What’s the difference and how do you choose?

As someone who has done both, I consider myself qualified to speak to the difference between the two. It’s safe to say that most people know that traveling is both a gift and a privilege. But I’m not sure many people understand that the way you travel can dramatically affect your overall enjoyment of the journey, and your memories of the same.

When I got ready to write this article, I thought back to when my husband, Morgan, and I first began exploring the world together. It was in the late 1980s, and we were about to travel to Europe for what we incorrectly assumed would be a Once-in-a-lifetime trip. What we lacked in experience, we made up for in eagerness and enthusiasm. Remembering that trip reminds me of how we did almost EVERYTHING WRONG!

Placing quantity over quality, we aggressively set out to see 35 places in 8 different countries in just 17 days! It’s worth noting that we planned this trip without today’s technology, as tools like Google were still a decade away. So no online research, reviews, maps, or GPS. No way to book accommodations, car rentals, train tickets, or flights. Dauntingly, this trip was also before the EU came into existence, meaning we had to deal with passports and a variety of currencies each time we crossed a border!

Looking back, that first trip was the old-school DIY version of what I now refer to as “CONSUMER TOURISM.” We spent a ton of money and energy moving quickly from place to place simply in an effort to check off boxes like they were squares on some sort of twisted travel-bingo card. Ultimately we returned home well short of our 35-place goal and we were broke and exhausted to boot!

Here we are, a few decades later and the whole travel scenario has changed dramatically! Modern-day CONSUMER TOURISM has raised the stakes! Thousands of HUGE corporations have popped up to sling low-budget cruises and overland big-bus tours to every corner of our planet. These companies count on high-volume, cookie-cutter offerings to make their money. If they can churn thousands of people through the same tour week in and week out, they make a huge profit.

My two favorite examples of Consumer Tourism are:

That’s right folks, for the low, low price of just $899, you and 3000 of your “closest friends” can jump on a floating city for 15 days, enjoy our 24-hour-a-day dining options, see B-level Vegas-style entertainment, and visit 11 tiny little ports of call that used to be picturesque remote villages just over a decade ago. But don’t worry, they can’t wait to welcome their 10-15,000 new friends each week who come for a super immersive 5-7 hour visit. Oooh, and don’t forget that before you actually make it into the village itself, you’ll first need to run the gauntlet through the cruise-sponsored liquor, T-shirt, and jewelry stores as you depart the ship! Don’t be mad, the kickbacks we get from those shops are how we can offer you a 15-day cruise for just $899 in the first place… so spend generously!


We “personally” invite you and 120 strangers to climb aboard two luxury buses and slip through the beautiful back roads of Europe… complete with four 30-minute sightseeing opportunities per day! That’s right! Everyone on Bus A will follow Betty with her blue flag on a stick, while Bus B will stick with Doug and follow the red flag. Don’t forget your reusable earbuds so you can hear their fascinating narrative. Everyone back to the bus in 30 please!

I nearly break out in hives by the thought of either of those scenarios!

Morgan and I quickly decided to change how we traveled. Instead of 35 places, we typically picked 3-4 in a more compact area. We stayed at least three or four days immersing ourselves in each place, searching for the regional heartbeat, and striking up interesting and probing conversations with the locals… typically at a pub! The people we met along the way formed a sort of “global family,” many of whom I remain in contact with to this day!

Thus INTENTIONAL TRAVEL became our thing! As a result of traveling with intention and immersion, we were never marked as the “ugly American tourists.” We sought out ways to give back to a community, rather than just taking and consuming the whole time. We did our best for our travels to leave an enduring net-positive impact from our having spent time there, rather than simply leaving a gigantic American footprint in our wake.

What does this have to do with Wanderful Tanzania?

In short… everything!

Six months after losing Morgan in 2017, I joined a group of friends on a large photo safari to Tanzania, figuring it might help me heal a bit. I had no idea that it would renew my spirit and provide me with the purpose and passion that would fuel the next chapter of my life!

On the first day of the safari, I forged a deep bond with one of our guides (Simon). Just three months later, I launched Periquito Adventures (in honor of Morgan) here in the USA, and Simon and I founded Wanderful Tanzania in his country. Before that year was out, we led our first safari with 8 brave guests, and simply never looked back!

Wanderful Tanzania was founded on the same INTENTIONAL TRAVEL principles that I developed and mastered through the years. Rejecting the cookie-cutter approach of mass tourism, we strive to provide authentic, meaningful experiences that foster connections with Tanzania’s rich natural and cultural heritage. By prioritizing sustainability, community engagement, and genuine hospitality, we aim to redefine the safari experience, leaving a positive legacy for both travelers and our hosts alike!

We invite you to join us on safari soon! Registration is open for multiple small-group trips now, or you can give us a call to create a private safari for your own special group! We’d love to introduce you to all of the wild beasts, wide-open spaces, history, people, tribes, cultures, traditions, archaeology, and flavors which form the beautiful tapestry of Tanzania!


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