Photo by Jeffery Cross.

Traveling to Cairo in October of 2011 for our first AFAR Experiences event was one of the most memorable trips of my life. Ten months after the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak, a group of 35 travelers converged in the city for our immersive program made up of neighborhood tours, private visits to cultural institutions, home dinners, and intimate conversations with some of Egypt’s most influential thinkers and doers. The trip forced me out of my comfort zone and upended my preconceived notions about the Arab Spring.

On the pages of AFAR, we try to take you beyond the surface of a place. We believe that the world becomes more real and more understandable when stories get personal. Ultimately, however, the point of what we do is to inspire you to travel, to create your own stories, and to come away with a more nuanced and complex understanding of a place, its people, and yourself. AFAR Experiences offers this and more.

In 2015, we are hosting two trips: the first, in Charleston, South Carolina, runs March 13–14; the second, in Montreal, Quebec, runs June 25–29. These places may not be as far-flung as Cairo, but I can vouch for the rich activities you’ll experience in both North American destinations.

From such eateries as Fig and the Ordinary to High Wire Distilling and Edmund’s Oast brewery, Charleston is one of the most exciting U.S. cities for eating and drinking right now. AFAR Experiences attendees will enjoy plenty of both with one of our program curators, Brooks Reitz, the proprietor of Leon’s Oyster House and the founder of Jack Rudy Cocktail Co., which specializes in small-batch cocktail ingredients (his bitters and tonic are not to be missed).

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AFAR Experiences Canada coincides with the Montreal Jazz Festival, and that’s just the beginning of the cultural exploration we offer up. We’ll enjoy unfettered access at museums, meet fashion designers, and hear about the local film scene. As you are planning travel for 2015, I hope you’ll join us for what will be two highly memorable trips.

Travel Well,

Julia Cosgrove

This appeared in the November/December 2014 issue.