Sorry, blame it on Ashish!

He got a little bit carried away when he was shooting photos of the Northern Lights in Yellowknife in Canada’s beautiful Northwest Territories. We think it was a case of brainfreeze

Actually, he had a great time but the Florida guy whined a lot about the -30 degrees. “Plus wind chill, he kept whimpering.

Have a fabulous, fun April Fool’s Day on Sunday, and please come back next week when we will tell you about our newest sustainable collaboration in Peru.




Contact Big Five Tours

Navigator Series® Edition III
Order your copy today
Brochure Order Form
Or contact us at 800 244 3483

Big Five Tours Kids Kollaborate Study

Here we go again… Big Five is creating another new challenge for itself. On Saturday, March 17, Big Five had its inaugural gathering, which at the moment is dubbed the Kids Kouncil. The event took place in our headquarters and was composed of six children between the ages of 6 and 20 years of age, who are all related to Big Five employees. Two of them joined in via Skype.  We took a really cool video at the end of the meeting about that experience that you can watch here.

Why? Well I promise it wasn’t to hold them captive or deprive them a fine Saturday morning outdoors.

As many of you already know, we have a family collection of trips called Precious Journeys, which features activities and hands-on learning experiences specifically tailored for children.

As we began to look for new adventures and options for this select collection, the idea was born to have a meeting for and run by kids – no adults allowed. We came up with a short list of questions for them to discuss.  The oldest member of the team served as the moderator.

The objective of this exercise was to get real answers from the children directly, without the adult filter, to discover what is important to children today. We did not focus on travel much but rather on what each child looked for and valued. Questions ranged from what was the best day you ever had, to what was the grossest food you ever ate.

The only rule was that wherever the conversation went, the adults would not interfere in any way. They weren’t even allowed in the room, except for a silent Ashish to take some pictures.

We realized this was a bit risky as we did not know what to expect. Would they all sit there mute? Would the run around and talk video games?  Would we get any useful data from this experiment?

But it wasn’t long before we saw that these kids had a lot to say about the world and what they expect. We learned more in two hours than we could have learned in a couple of lifetimes. What we think and what kids think are miles apart. If men are from Mars and women are from Venus, parents must be from Mercury and kids from Pluto!

Over the coming months, we are going to use what we learned to fine tune our process for family trips, and build our next Precious Journeys adventure. We are going to make family travel more purple as some of our friends in certain parts of the US would say. This goes back to one of our primary ideas that travel today is as much about why and less about where – even with kids.

We were impressed by how enthusiastic these children were and how eager they were to do it again. So we have decided to make the Kids Kouncil a formal part of the Big Five process and we are expanding the group to include children from outside our circle.

This is where you come in.  We are looking for a name for our gathering. We have five choices listed below, which our kids came up with. Watch their video on our Facebook page and cast your vote in the comments section.

  1. Kids Kouncil
  2. K Kids
  3. Voices Council
  4. Kids Options
  5. Kids Opinions


Tour Cairo The Way Egyptians See It

After a day of exploring Cairo’s glorious past, spend an evening learning about Cairo’s active present. You have been on the move all day with your Egyptologist, discovering the epic monuments of a civilization that arose more than 5,000 years ago; from the breathtaking Pyramids of Giza and the great Sphinx, to King Zoser’s Step Pyramid at Sakkara.

But what about the people?

This evening, you get a look at Cairo the way Egyptians see it. Your host this evening is Farah Abouseif, who will pick you up in her car. This is a personal outing as if you were going out with a friend who lives in the city. The drive starts with Tahrir Square. You have the unique opportunity to talk politics, which is normally discouraged when traveling in foreign countries. But right now with Farah, it is permissible. Discuss the revolution, what happened, how it was and what it is like now.

Farah will also tell you what it is like for her, as an Egyptian female, and for other women in Egypt in general today. Travel through the downtown area to Zamalek, a nice district and home to Sequoia, a relaxing restaurant with comfortable couches and overstuffed chairs, low wooden tables, draped canopies and soft light. Savor fusion Mediterranean cuisine from Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Morocco, Turkey, Greece and Italy in simple elegance, where conversations flow easily. You talk about your journey and experience, and compare Egypt to your home and to other countries that you may have visited. The topics vary depending on what interests you most.

Cairo is complex and not easy to understand. But this evening is all about giving you a personal look at the culture and the society of the city, and the way Egyptians see it as well as the history and the monuments, many of which are around underdeveloped areas. You meet Egyptians, who are relatively open-minded, exposed to Western education and culture. Conversations range far, from politics and economics, to entertainment and lifestyles.

This very special and personal evening can be added to any Egypt itinerary that includes Cairo.



Contact Big Five Tours

Navigator Series® Edition III
Order your copy today
Brochure Order Form
Or contact us at 800 244 3483

Puppet Masters In Indonesia Tour

What child, or adult for that matter, doesn’t like a puppet show?

Puppetry is one of the oldest art forms and thought to have originated some 4,000 years ago. Societies from ancient Egypt and Greece to the Middle East and India had their versions of puppet shows. Archaeologists have even discovered a terracotta doll capable of manipulation by a string that dates back to 2500 BCE, which suggests that puppets and Puppet Masters may have been used in the Indus Valley Civilization.

Puppetry in Indonesia goes back to about 800 CE. The term for puppetry, wayang, is derived from the Indonesian word for shadow, bayang. Wayang kulit, shadow puppetry, is a type of storytelling that originated on the Indonesian island of Java. It thrived at the royal courts of Java and Bali and in rural areas as a popular form of entertainment as well as to communicate ideas. It spread to other islands including Lombok, Madura, Sumatra and Borneo, each developing local variations. The puppets vary in size, shape and style. There are two main types of puppets: the three-dimensional wooden puppet (wayang klitik or golèk) and the flat leather shadow puppet (wayang kulit) projected in front of a screen lit from behind.

Shadow puppets present a singular form of narrative theater that makes use of light and shadows. The puppets are made of water buffalo hide and mounted on sticks, which can be made of water buffalo horn, wood or bamboo.

The puppet master, dalang, manipulates the puppets behind a large section of white cloth or screen with a bulb or an oil lamp used as a light source, capturing the shadows on the screen. In times past, puppeteers were regarded as literary experts who communicated moral and aesthetic lessons through puppetry. Wayang stories use characters from a variety of sources including indigenous myths, historic epics and heroes from Persian tales. Some of the plays also included local events or gossip. The repertory and performance techniques were transmitted orally within the families of puppeteers, musicians and puppet-makers.

Puppet shows remain popular in Indonesia, but have had to undergo some changes in style and subject matter to compete with today’s video and digital world.

Wayang puppet theater has been recognized by UNESCO on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

You can add a visit a puppet-making shop in Solo to see how this amazing art form is created on any exploration of extraordinary Indonesia.


Contact Big Five Tours

Navigator Series® Edition III
Order your copy today
Brochure Order Form
Or contact us at 800 244 3483

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