The joy of group travel


By Carole Gieseke

One of the true joys of group travel is the intensity and speed with which you become friends with your fellow travelers.

I returned to Ames last week after hosting a two-week trip to South America with a dynamic group of Iowa State alumni and their friends and spouses. We were a compact group of 17 – we could all fit at one big table in a restaurant if we put our minds to it.

In those two weeks we went from being total strangers to becoming lifelong friends. We shared so many things: food and wine, of course, but also hiking sticks and rain gear, Immodium and sunscreen…and lots of stories and laughter.

Together we traveled to two of the absolute wonders of South America: Machu Picchu and the Galapagos Islands. Together we climbed along the ancient civilizations and shared the delight of spotting yet another blue-footed booby.


At the end of our journey, our biggest surprise was not that we’d eaten and drunk so well, that we’d stayed in charming and unconventional lodgings, that we’d made it to two of our “bucket list” destinations – no, our biggest surprise was how much all of these things had been enhanced by each other’s presence.

Here’s to a very special group of ISU travelers and my new friends!

For information on upcoming Cyclone Travel opportunities, click here.

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