Even I would raise an eyebrow at the title of this blog post, yet here I sit writing it in all honesty and earnestness. It was just one of many surprises though during a week of fun exploration touring with Globus. With many decades of experience from which to draw, they were the ideal partner as I left my home/prison of two years and hit the road, this time trekking across gorgeous Northern California on Globus’ California Dreamin’ tour.
Why partner with a tour company for this domestic trip? Through their other businesses (Monograms and Avalon) I have traveled with them before and knew I could trust them for an amazing travel experience. I also looked forward to the ease in experiencing some of the highlights on the trip, namely Yosemite and Mammoth Lakes. I love to explore though and what perhaps interested me the most was learning about new places, which included the capital of California, Sacramento.
Prior to this trip I didn’t have much of an impression regarding the city, except that I anticipated it to be dull, drab and hardly worth my time. As is so often the case though in the travel experience, I was totally and completely wrong. Thanks not only to the expert guiding of Globus, but also the options presented to me while visiting I enjoyed a lovely visit that I know won’t be my last.
If you’re familiar with Sutter’s Mill, then you’re familiar with the history of Sacramento, at least partially. He was one of the early Western settlers to call the valley home and of course it was at his mill where, in 1848, gold was first discovered. Sacramento’s location was ideal and within a few years it had grown to a population of 10,000. In the 1850s the state legislature moved to the city, forever confirming its existence and importance in the history of the state. Today Sacramento is home to more than half a million people, making it one of the largest state capitals but none of this really hooked me. No, it wasn’t until I experienced the city on my own, with the help of Globus, that I really began to understand its charm.
Globus has a touring option that it calls Choice Touring, or YourChoice. The idea is to add in elements of travel that people love, namely the opportunity to choose what they see and do in new places. Sure, some of the stops on the tour were locked in, but at three stops there were excursion options from which to choose. Each option was very different from the other, ensuring that nearly all types of travelers can be accommodated.
Not surprising for me, I chose the food tour option around the city. Like so many urban centers around the world, Sacramento has enjoyed a Renaissance of sorts in the culinary options available to locals and visitors alike. But it wasn’t on the tour when I learned to love to city, no, it actually wasn’t during any formal activity at all.
Our included hotel on the tour was just a block or so away from the city’s historic downtown core. This very pedestrian friendly zone instantly won me over, although it’s hard to pinpoint why. Walking into the zone during the best of gloaming, a small fair was set up on the fringes and families were out and about enjoying themselves, likely for the first time since Covid. Small independent shops and restaurants lined the streets and the overall vibe was one of happiness and contentment. Of course it helped that several tour participants joined me on this evening of exploration, adding so much more fun to the experience. While simple, that’s actually the best adjective for the experience – fun. It seems so basic a thing for me to say, but it’s something that can be hard to find, especially lately. Just as the locals needed that fair to be set up, I needed that night of fun in Sacramento. As for everyone, the last couple of years have been really hard for me and the opportunity to be out and about and just act normal again was priceless and something I very desperately needed.
Is a fully escorted tour as style of travel I will choose for every trip? No, but there’s no single travel style I would always choose. I have long maintained that a wide diversity of travel modes is key to becoming a more well rounded traveler. This means independent travel for sure, but it also means a cruise every now and then, a partially coordinated adventure and yup, a fully escorted tour too. When utilized at the best time and in the best places for you, they only add to the travel experience. I can’t promise you that they’ll make you fall in love with Sacramento as I did, but I do know that you’ll find your own version of Sacramento along the way.
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