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Whole Journeys is blazing new trails!

We are excited to announce that Whole Journeys is embarking on a new adventure that will bring even more amazing foodie experiences to our valued customers.

Founded in 2012 by Whole Foods Market, Whole Journeys is venturing out on its own to become an independent travel company. In doing so, Whole Journeys will have the flexibility to explore new and interesting partnerships that cultivate the unique and engaging experiences for discerning travelers

We know you care about where your food comes from and are enriched by exploring the regions and people who made great food happen.  One-of-a-kind travel adventures, in great parts of the world, meeting with people who are making a difference and enjoying interactive and personal connections- that is what Whole Journeys is all about.    

 Whole Journeys will continue its mission to explore the culture and traditions of food through travel by escorting travelers on immersive active foodie adventures. Kathy Dragon—a recognized global leader in immersive adventure travel—will remain in her role as Founder & Executive Director of Whole Journeys, creating and escorting intimate small group tours around the world.  Through Kathy, Whole Journeys will expand its offerings to include consulting, partnership and speaking services further developing the awareness of sustainable travel and food tourism.

An introduction from John Mackey, Co-Founder & Co-CEO, Whole Foods Market

Dear Traveler,

I’m proud to introduce you to Whole Journeys, an experiential travel company designed to bring you closer to local food & beverage producers and products around the world. For over 19 years I’ve personally been choosing to organize my trips with travel companion and friend Kathy Dragon, Founder of Whole Journeys. I find her to be uniquely qualified to bring you cultural, active adventures that will fulfill your desire to integrate into global communities as a curious and energetic traveler.

Kathy has developed and led my trips to Hawaii, Scotland, Peru, Argentina, Chile, New Zealand, Italy (Tuscany, Cinque Terre, Sardinia, Dolomites), Croatia, Turkey, France, Switzerland and Spain. On our short-list are Portugal, SE Asia and walking the Camino de Santiago.

Whole Journeys provides specialized, multi-day international and domestic trips for small groups. These active adventures will focus on truly engaging guests with local cultures in ‘through-the-back-door’ experiences. Regional cuisines and the culture of food will be key components, as will face-to-face interactions with producers and artisans. Small groups offer the perfect balance between structure and flexibility, activity and rest, education, personal discovery, food and fun.

I wish you many great foodie adventures, and happy travels with Whole Journeys!

John Mackey

WHO WE ARE

Whole Journeys grew from our vision to connect travelers with the local flavors of the destinations they travel through and to incorporate the passion of local producers into the journey, The Whole Journeys “Active Foodie” adventures explore the local landscapes through activities like walking or hiking between historic villages, breathtaking country sides, and legendary pathways while focusing on the culture and traditions of food in the destination. For those interested in diving deeper into learning how to create regional recipes, we offer our “Hands-On Cooking” and “Food Forward” excursions. Travelers will be immersed in regional specialties through activities which may include cooking classes, wine tastings, cheese making, and other adventures, which intertwine the traveler with local farmers, winemakers, artisans and chefs.

These intimate, limited trip itineraries are built on the insights, experience, and relationships of local partners who share our passion. Together with these experts we carefully select properties, restaurants, and activities, which represent the true expression of each region, and the Whole Journeys traveler.

 

THE WHOLE JOURNEYS TRAVELER

The Whole Journeys traveler is passionate about food, appreciates the beauty of local landscapes and has a thirst for adventure. Whole Journeys programs are designed so travelers cannot just taste, but truly explore the history and culture of the cuisine through hands-on education and interaction with local farmers, chefs, winemakers, and producers. Whole Journeys guests are a mix of like-minded solo travelers, friends, and couples, who are all looking for a ‘through the back door’ experience. We design small-group (16 persons maximum) tours as well as build custom departures.

 

ACCOMMODATIONS

 Our properties, usually small boutique hotels, vary on each trip. Some tours offer luxury accommodations, and some feature simple and authentic, yet comfortable, lodging. The properties, as well as their surroundings, are diverse, providing guests with a sampling of countryside and village life in the region when possible. Because of the nature of these properties, rooms may not be consistent in size or amenities. On the majority of our programs, guests will spend two to three nights at each accommodation allowing time to explore and absorb the surroundings. Some trips include a rural accommodation for one night – such as a homestay or mountain hut – which we feel offers a unique experience and enhances the program. More focused learning programs such as our hands-on cooking programs and wellness immersions are generally center-based, utilizing one property for the duration of the trip, often with day and/or evening excursions within the surrounding area.

ACTIVE ITINERARIES

Our “Active Foodie” itineraries are designed for guests with an average fitness level that varies from weekend warriors to daily exercisers. The daily pace and extra options generally meet a wide range of interests. We encourage guests who explicitly desire a higher level of activity to consider the specific tours that are more physically demanding. We try to focus on hours of activity rather than miles since trails and conditions vary. We offer walking, hiking and cycling trips; boating trips will be available in the near future.

CHOOSING THE RIGHT TRIP

Whole Journeys will work with each traveler to explore the variety of experiences that fit their individual needs and interests. We will help travelers determine the appropriate level of activity as it relates to regional terrain, types of accommodations, and cultural challenges or differences of each destination such as language, religion, and local customs. We will guide you through our programs and help create a fulfilling itinerary for each traveler.

