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Travel stories

A look back at some of our best 2021 travel moments

Dec 13, 2021 by Jamie Gallerani

Watching volcanoes erupt in Iceland, gazing out at the Grand Canyon, snorkeling with tropical fish in Hawaii—we shared so many unforgettable experiences with our travel family as the world reopened in 2021, and couldn’t be more grateful for your support and trust in us. Click play on the video below to reminisce about all the ways we made travel happen this past year, then read on for a behind-the-scenes look at some of our top travel memories! We can’t wait to see even more dream destinations with you in 2022.


2021 travel memories from Iceland

^ Staffer Simon striking a pose on a glacier in Iceland

“Everybody is so excited to be on the road, and the places we go are excited to have us back,” said staffer Simon after returning from our Iceland: Reykjavik & the Golden Circle tour. “Particularly in Iceland, everywhere we went, everyone was so welcoming. People were saying, ‘We’re so glad to hear English again in Iceland!’ That just speaks to how this trip went.”

“This is me on top of the world,” Simon said of his travel snapshot above. “I’m on top of the glacier just outside the ice cave. That’s a fantastic part of the trip, to go through the ice cave!”

Read what it’s like to travel to Iceland right now →


2021 travel memories from Hawaii

^ Staffer Steph taking in the views at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

“My favorite memory from Hawaii was our sunset cruise in Maui,” said staffer Steph after her Hawaii: Oahu, the Big Island & Maui tour. “The weather could not have been more perfect. The sunset was gorgeous, with colors of purple, pink, yellow, and orange, and we even saw a rainbow! We all kept looking at each other, saying, ‘Is this real? Are we actually here right now?!’ It was just beyond words and an incredible experience that I will never forget.”

“I feel so fortunate I got to travel this year,” Steph continued. “While COVID has hit us all extremely hard, travel is the one thing that keeps me inspired and rejuvenated. It also made me more appreciative of the beauty in the U.S. Most of the time when I plan travel, it’s to go abroad. But after visiting Hawaii, there are so many more domestic stops on my list!”


2021 memories from the U.S. national parks

Img ^ Staffer Nilsen with the best backdrop ever: Monument Valley

“I was privileged to be able to travel on our second national parks departure that we had after the world reopened,” said staffer Nilsen after returning from our U.S. National Parks: The Grand Canyon to Zion tour. “The group was really wonderful. One thing that I was really excited about was that everyone I talked to was just so excited to travel.”

“We went to the Grand Canyon, and I was really lucky on my tour because a lot of folks were into hiking,” he said. “We went down into the canyon, about a mile-and-a-half on the South Kaibab Trail. The Grand Canyon is so big that it’s hard to take in, and it’s hard to describe. You just have to go there! Being there and seeing it up close was something that I had done before, but I’d never actually hiked down into the canyon. So, that was a really great memory that we made together as a group. If you’re thinking about traveling to the Southwest, do it. You just have to experience it for yourself.”


2021 memories from France, Spain & Italy

^ Staffers Emily (right) and Jules at Villa Ephrussi in France

“I love the small moments on a trip, like when you meet the owner of a local shop or sit down for a meal that ends up stretching long into the night,” said staffer Emily after returning from her 2021 trip, Barcelona, Southern France & the Italian Riviera. “So for me, my favorite memory from my tour came when I was in Florence. I studied abroad in the city and this year was my first time back. I made reservations to eat at my favorite restaurant, and that night was the perfect mix of everything I love about travel: chatting with a good friend over a delicious meal while meeting the people who call the city home. In this case it was our friendly waiter who had no trouble convincing us to order the larger carafe of wine!”

“We all travel to create connections, whether that be with places or people, but ideally it’s with both,” she said. “Being back on the road made me thankful for the opportunity to spend time with people from across the globe who also believe in the power of those daily interactions, which make a travel experience so memorable.”


A Tour Director’s 2021 memories from Greece

^ Tour Director Christiane (center) and her group soaking in the Aegean sunshine

Greece is open for travel—this was the most exciting news I heard since April 2020,” said Tour Director Christiane after one of the first 2021 departures of our A Week in Greece: Athens, Mykonos & Santorini tour. “It meant that I could once again do what I love the most: share my passion for travel, and especially the Greek culture, history, food, music, and way of life, with our Go Ahead travelers from around the world.”

Read a Tour Director’s memories of visiting Greece in 2021 →

Do you have any favorite Go Ahead travel memories from 2021? Or, are you getting ready to take a bucket list trip in the year ahead? Tell us all about it on our Facebook page!

On AssignmentTraveler stories
About the author | Jamie Gallerani
It was Jamie’s homestay in Germany that made her fall in love with travel (and her studies in Florence that really sealed the deal). When she’s not writing and sharing the magic of seeing the world with others, she’s usually on the lookout for her new favorite memoir, testing out recipes at home, or visiting her family on Cape Cod.

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