When you hear the word vast, what comes to mind? The wide open plains of the mid-west, or looking out from a remote beach at the never-ending ocean, or just gazing up at a star-filled night sky? Here at Avant, VAST stands for Virtuoso Active and Specialty Travel. There are 45 tour operators and tourism boards that belong to this program. They sponsor trips ranging from African Safaris to cruising in the South Pacific to train rides in the Rocky Mountains. I’ve been lucky enough to be involved with VAST through Avant for past two years, but have enjoyed this kind of travel for much longer than that.
The trips through VAST operators can be extreme adventures that test your physical and mental capacity, or a more subdued and intellectually stimulating trip such as relaxing while learning about a new culture. Thinking back on some of my VAST experiences, I’ve had the opportunity to visit extraordinary places and meet some pretty incredible people. Two experiences that immediately come to mind are bungee jumping off the Kawarau Bridge in New Zealand — my palms still get sweaty just thinking about it — and visiting a preschool in South Africa where we got to play with the kids and present them with school supplies. Their joy and appreciation was infectious. Both trips were rewarding in different ways, and both equipped me with memories that will last a lifetime. It’s amazing what travel can do for the human spirit! Stay tuned as Avant advisors share their VAST experiences and hopefully get you out there to experience a unique and memorable trip of your own in the near future!