In 2007, I sold my home and started a journey I assumed would take a year or two, but ended up turning into a lifestyle. In the nine years since I started out on my journey, I’ve been to more than 110 countries and all seven continents. Despite having spent the better part of a decade travelling, I had never been to India even though I’d dreamed of going since I was a child. Here is a story of how I’ve come to love our planet, one that goes back a further 30 years, thanks to one of the most renowned magazines of our time — National Geographic.

My love affair with the magazine started close to 40 years ago.

The first article I remember reading was in the July 1976 issue; the American Bicentennial issue. In its pages, there was an article written by Isaac Asimov about living in and constructing space stations, along with several illustrations — I vividly remember one that had a future space citizen with an enormous pair of headphones (without wires!)

I probably read it a few years after it was published, but it is my earliest memory. Like many people, my dad had a subscription and he never threw away back issues; there were stacks of them in the basement. My uncle worked for the local school district and would often take home older issues they didn’t have room for in their library. I remember sitting in his garage reading about the Apollo 11 lunar landing in the December 1969 issue. As I got older, I would pore over the maps that were included in most every issue. I can trace most of what I understand about geography back to my dad’s subscription to National Geographic magazine.

Years later, my passion for National Geographic became an obsession. I began putting out classified ads to buy collections, or just to take them off people’s hands. I started buying older issues on eBay and expanded my collection into books, 35mm films (that were usually shown in classrooms), vinyl albums, and other random National Geographic ephemera. I even purchased an original copy of Volume 1, Number 1 from 1888.

A sample of my National Geographic collection.
A sample of my National Geographic collection.

Eventually, reading National Geographic and being transported to places through its pages wasn’t enough. I wanted to go see those things myself. So my journey, informed by years of reading and imagining what the world was like, took off.

I also began working as ambassador with G Adventures in 2010, which has taken me to many of the places I first learned about in National Geographic: Antarctica, Italy, South Africa and more.

Last September, I was pleasantly surprised to hear that G Adventures and National Geographic were forming a partnership. Here is an opportunity for people to make the National Geographic brand come to life; to take National Geographic’s passion for exploration and learning and combine it with G Adventures’ ability to take people around the globe, to experience other cultures first hand.

Inside a Christian church in the old city of Kochi.
Inside a Christian church in the old city of Kochi.

This March, I had the opportunity to go on my first National Geographic Journeys with G Adventures trip when I visited Kerala, India. Our trip was a great overview of the region. We learned about the history of Kerala in the old city of Kochi and we explored awe-inspiring landscapes on the famous backwaters by boat.

Our CEO at a spice market in Kochi.
Our CEO at a spice market in Kochi.
Sunset by the Kerala backwaters.
Sunset by the Kerala backwaters.

The visit was similar to what I had experienced on past G Adventure trips, but more. One of our special National Geographic experiences was a visit to Vembanad Lake in Alleppey to meet fishermen who are trying to create a sustainable fishing environment. They are working with the Community Environment Resource Centre, or CERC to build fishing sanctuaries to protect their livelihood and maintain traditional knowledge and cultural practices.

Learning about the clams harvested in this area and how to prepare them.
Learning about the clams harvested in this area and how to prepare them.

This, of course, is only one of the 70 tours with National Geographic and G Adventures offered around the world. Each tour has a unique National Geographic Journeys experience and often times with a local expert who provides advanced explanation of one or more topics covered on the tour.

Floating along on the backwaters.
Floating along on the backwaters.

Getting There

National Geographic Journeys with G Adventures offers a collection of unique tours designed to take you deeper into the cultures and habitats of the places we explore. They offer more inclusions, greater hands-on exploration, interactions with local experts, and the freedom to roam, all within the structure and security of travelling in a small group. Explore India today!