We all have things we’ve wanted to pursue, but never had the chance to do. Maybe you wanted to get into woodworking or dreamed about becoming an artist. I’ve always wanted to learn to how to dance, but somehow work and the demands of life always got in the way.
A growing trend in travel, though, is changing all that. Learning vacations, as they are sometimes, combine the fun of travel with the opportunity to learn something new.
These days, travelers can learn to cook in Italy, take quilting seminars at sea, build wooden ships in Maine or learn Spanish in Costa Rica — and that’s just a few options.
“There’s a vacation school for just about everyone,” says Zach McDuffie, founder of School of the World in Costa Rica and the Learning Vacation Network, a site that connects travelers with learning vacations all over the world.
“People have always wanted to travel,” McDuffie says, “but now we want more for our vacation dollars.”
Learning vacations are especially popular with Baby Boomers, who see themselves as “evolving” rather than aging, according to the CDC’s Audience Insights.
Baby Boomers are adventurous, the CDC found, and have a strong desire to see places and experience things before the opportunity is lost.
I’ve seen this Boomer enthusiasm for learning new things firsthand.
As a travel journalist and editor at Go World Travel Magazine, I’ve worked with several travel writers who got into writing later in life, after the kids were raised or the first career ran its course. These writers combined their love of travel with an interest in writing.
One of our frequent writers is in his 80s. He’s a darn good writer and he loves to travel. He combined those interests into a nice writing career. (Here’s one of his latest articles, a piece from Petra.)
It’s exhilarating to try something new – and it’s also enjoyable to teach something you love to others.
In addition to my work at the magazine, I’m an instructor at Travel Writing On Location, which offers travel writing workshops and tours at top destinations around the world. I love sharing my knowledge of travel writing with others, from teaching basic writing techniques to showing writers how to create their own blogs or websites.
I’m not alone in wanting to share my experience with others. According to McDuffie, who calls himself a Learning Vacation Expert, most learning vacation companies are not large corporations, but rather smaller companies made up of people who are passionate about something, and who want to share that passion with others.
This means that learning vacation opportunities can be harder to find. After all, they don’t have huge marketing budgets. Yet sites like Learning Vacation Network help to bring those opportunities to travelers in one location. Now that travelers are more aware of these vacation options, they are searching them out on their own.
As for me, I’m thrilled to be part of the learning vacation community.
At Travel Writing On Location, we provide travel writing instruction – and an extraordinary destination to write about.
We spend several hours each day in the classroom, but the rest of our time is spent exploring each destination with our professional guides— trying new activities, interviewing experts and experiencing the culture. It’s a unique way to learn about travel writing.
Our workshop/tour combinations vary in length, focus and destination. Upcoming workshops include a 5-day tour and writing workshop in Santa Fe, New Mexico, an authentic dude ranch experience in Colorado and an 8-day tour and travel writing workshop in Bali.
Costs are similar to the cost of a normal vacation package, and workshop/tour combos start at $995. Accommodations, tours, activities, workshop classes and most meals are included.
If you’ve always wanted to try something new, there is plenty of opportunity. Chances are, there’s a learning vacation that is just right for you.
For more information:
Travel Writing On Location
Learning Vacation Network