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Whole Foods Market is giving food lovers and culture buffs a new way to discover “what travel should taste like” with a soon-to-be-launched travel and education program hosted by the grocer.
Dubbed "Whole Journeys," the program is designed to connect active foodies with the cultural and culinary traditions of worldwide destinations like The Dolomites, Cappadocia, Provence, and Shangri-La. Travelers walk, hike or bike through as they explore the foods, farms and events that make each region unique. All itineraries are designed to support local communities, respect the environment and encourage travelers to share each destination’s unique food cultures with one another and the food producers themselves. Travelers can view details and check availability online at wholejourneys.com.
“Why we travel, where we travel, what we do and who we meet while we are there, and how we share the experiences when we return home, can affect positive change in the world,” said Kathy Dragon, executive director of Whole Journeys.
Whole Journeys makes its first departures in April 2013 with a trip to a Turkish food festival, an epicurean biking tour in Italy, and a hike following the historic tea and horse caravan road in China. Currently, Whole Journeys offers a small portfolio of programs, and guests can expect more trips in the U.S. and South America in the near future. “Our programs are ideal for custom groups of family or friends as they can be adapted to focus more on a specific interest or region based on our network of trusted guides and producers,” said Dragon.
Itineraries run from five days to two weeks. Most trips accommodate a maximum of 16 guests. Pricing is competitive, usually between $3,000 and $4,500 for trips offering close encounters with the lands and peoples in each destination, according to Whole Foods. Travelers book their own airfare; guides, visits, hotels and most meals are included.
Whole Journeys custom designs each itinerary to incorporate unique accommodations, local guides - when possible - and visits to native farms, wineries and cheese makers. Guests will enjoy high quality food and interact with the communities and artisans that produce it, as well as participate in local events and take on active excursions.
“We’re all about authentic experiences and rich cultural connections,” said Dragon. “I encourage guests to open themselves to the culture in each destination, and share their own perspective with the people there. When the trip is over, everyone comes away with a wider worldview and, hopefully, a deeper appreciation for global diversity and food culture and traditions.”
Whole Journeys 2013 itineraries currently available for booking can be found on the Whole Journeys website.