In 1961, John Anderson founded Contiki in New Zealand. Word on the street is that the name is actually two words: ‘Con’ and ‘Tiki’. ‘Con’ is a shortened form of ‘Continent’, as a nod to the brand’s mission to connect travelers to all the continents of the world. ‘Tiki’, pays homage to the New Zealand heritage of the brand, and the name for a Maori good luck charm.
I found Contiki, quite simply, through Google. I wanted to travel the world but the idea of setting up excursions and plans and activities gave me anxiety. The ability to be able to not plan anything and pay significantly less for a trip sounded of course, amazing!
I decided I should start with a European tour-- so I went on the European Experience. That is three weeks around Europe. Italy, France. Germany, Switzerland, Amsterdam-- the works!
I had an amazing time. However, I believe I was still quite immature to really appreciate the fact that I was alone, with strangers from around the world. I did the most I could, taking it all in for what it was. I wouldn't change a thing: I learned a lot, I met interesting people, and my eyes opened up a bit wider.
The following year I decided to take another Contiki tour to Spain. I chose the Spanish Spree, and saw many cities in Spain in 14 days. This trip was life changing. I had fun, was with people who passed no judgement, and made life long friendships. I still continue to see them and speak to them to this day.
To anyone who is scared to travel alone-- please don't be. It is one of the most freeing things you will ever do. You are independent, but you must exercise that muscle. Go alone, and make friends you will have forever!
Then come and tell me about it!