Traveling the world: a delightful way for adults to learn

by Carly Allard

“You can’t travel somewhere without learning something,” said Doug Whittle, director and trip leader for UW-Madison Continuing Studies educational travel program.

That’s because travel involves immersing yourself in new traditions, landscapes, culture, history, arts and more, he added.

For the past seven years, Whittle has planned adventures and guided participants on more than 50 excursions around the world. Whittle’s dual role of planner and trip leader is what separates Continuing Studies’ trips from most others.

Each year, Whittle is excited to take his travelers to domestic locales including New York City, Santa Fe, and Washington, D.C. to participate in drama and music festivals as well as art museums and gallery tours. His many international tours explore places like Vietnam, Peru, Italy, and Tanzania.

When deciding on future travel destinations, Whittle and his associate, Kim Seymour, look to the public for suggestions. “Most people want to venture ‘off the beaten path,’” said Whittle. “We look for interesting places that offer unique educational opportunities.” A bi-annual travel newsletter, published by Continuing Studies staff, shares information about upcoming excursions, and many travel ideas come from newsletter subscribers or previous trip participants.

While some may be apprehensive about traveling with a group, these travel programs are structured to ensure quality experiences for all participants. Whittle and his travel partners take each and every detail into account during the 15-month planning process. Continuing Studies international travel groups are capped at 25 to keep educational focus and individual experiences genuine.

“Traveling with a small group allows our clients to acquire a more natural feel for their new surroundings. Our groups are privileged to stay at hotels and lodges with a more intimate, candid feel and small numbers ensure a nimble group movement throughout the entire trip,” Whittle noted.

Although many educational travel clients are from southcentral Wisconsin, participants come from all over America, with some from other countries as well. Each travel group is different and each trip is a new adventure. A connection to UW-Madison is not required and everyone is welcome, as long as they are interested in exploration and education.

Are you looking for an adventure? Maybe you’re in the market for a change of scenery? The educational travel department plans about seven or eight trips per year. Travel arrangements are underway for 2013 trips to Morocco and Poland/Germany.

Whittle is always open to suggestions and would love to plan future trips to far-off destinations such as India, China, Cuba, Russia, and the Galapagos Islands.

For more information regarding upcoming excursions, contact Whittle by email. Read details about the tours on the Educational Travel site, or join the educational travel mailing list: Then get ready to pack your bags!

Tell us: What destinations do you yearn to visit? Or, what have been the favorites that you have already toured?