Every time I succumb to depression about the state of the economy, I always seem to stumble upon some entrepreneur whose passion project is taking off, reminding me that the US remains one of the few countries on Earth where all you need to launch a start-up is a dream and a strong work ethic.
Enter Allison Fleece, co-founder of WHOA Travel, who is leading an Oktoberfest tour of Bavaria September 26-October 1. WHOA stands for Women High On Adventure, and the company is committed to combining great travel adventures with community service and social outreach. WHOA seeks to provide “adventure travel with a social approach that inspires, educates, and empowers women around the world. Every WHOA Adventure aims to bring personal discoveries to women while simultaneously having a positive impact on local women and their communities.”
Allison decided to eschew an expensive Brooklyn rent (essentially opting for “homelessness”) and, instead, use that monthly budget to travel the world. Her own background in languages and living abroad puts her in a unique place to lead tours that will include climbing Mount Kilimanjaro next Spring and an African safari later in 2014.
First up, however, is Bavaria. Allison formerly lived in Germany, and the Oktoberfest trip offers an eclectic itinerary ranging from biking to yoga in the park to, of course, drinking great German beers. The five-day trip (add-ons and airfare excluded) offers women of average fitness or better the chance to:
- Enjoy Munich and the Alps with a traditional Bavarian feast (included in the $999 trip fee).
- Hike and bike in Füssen and visit the Neuschwanstein Castle.
- Hike through the Garmisch trails and the Partnachklamm in the Bavarian Alps.
- When in Rome… or Munich… Evening visits to the Hofbräuhaus.
- Take the Zuspitz train up the highest mountain in Germany.
- “Prost” day: if you don’t know what you’ll be up to that day, you’re on the wrong blog!
Key to every WHOA trip is “giving back.” Allison’s pet project is dedicated to raising money and awareness of local and global women’s causes, including Give a Heart to Africa, an empowerment organization in Tanzania. In Bavaria, one day of the trip will be spent organizing a Yoga in the Park event, getting locals to join in (for €15). All the funds raised will go to WHOA’s charitable partners.
Aside from being female-centric, WHOA offers customization to any travel they undertake. That’s one of the many things that sets WHOA apart from traditional travel packages. If you want to arrive early or stay longer, Allison and her partner will make arrangements (my recommendation: come early and drink more beer! Munich’s Mayor will launch Oktoberfest at noon on September 21st). Add-ons include paragliding over the alps and a side trip to Dachau.
I’m anxiously awaiting the reception WHOA receives in a less-than-grand economy. However, if you can snag a decent airfare (with flexible dates, I found one airfare for $875), this is a great chance for women who are looking for more meaningful travel to come together and enjoy this year’s Oktoberfest in Munich.