Wanderlust Tours History
WELCOME from Wanderlust Tours founder, Shawnie Kelley When asked how we got our start… A serious case of wanderlust set in at a fairly young age as much of my childhood was spent daydreaming of castles and reading books set in exotic locations. While in my late twenties, a few extraordinary opportunities brought to life many of these dreamy places I had only read about.
While studying Art History at The Ohio State University, I was awarded a research fellowship from the University of Edinburgh and Historic Scotland- the agency charged with safeguarding the country’s historic environment. For a year, I trekked from lowlands to highlands studying castle architecture and becoming fully immersed in Scottish culture. It was discovering this rich history, romantic ruins, and jaw-dropping scenery that inspired the founding of Wanderlust Tours.
The following year, I lived in Nice, France, where Provençal cuisine, rosé wine, and the Mediterranean lifestyle changed the way I ate and viewed food: eat local, seasonal, real. These personal philosophies underlie the edible experiences in all of our tours. We are passionate about creating special culinary moments that offer an authentic taste of travel while bringing people together.
As fortune would have it, I landed a dream job at English Heritage- England’s monument protection agency- and got to travel an impressive amount around Great Britain; from the southern tip of Cornwall to the borders of Scotland; from the chalky cliffs of Hastings and Dover to the luminous Lake District in Cumbria. The excitement of visiting new places several times weekly led me to seek out what each destination had to offer beyond the medieval sculpture I was researching. I sought out cultural treasures, stayed at historic inns, chatted up the locals, and sniffed out regional food. We use the same approach when designing our Wanderlust Tours.
We believe experience is everything! So, forget what you know about group tours. Wanderlust Tours’ small, boutique trips – capped at ten guests – give you the opportunity to be a traveler. We embrace experiential travel, where storytelling scholars bring history to life, locals lead you behind-the scenes, and shared meals allow us to slow down and savor the journey. We have spent years living, working, traveling, and intimately researching our destinations, gaining hands-on expertise. We’ve eaten there. We’ve slept there. We’ve wandered the winding streets and traveled by train, coach, bike, and boat. Our experts have done the legwork of crafting specialized itineraries that you can trust.
Since moving back to the States in 2002, these past experiences have found a way into everything I do, from writing travel guides and teaching cultural seminars to starting a tour company and teaching global cooking classes. When you travel with Wanderlust Tours, it is easier than ever (even for the most erudite traveler) to journey deep into the culture of our destinations.
Designing travel experiences since 2008.