OP-ED: Travelling with Nevada . . .
I am often asked about our travel arrangements as well as asked for recommendations about who to use. More often than not, we travel independently and armed with nothing more than a copy of The Lonely Planet and some research from the internet. But from time to time, we find it more advantageous to use an expert guide — especially when we want to visit a remote or ‘logistically challenging’ area.
By far and away, the best expert guide we’ve used (and have travelled with three times thus far) is Nevada Wier. First and foremost, Nevada is a professional photographer and she runs 3-4 private photography tours a year. So as avid photographers, we love to travel and photograph remote places and people with Nevada. In addition, we love travelling with Nevada because her trips are truly unique. Whilst many tour companies advertise about their ability to “get under the skin” of a place, Nevada actually delivers. She has a fantastic network of local agents & contacts and as such she leverages these connections to give her group the best possible travel experience. For example, one of the major highlights of the 2012 trip to Guizhou China was being invited to the funeral of a local teacher in a remote village. Whilst it may sound bizarre and morbid, the funeral was actually a village celebration of the man’s life and we were treated as honoured guests. In Burma, Nevada arranged special travel permits for us to not only visit but to spend 2 nights with the Chin hill tribe. This entailed sleeping on the floor in a hut and spending three days with the tribe. It was a truly authentic and ‘off the beaten’ track experience. Hard — yes! But, fantastic nonetheless.
The hardest part about a Nevada Wier trip is getting your RSVP in before it completely fills up. Nevada keeps the group size small and it is not uncommon for her trip to fill up within hours of the first email notice. Nevada does not advertise her trips to the general public (in truth, there is no need as her trips are already in high demand); instead, she has a list of past clients and people that she knows. (I like to call this the ‘non-looney list’ because it means that the people she invites on her trips are people that she knows and has vetted — i.e. the alumni of past tours and her workshops.) That said, she does run a ‘special list’ for people who have contacted her personally with their interests in her tours; if her tours are not immediately filled, then she emails those on the ‘special list’.)
Although her trips are relatively more expensive than other ‘travel photography tours’, in my opinion, they are worth it. I particularly like the fact that she has ‘fully baked in’ the costs of tipping and miscellaneous (expected) costs into the tour costs. Thus, her group is completely and totally liberated from having to deal with tipping issues.
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Please note that this is an independent review. We do not benefit from this review and we are not affiliated with Nevada Wier in any way.
We first travelled with Nevada in 2009 when she headed the National Geographic Expedition to India. We then travelled with her to Burma in 2011 and then again in rural China in 2012.