I absolutely recommend Ananda without hesitation. The yoga + adventure trip was very thoughtfully and professionally planned out every step of the way. Michael got ahead of the few, inevitable travel-related issues that arose — changing the itinerary according to the weather, taking amazing care of us all.
From booking to pre-departure communication to the actual trip, everything was well-organized and communicated. Michael’s ability to be flexible to deal with the needs of the group as well as the weather was awesome. You could tell that providing the best possible experience was top priority. This type of trip is great for individuals looking to explore new places, without having the typical tourist experience.
I think what made our time with Michael so valuable was that she managed to balance deftly her roles as guide, literary advisor, and friend. I was inspired by Michael’s passion for the places we explored, as well as by her enthusiasm for our written works — and I was perhaps the happiest I’ve ever been sitting in a café in Rome, snacking on a delicious pastry while discussing literature. I could go on and on about how Michael made our two-week trip one of the highlights of my life!
We felt utterly taken care of in every detail, from travel to hotels to food to activities — not having to cope with all the details made the trip incredibly relaxing. Also, we loved how the itinerary was custom-designed to meet our desires and open to changes at almost every moment.
I’m telling everyone I care about that Ananda is the answer for how to turn an opportunity for travel into a meaningful, memorable experience. We always felt well cared for by Michael, and the pacing of our activities and meal times was perfect. Even the drive times were carefully planned, down to the provision of an engrossing audiobook for the longer transfers. We never had to deal with even the smallest headaches that are always a part of international travel; Michael took care of everything!
I liked that on each day there was usually one primary, ‘must-do’ activity, and then a couple of other ideas for the day depending on when we got going, how we felt, etc. I never felt either rushed or like we were taking too much time; it was a real treat to go at our own pace, decide whether we felt like doing anything next, and then ask Michael for suggestions.
I loved the mix of fun, interesting activities and gorgeous sites we enjoyed. A real highlight was getting to harvest grapes and learn about the vinification process, capped by that amazing gourmet lunch in the winery. And the private tour of the pre-historic cave art was amazing. But, then again, the subterranean boat tour of the massive natural cave and the guided visit of the medieval flour mill were equally memorable..., as was canoeing the Dordogne and riding the tram to the top of the Pic du Midi. It’s impossible to choose favorites!
Michael’s reading and packing lists were extremely helpful. On the trip, I thoroughly enjoyed every activity and tour; they were unique and made the trip quite memorable. And I loved the range of accommodations we stayed in — each place was different, comfortable, and full of character.
I will definitely recommend Ananda to my friends. The yoga + adventure trip was well organized and thoughtfully put together. The accommodations were uniformly excellent. The venues and guides included fascinating places and people that I likely would not have found on my own. My horizons were definitely expanded, making the trip well worth the investment!
Michael continuously surprised us with unique, once-in-a-lifetime experiences, and helped us discover the inspiration that constantly surrounded us: we sat on steps in the Roman Colosseum, fictionalizing our time spent in the arena as gladiators; we picnicked in parks, munching on fresh produce we bought at the local market; and we swam in the crystal clear waters of Hydra, Greece. The genuine love for traveling and educating that I saw in Michael struck a chord in me then, and continues to inspire me to find something that I feel as passionate about so that I may influence others just as Michael does.
Banner Photo: THE BURREN, WESTERN IRELAND – 2016, M. HOYER
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