Holidays are a time of reflecting and of gift giving – but not all gifts are wrapped in packages with bows. At Incredible Adventures, we believe that every moment, big and small, is a gift. Yeah yeah we know that sounds sappy… but it’s true!

We asked our staff about the greatest travel gift they’ve ever received, from life changing trips to nifty gadgets they use every day. Though we all have diverse memories and experiences, we’re all bonded together by reminiscing on the things that made us fall in love with travel, and what drives us to share that love with others.

We hope you enjoy these stories, and feel free to share memories of your own with us (or come on one of our tours and make new memories and traditions with old friends and new!)

Happy Holidays from The Incredible Adventures staff!

The greatest gifts are the ones you give.

“The greatest travel gift I’ve ever received was also a gift I got to give to someone else. Last year I was planning an amazing solo trek to Iceland for the first time. Shortly before I was scheduled to leave, I fell in love with this amazing man, and learned that he had never been outside of California! Every time I mentioned my upcoming trip and all the waterfalls I’d be seeing and the hot springs I was excited to dive into, I saw his eyes light up. So on Christmas I told him to check his email – I had purchased him a ticket to come out to Iceland with me. While I probably would have had a great time on my own, I was so excited to have an amazing travel companion and be a part of this special milestone in his life. It was better than I could have ever imagined, and we still talk about this trip and the memories we shared almost daily!” – Lauren, Digital Marketing Manager

Two gifts that got me moving… literally!

“My sisters have always been supportive of my desire for travelling, even when it was just beginning. I remember one Christmas in the early 90’s when one of my sisters got me a rugged travel bag and the other gave me a sweet, old school Pentax K1000 film camera. I felt like both of those items actually made it somewhat mandatory that I plan some kind of big trip…So I did. I put the bag on the back of my motorcycle packed it full of gear, Pentax included, and rode on out of Kentucky, more than 2000 miles, all the way out to San Diego, CA! “ – JD, General Manager

A thoughtful reminder of home that traveled across the world.

“In 2008, I made the decision to move to South Korea to teach English. I was really nervous about leaving my family, friends, and awesome job as a tutor at a community college behind. I truly loved working there; the students and staff were an amazing group of people. On my last day of work, one of my co-workers handed me a leather bound journal, wrapped in a single gold bow. Inside, each of my co-workers filled a page or two with memories, drawings, words of encouragement and – most importantly for an English major – poems. I’ve never received anything so personal and a gift that so perfectly reflected that point in my life. I still have the journal and I occasionally read through the pages when I’m feeling a bit nostalgic or in need a bit of direction.” – Damian, Operations Manager

The gift of beautiful Christmas traditions.

“We always go up north to go foraging on New Year’s Day – it’s a tradition with some of our close friends to have a great dinner, a quiet night on NYE, and then get up at 4am to head to the mountains. Because of the holiday, the (well-known and usually bustling) wilderness area is mostly deserted. Usually by the end of December, California has had enough rain for the winter mushrooms to come up, and we scramble up trails and into ravines with our eyes peeled for exciting finds: delicate yellowfoot chanterelles, stunning black trumpets, quirky “hedgehogs”, and the famed delicacy matsutake. What better way to spend the first day of the year than exploring nature and feeling grateful for the earth’s natural bounty? A few years back, my boyfriend got me a fancy French Opinel foraging knife for Christmas; every time I look at it, it reminds me of the quiet moments in the mountains.” – Jessa, Sales and Marketing Director

Perfect camp gear built to last!

“Many years ago my mom got me these little solar powered camp lights. They were designed very well and have held up through rain, snow, and of course, beating sun. About 5 years later they are still going strong. Another cool thing about the lights is that they are designed for developing countries, and the company that makes them is a social enterprise with the goal of bringing affordable solar power to 100 million people by 2020.” – Dan, Financial Controller

Small tokens that led to big adventures.

“A book exchange from college led me to one of my greatest and most challenging adventures to date: A bike ride following the historic Lewis and Clark Trail. The pact written onto the inside of the cover stayed in my bookshelf for 6 years until it was packed into one of my shiny new rear bike panniers. With a wave to my parents on a cool September morning, Tracy and I embarked on a 7 week journey. Being avid backpackers, this was a completely new type of travel for the both of us, seeing so much of our country and meeting amazing people along the way.” – Anne, Business Development Manager

A European extravaganza to usher in the year 2000!

“I’ll never forget during 5th grade, my father took me and my older sister to Germany for Christmas and the Millennium. It was my first big slice of travel, not to mention my first overseas trip. Because he served in the army, it was cheaper for us to catch a military flight out of Delaware than drive out west to the Rockies. We snow skied our butts off, ate way too many giant bowls of fries, drank gluhwein (age was just a #), and they let me dance at the adult NYE party like it was 1999…because it was. This and many other family trips only stoked that wanderlust fire.” – Nicole, Tour Guide

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