, TQ ventured off to Costa Rica for another edition of our acclaimed southern sky party. This was our tenth annual tour, offering an itinerary that has given us a decade of incredible memories. The southern perch provided an ideal vantage point for some of the most amazing stargazing in all of the world. The group enjoyed five uninterrupted nights of stargazing in a relaxed setting, disconnected from phones, Internet and the stress of our daily lives. It was an amazing way to unwind and reconnect, or form new connections for many.

West Africa Solar Eclipse Cruise
In November, TravelQuest took to the seas to guide eclipse chasers to the heart of totality. The Nov. 3 total solar eclipse was a particular unique one in that only two countries would experience landfall during totality. While we of course set out for those spots, TravelQuest offered guests a third option to experience the eclipse at sea. Perched off the coast of West Africa, tour guests experienced a cloud-free 90 seconds of totality – more than any other destination on Earth. Bookending the big day, they enjoyed the luxuries of a world-class boutique ocean liner, the Corinthian, which offered the ideal setting for our travelers to connect in comfort over this once-in-a-lifetime event.

Kenya Total Solar Eclipse
Awe-inspiring native wildlife, picturesque landscapes as far as the eye can see and the crown jewel of a total solar eclipse made for what is fast becoming an iconic TravelQuest tour. Our adventures in Kenya took us to the heart of classic Africa as we experienced multiple days of safari throughout some of the country’s most renowned preserves. Amidst capturing incredible photos, both of elephants and tigers as well as breathtaking sunsets, the group experienced one of the most unique totalities on our roster. Just 30 minutes before the eclipse was to take place, a wind storm came in and shook up the viewing site. In a quick decision, the group hopped in an airplane and jetted to the centerline to capture the diamond ring and enjoy an incredible 9 seconds of totality. It was an adventure to remember for certain.

Ethiopia Total Solar Eclipse
A completely unique experience from the simultaneous eclipse tours, Ethiopia offered travelers a first-hand journey into an incredibly storied country that sees limited leisure traffic. The TQ group became fast immersed in a cultural education, connecting with rural tribes and local families who live a beautiful, inspiring life despite its many perceived challenges. At what was to be our eclipse viewing site, our group participated in a TQ Gives Back effort, donating supplies to a school in need as children gathered by the masses to receive and rejoice in song over our humble contribution. As eclipse day neared, weather proved to be an inhibitor as cloud cover threatened nearly zero visibility. In true TQ fashion, our team was quick on their feet to relocate the group on a mad dash to the countryside where they were able to view moments of the eclipse and create lasting bonds in the chasing process.

Iceland – Fire, Ice and Aurora 2013
The last adventure on our calendar, TQ took off to the pristine, snowy expanses of Iceland in our acclaimed quest of the Aurora Borealis. After taking in the modern marvels of Reykjavik, we headed to the northern side of Iceland to relish in a remote escape with unmatched viewing access to this natural wonder. Multi-colored curtains undulated above us, providing the most spectacular light that served as a perfect juxtaposition to the still, icy expanse. Aside from the natural beauties, the comfort of this tour was highly acclaimed as our four-star accommodations offered unbeatable access to the Northern Lights, dancing above our very hotel rooms.

The sights were nearly indescribable and the adventures were incredible, yet 2013 proved once again that these experiences mean so much more when shared amongst friends. Both loyal guests and newcomers came together this year to share in these extraordinary tours; living, learning and journeying side by side. As we come from all walks of life, from all over the world, the value that each and every tour guest brings is simply priceless. We thank you for sharing your adventure with us as we look ahead to another remarkable year of traveling together.

 

 

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