Important Note: Not all destinations are appropriate for specific dietary preferences or restrictions and we encourage flexibility and cultural awareness of our host region for our “Foodie” programs.

 

Kathy Dragon: Founder and Chief Curator 

As a professional in the Adventure/Experiential Travel industry for more than two decades, I’ve primarily guided small group tours for active adults worldwide – along with wearing all the other hats involved in running such a business. From Bhutan to Belize, Croatia to Czech Republic, Patagonia to Provence, Kerala to Kilimanjaro, I’ve been there – often more than once – and have personally escorted more than 3,000 guests on life-changing adventures.

Kathy Dragon

The trips I’ve designed allow for authentic experiences involving rich cultural connections. We generally stay at boutique properties, employ expert local guides, sample traditional cuisines, and engage in active excursions, all within a framework of responsible tourism. I believe why we travel, where we travel, what we do while we are there and when we return home, can effect positive change in the world.

Since 1998 I’ve kept my 'feet on the ground' creating and leading small group cultural walking adventures worldwide through my company, The Dragon’s Path, as well  Whole Journeys which I founded in 2012.  Along the way I’ve trained hundreds of guides and tour operators on the nuances of understanding North American traveler. I spend a portion of my time consulting and speaking in the travel, hospitality and food/wine industries and, most recently, consulting with The World Bank on agritourism projects.

My hobbies include trail running, cycling, skiing and photography and of course traveling the world. I’m also a geek- I have more apps on my phone and more gadgets in my travel bag than anyone I know. Home base is one of my favorite destinations, Boulder, Colorado. I very much look forward to meeting and perhaps hosting you on a Whole Journeys adventure in the near future.

 

 

Carol Sicbaldi: Italy Specialist and European Operations

Carol Sicbaldi

Few people are lucky enough to love their work as much as I do.  My job is as creative as it is rewarding.  After all, I live and work in Italy - a country that is indescribably beautiful, stimulating, contradictory and at times wonderfully complicated. I am surrounded by people who inspire me: wine and olive oil producers, chefs, cheese makers, bakers, honey producers, herbalists, bakers, farmers, artists and artisans.  My job is to introduce these incredible people to travelers who, like myself appreciate their contribution to a richer and more flavorsome world. I truly believe in the traditions, lifestyles and ways of living their food. This is what these people represent.  Nothing could be more healthy, more balanced and or more wholesome.

There is also the astounding nature, the landscapes, the architecture, the art.....  I still get excited when I visit new places and find new paintings, new buildings, new stories, new trails that I will be able to share with people from different cultures.  It would be impossible for me to create standard or ordinary trips.  Nothing I experience in my own journeying is ever anything other than extraordinary.  I love leading people through these experiences because I enjoy seeing my own sense of wonder reflected in the imaginations of the people I am hosting.  I am at my happiest when I take people on amazing, stunning walks….in the middle of gorgeous farm country….through vineyards, farms, olive groves, gardens… And I have far from finished my own quest; for me the Mediterranean: Italy, France, Croatia, Turkey - is a never ending opportunity for exploration. There is so much to discover, so many beautiful paths to walk.

This is my contribution to Whole Journeys. Whole Life Travel. Whole Living. Whole Being.

 

OUR GUESTS

We design small group (16 persons maximum on most departures) trips for like-minded people who are generally not “big group” travelers. A typical Whole Journeys guest is active, educated, interested, involved, curious and caring. Our guests are fascinated by other cultures and love enjoying the beauty of nature. An even mix of solo travelers and couples, our guests range in age from 35 to 70.

ABOUT OUR GUIDES AND TRAVEL FACILITATORS

Our guides are one of the most important elements of each Whole Journey. Our guides will help travelers deeply understand and appreciate the cultures of each region visited. All of our guides possess extensive knowledge and are passionate about their destinations and specialties. Our extraordinary and experienced travel facilitators are bilingual and are either native to the region, or have traveled extensively and/or lived in the area.

WHAT'S GENERALLY INCLUDED

  • All accommodations, based on double occupancy (Single rooms are generally available for solo travelers for an additional charge)
  • The majority of meals (B/L/D or breakfast and lunch or dinner). Meals not included ‘Free Meals’ offer our guests the opportunity to choose a specialty restaurants or lighter meals. We focus on authentic regional cuisine, allowing for an opportunity to taste the local dishes.
  • Transportation during the tour for guests and one piece of luggage
  • Special events such as wine tastings, tours, activities, cooking classes, etc.
  • Entrance fees for museums or sites that are part of the tour
  • Expert guide services

* Each itinerary will highlight what is included or not included.

CUSTOM GROUPS

The tours profiled are only a small selection of what we can offer in terms of destinations and focus. We’ve created itineraries around the world, all of which include culture, cuisine and activities (such as cycling, hiking, walking and rafting). Many of our itineraries can be arranged for different departure dates for custom groups and be adapted with a selection of alternate properties for travelers who prefer simpler or more luxurious accommodations. Trips can also be customized with additional focus on wine, food or other interests. Ideally, programs are created for groups of 6-16 travelers. While we prefer a minimum of six people for a custom trip, we can be flexible; with fewer people the cost per person may be slightly higher.