Jul21_01 85I always loved to travel but hated being an ordinary kind of tourist, staying in hotels for a few nights and buzzing through major sights at the speed of Superwoman. I wanted to experience the phenomenal difference between visiting a location for a time-limited vacation and integrating myself into the community as someone who belonged there. I needed to see, hear, smell, touch, and taste where I went, really getting to know the people and place. At the time, I didn’t know that what I wanted to experience was Immersion Travel.

What makes Immersion Travel different is that it means taking an active part—working, volunteering, advocating, playing or learning—where you visit in order to learn about the culture, traditions, and characteristics of each particular place, just like a local. Immersion Travel add-ons are often free and unexpected. In Stehekin, Washington I spotted a wedding invitation on a community bulletin board inviting everyone to attend. I purchased a vase, picked wildflowers, helped serve the champagne and wedding cake, and made new forever friends.

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