We are in the middle of an unprecedented shift by travelers demanding experiential travel. So it fascinates us to track all of the unusual tours that bespoke travel companies have to offer. Especially in the luxury sector. At LuxeGetaways, we have covered around-the-world adventures via private jet, will soon try a wine cruise while tasting Premier Cru along the way, five-star dude ranches complete with test drives of not horses but Porsches, Bentleys, Ferraris, and muscle cars of the 60’s; while the current hot tickets include photo safaris, eco-adventures, and volun-tourism. With all of the competition for your travel experience, how does a company stay ahead of the pack, and offer something new?

One company, Ode to Joy, might have the answer. Ode To Joy believes that we are in an “era of authenticity.”  To quote founder Marc Mekki, “Luxury travel is now finally about people and authentic encounters, not just conspicuous spending (but) a new path to enriching, life-affirming, authentic travel and experiences.”

Marc Mekki

So what exactly does Ode to Joy do to deliver on this message?  Marc says he was tired of business as usual in European luxury tourism. So he decided to forego the typical mass inventory approach. Marc and his team set out across Europe to seek out, and engage locals who could arrange guided small scale journeys to uncover the real local culture, often with unprecedented insider access. Ode to Joy then challenged each of them to design a range of travel experiences, unique stays and journeys unlike any in Europe before. The remarkable result? Travel experiences called “Stories” and the guides are of course called “The Storytellers.”

We found this concept intriguing, and because we wanted to know more, we looked up some of the “Story” examples currently available on Ode to Joy. They have arranged categories on their website by regions, interests, indulgences and scenery. Here is a taste of these opportunities Ode To Joy is sharing with LuxeGetaways readers:

Some are short trips, some longer, but they typically run between 3 and 7 days. Marc Mekki and his team are travel company veterans, so these have curated journeys that involve the highest calibre of local partners selected from Europe’s travel industry elite. But name your adventure wish and they will work to fulfill it; but they do this in a travel-savvy style that we appreciate at LuxeGetaways.

You could call Ode to Joy a comprehensive concierge, or a sophisticated travel planning company, but the absolute beauty in all of the trips operated by Ode to Joy, is that they want to inspire you. Think of Marc and the “Storytellers” as  friends in a country that you are visiting; and they naturally want to open your eyes so that you can appreciate the unique, the sacred, and the inspirational. Much has been said about travel creating memories, and living life in the moment; and Ode to Joy will get you to that place in your own heart. Be inspired!