Something Completely Different
The college’s first alumni trip stayed close to home with a tour of coastal Georgia. Pirkle and alumni explored Sapelo Island, a state-protected island accessible only by ferry, boat or plane.
Since then, 3D Journeys has also explored Brazil, Ireland, Spain and other locations. At each destination, Pirkle and other trip planners seek to incorporate exceptional experiences that are outside the box of a typical tour.
The trip to Spain, especially, stands out in Pirkle’s mind as a trip that was filled with the unexpected.
“In Toledo, we had arranged a special visit with the vice mayor of the town in the historic city hall,” said Pirkle. “Our tour guide said he didn’t know of anyone who’d been allowed in there before. That night, we also were able to go into some private Roman baths that had never been open to the public.”
Events like these create an out-of-the-ordinary tour that travelers will remember and want to repeat with the college’s upcoming lecture series and attached tour.
3D Journeys’ next trip this spring to Croatia will retain this model of travel. After arriving in Dubrovnik, alumni will board a private yacht for seven nights and sail up the Dalmatian Coast.
“We will dock each night in another port and have the evenings on our own to wander around and enjoy the town,” said Pirkle. “We’ll even be able to swim in the Adriatic Sea. That will definitely be something different for our travelers.”
It’s the Little Things
Before a 3D Journeys trip, Pirkle makes sure every detail of the trip has been planned. She works with her tour operator to make sure local guides have everything in order before the trip’s plane takes off.
Once they are there, Pirkle has already planted smile-inducing surprises, such as treats and thoughtful gifts like insoles for alumni’s shoes after a long day full of walking.
“Taking care of the travelers is the fun part,” said Pirkle. “When everyone was cold after the Cliffs of Moher on our Ireland trip, I passed out wool socks for them to put on. It made everyone smile.”
Pirkle also keeps participants engaged before and after the tour. Before the trip, a party is held at the college president’s home.
“Before our trip to Spain, we served tapas and Spanish wine and beers,” said Pirkle. “We always serve food from that region. It’s a great chance for people to get to know one another.”
After the group returns home, Pirkle and the president’s wife create a photo album of the trip they can mail out to each of the travelers. With Croatia and many other educational and exciting trips on the horizon, there will be plenty more impressive photo books in store for Pirkle and 3D Journeys.