Way back at the end of 1999, I went on a bus tour in Australia with Contiki. I had a blast and met some really cool people. It's a great way to travel if you're flying solo. Unfortunately, I usually am. So when I was looking for something similar for this year, I remembered another bus tour company I had read about awhile back.
Our itineraries are designed for fun-loving, independent travelers who value cooperation. We invite all travelers, from the young to the young at heart, to contribute to the unique social dynamic that is created on every Green Tortoise trip. Discover for yourself why our adventure camping trips have been attracting socially conscious travelers since 1974.The big difference between GT and Contiki, besides the cost of the trips, is that with Contiki, you sleep in hotels. With GT, the bus is not only your ride, but your mobile hostel as well. Busses sleep up to 36 people, which I'll likely get to see for myself, since they said the tour I booked always fills up. This kind of travel is not for everyone. If you haven't spent significant time in a 3rd world country, I wouldn't recommend it.
I signed up for the Baja Beach Daze. A 15 day adventure down to Mexico and (hopefully) back. It leaves the evening of Dec 19th from San Francisco, but I'll likely jump aboard early Saturday morning (20th) in L.A. I have a company Christmas party Friday night to help put on. The bus pulls back into the US on Jan 3rd.
Some nights are spent in tents on the beach. Everyone pitches in to prepare meals and clean up. Bathroom stops are frequent, but showers are not. I'm preparing now for the colorful aromas sure to arise on a bus full of 36 bodies. The best blog account I've found online so far is by Linda. Begin on Part I and work your way up from there. Trust me, it's worth the read. Her report is far better than anything I'll be able to put down on paper.
The real winners from all this? You, my readers. While Derek solicits your donations to report on a dreadful Def Leppard / White Snake concert in Tokyo, I am offering up this 15 day epic to you free of charge. However, I won't be bringing my laptop, so you'll have to wait until my triumphant return to hear all the gritty details. In the meantime, besides Linda's account, I came across this fantastic website created in tribute to a trip in 2004. Lots of photos, etc.