Walking Tree Travel

Walking Tree Travel

About

Walking Tree Travel aims to educate the next generation of globally conscious citizens by bringing them to explore the world around them. With unique programs that encourage students to take part in adventure travel, cultural immersion, conduct research, and provide community service support, Walking Tree Travel provides travelers with an unforgettable experience abroad.

Student travelers are not merely observant tourists, but dive into the foreign environment and engage in cross-cultural communication with locals. For more information about educational travel programs offered by Walking Tree Travel, visit the website.

Headquarters

United States

Reviews

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Robyn
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

As a group leader with Walking Tree Travel and the Smithsonian Student Adventure, I can see the immense reward the students get from participating in our Service Adventure trips. The challenges build character and leadership skills, the beautiful landscapes instill gratitude and stewardship and the friendships create joy and confidence. Vacation is one thing and a student travel program with Smithsonian Student Adventure is a completely different type of nourishment.

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Thomas
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I am blessed to have taken part in this experience as the program leader. The trip itinerary and overall mission is designed with a wonderful balance between tourism and travel, all while emphasizing the importance of cross-cultural connections with local communities. As such, it attracted an incredible group of conscientious, adventurous students who were willing to push themselves in a variety of ways.

The group had the opportunity to experience many aspects of Peruvian culture first hand. The students visited archeological ruins where they learned about the unique influences of Incan history on the country. They tasted local cuisines, toured cities, and hiked and biked the Andes in the Sacred Valley.

Most impressively, the group worked collaboratively on a development project with the Ollantaytambo community, where they were hosted by kind, caring families for about half of the trip. This experience is what truly makes this program life-changing. The students were able to immerse themselves in the culture and the language while in the homestay community. There were countless conversations and exchanges of ideas, peaceful moments and shared meals together, and lots of fútbol! This resulted in the students establishing life-long connections with their host families and memories that they will carry with them for the rest of their lives.

The program's variety is what made it so special for its participants. There were many times throughout the program where an opportunity would arise that was not part of the itinerary. Whether it was watching public demonstrations in the Plaza de Armas in Cusco or surfing waves in Lima when we had time to kill before our flight, students and teachers alike appreciated the program's flexibility while still adhering to the safety and well-being of the group.

I would strongly recommend this program to anyone who desires a unique blend of service and adventure, meaningful relationships with local communities, and an overall authentic travel experience in Peru.

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Rachel
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I recently returned from leading a group of 25 students on a 10 day conservation service adventure in Costa Rica. The program itself was immaculately organized and had an adventure twist to almost every day's activities. The students enjoyed engaging with our natural surroundings, learning about Costa Rican culture and being involved in local enrichments. As a leader, I may sound bias, but Walking Tree Travel is one of the most authentic travel companies I have ever experienced.

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Kaylee
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I have traveled with Walking Tree several times now, as a student participant, alumni and a junior leader and I love each trip. However, Thailand was my absolute favorite place I have been and Walking Tree made the experience so special. I loved that we travel as more than just tourists. We are able to experience the country and the culture in a very unique way. I feel like I learned a lot about the country, the people and the elephants through the wonderful community service project. I loved the trip so much, I recently returned to Thailand on my own and volunteered at the same place again!

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Savannah
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Walking Tree Travel/Smithsonian Student Adventures is everything you want a high school student travel company to be. The company is small, intimate, and makes students and staff alike feel valued. This also means they have developed close knit connections between cross-national/cross-cultural partners. The founders of the company know the families students stay with -- it feels like one big family! Their approach to programming aims to breakdown stereotypes, increase global curiosity/knowledge, and get students excited about global citizenship. Highly highly recommend.

Programs

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Staff Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

Paul Laurie

Paul Laurie studied Marketing and International Business during his undergraduate career at Santa Clara University. During college, Paul spent a semester abroad in Madrid, Spain studying Spanish and European Commerce. After graduation, he embarked on a three-year journey that took him all over the world. He traveled from Times Square to Tierra del Fuego and from Siberia to Singapore, enjoying distinct cultures, great food and meeting lifelong friends every step of the way.
Interview with Paul Laurie, Co-founder of Walking Tree Travel

What position do you hold at Walking Tree Travel? What has been your career path so far?

Paul: I am a Director and Co-Founder at Walking Tree Travel. I started Walking Tree Travel in 2005 with two friends from high school, who shared similar values.

Did YOU study or volunteer abroad?! If so, where and what inspired you to go?

Paul: The summer of my Junior year of high school, I went on a two-week program to France, Italy, and Greece with a group of friends and our History teacher. Although we spent most of our time on tour busses and eating in fairly generic places, this trip helped open my eyes to how big the world is and helped propel me on the path that I have been on ever since. This first trip also helped clarify our vision for the type of organization we wanted Walking Tree Travel to become, contrasted with a typical tour to give young people the opportunity to have a unique, fun, and life-changing adventure.

In college, I studied abroad in Madrid, Spain for a semester. I have always loved exploring, whether it was the local park next to my childhood house or biking in the mountains, and I knew that I wanted to see and experience as much as possible. What better way to do so then get out there and see the world at a young age!

Interview with Paul Laurie, Co-founder of Walking Tree Travel

What does the future hold for Walking Tree Travel - any exciting new programs to share?

Paul: The horizon has never looked brighter! In 2014, we are expanding our offerings to include programs for college students to Uganda, Rwanda, Bolivia, Brazil, and through a unique partnership with two Stanford faculty, a hybrid high school-college program in China. We have developed a Global Leadership Curriculum that will be the focus of several new programs to Spain, Morocco, Mexico, and the USA. We also look forward to further expanding on our international outreach efforts, which will give students from around the world the opportunity to travel together on a program where they learn and grow together.

What about the future of the high school abroad industry? How do you think international education will change over the next 10 years?

Paul: I see the student travel industry thriving in the next ten years, building upon existing offering in more traditional destinations while expanding to locations that might seem remote or inaccessible today. Student programs to the Moon, perhaps?

Interview with Paul Laurie, Co-founder of Walking Tree Travel