Tuesday, June 13, 2006


Looking at my last post, it sounds a bit overly critical of Les Essolies; I really didn't think poorly of the groups there, I just thought they were a bit bland. One group I found fairly interesting was Passages-Voyage, which sounds a bit better if you think of it as "Passages Travel". Essentially, the group promotes tourism, but without all of the tourist nonsense that I can't stand.

What tourist nonsense do you mean, Rufus? Well, you know, you decide that you want to go to the beaches at Mexico, and so you sign up with a travel agency, and you end up with this package tour where everything is planned out and boring, and you feel like you're on a field trip. I know that some people, heck most people, loved field trips when they were kids, but I want to wander. With the tour, you never get to see any of the good stuff. Today I walked for two and a half hours, lost in Nantes. But, the thing is, do you know how I got lost? I wandered off the path I've been taking every day to see what would happen if I went North instead of South and East instead of West. I like to get lost. Admittedly, after the second hour in 37.5 degree weather, it got a little old.

Anyway, this group has a tag line that translates to: "Give all of your senses to your voyage." Sounds good to me. What they do is pair you with about 5-8 people and you meet up to figure out what dates you want to travel for. There are no set dates for departure or return. Then, they take you to places like Algeria or Marrakesh and immerse you in the culture. I'm really not even sure if you have a guide. Their idea is to take you to all of the places that travel agencies "fly over".

Admittedly, it's related to the Ecossolies idea in that you visit cooperatives and small farms and so forth, and part of your fee goes to local development initiatives. But, it looks a bit more exciting than the other booths there. I like the idea that there might not be many secret places left in the world, but there are still many that are left uncovered.

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