Welcome to Muybridge Travel
The truth is, I don't like travel tours very much. Not the traditional kind. Being herded off hermetically sealed busses for an hour (or less!) at some beautiful, historic, or awe-inspiring site. Then, back on the bus to a "tourist favored" restaurant for a rushed meal from a limited menu. And so on to the tune of seven different cities or countries in nine days. If that is your kind of tour, nothing wrong with that — we can even recommend some of the best providers. But we travel to a different drum.
I started Muybridge Travel Tours to offer the kinds of tours I'd never been able to find —holidays that combine the best elements of "tour travel" with the enjoyable aspects of "on your own" trips. On Muybridge itineraries, we travel our destinations principally the way that locals do: we walk, we hop the metros and trams and cable cars, we savor our time at museums and sites, and over meals prepared and eaten where the people who live there do. We love street food and street photography, and you can't get that one amazing photo if the person you've paid to lead you is rushing you along to the next scheduled event. Many of our best experiences have been found by wandering down an interesting looking street or lane just to see what might lay around the bend, and we like it that way.
So, I suppose we don't really provide "tours" as much as we deliver "experiences." I want you to feel like you brought us along on your vacation rather than being made to feel that you were held prisoner on ours. So, if you want to experience Asia or Europe or the U.S. rather than tour them, we hope you'll consider letting us lead you on a holiday that you will count as one of your favorites.
Muybridge Travel Difference
When we started to identify the differences in a Muybridge Travel experience, it quickly began to resemble a sort of "Bill of Traveler's Rights." Here then are what we feel a traveler has the right to expect:
Our Traveler's Bill of Rights
1. The right to enjoy and experience a locale and its people, places and traditions at the pace of someone on holiday — not an invading army.
2. Rich, interesting and engaging scheduled activities combined with unscheduled time in which to pursue individual interests.
3. Group Leaders who are knowledgeable, personable, flexible, engaging, and well...fun — part guide, part concierge and part McGuyver.
4. Destinations that excite, thrill and provide traveler's with a trip worthy of their time and money.
5. Itineraries that combine "must see" sites and events with "hidden gems" that travelers might not have discovered on their own.
6. Accommodations that are 4-star or higher, locally owned and guaranteed to provide authentic experiences.
7. Themes that serve as a stimulating "spine" to an experience but allow room for other activities and pursuits.
8. Exceptional dining opportunities because food and drink are integral to experiencing any culture. Oh, and that "exceptional" does not have to mean "expensive."
9. A relationship with a travel provider that begins long before departure and is ongoing after returning home. And if you travel with us once, you'll never pay full price again on one of our tours.
10. Fun. After working hard week in and week out, travelers have earned the right to have fun with as few travel stresses as possible. Let us do the work — you have the fun.
Our Tour Themes
We like our travel experiences to have central themes — they serve to create more homogenous groups of similarly-minded travelers, they are a central (but not exclusive) focus for a tour, and they provide a richer travel experience where travelers can learn by doing, and do while learning.
Food & Drink. From fine dining to sublime street foods; fine ales and wines to local favorites. Our Food & Drink experiences may find you hoping a Bangkok tuk-tuk for a late-night plate of pad thai in the restaurant that claims to have originated the dish or learning to shop and prepare ahead of making goulash and esterhazy torte in an afternoon at a Budapest cooking class.
Photography. While we are happy to create photo opportunities and provide help on all of our trips, our Photography-themed tours provide everyone from novices to pros the chance to capture the majestic, iconic shots of a locale as well as the stories found in shots of small moments and hidden places.
Art & Culture. The Art & Culture tours combine visits to the representative collections of a location like Madrid's magnificent Prado museum with visits to small galleries and bohemian spaces like a vacated warehouse in Berlin's Mitte district. Folk dances and music, locals' gathering spots, seasonal festivals and more are on tap on these tours.
Wellness. Dedicated nourishment for mind, body and spirit take the lead on our Wellness Tours. Whether it's studying yoga at a hillside retreat overlooking the Andaman Sea or enjoying the thermal baths of Budapest or learning to prepare foods that are as healthy as the are delicious, these experiences replenish travelers needing to recalibrate away from their daily routine.
Writing. A writing retreat can inspire, challenge, enlighten and motivate writers. Spending one or two weeks in an environment dedicated to connecting a writer with his or her muse is not only an amazing holiday, but a priceless investment in creativity and process.
Why Name It "Muybridge"?
I get this question every so often. I love it when I do because I get to tell the story, so...
In the late 1800s, former California governor Leland Stanford was a horse owner, and he had taken a very public position (and a few healthy wagers if rumors are true) as to whether or not there was a moment in a horse's trot or gallop when all four hooves were off the ground at the same time. Such were the worries of the day evidently.
Enter Eadweard Muybridge, a well-known photographer. Muybridge went out to a race track and set up a series of a dozen cameras, all with their shutters rigged to trip-threads that would cause the cameras to shoot an image as the horse galloped past.
The horse ran. The cameras fired. And in the resulting photographs, evidence was found that yes, there is a moment when a horse runs that all four feet are off the ground at the same time. Something else happened, though. When the stack of photographs was flipped through in sequence, it created the illusion that the horse was galloping in motion. Now, illustrated "flip books" had been around forever, but this was the first notion that the same effect could be created via the mechanical and chemical processes of photography. And thus, the first domino was toppled in what eventually became the motion picture art-form and industry.
Motion pictures and "film" have been a lifelong love affair for me. Cinemas have always been sanctuaries, and I have had transformative experiences through films that would likely never have been had otherwise. The main part of my career has been spent working in the film industry for studios in Los Angeles (the first places I started moving people around the globe with places to stay and things to do), and I cherish the people I have gotten to work with, the things I have gotten to do, and the places I have seen.
So, I named our travel company after the man who facilitated all my hours spent in dark caverns with total strangers, gazing up at images flickering on a far wall and being carried to far away worlds and stories. A raised glass and nod of deep thanks, Eadweard!