Carol Dimopoulos knows how important it is for women to get away from it all. She’s not only the founder of Learning Journeys travel, but also an adjunct business professor at SUNY Empire State College, a yoga teacher in Saratoga County, and a wife and mother. “I’m the absolute perfect example of somebody interested in a Learning Journey,” she says.
About 17 years ago, Dimopoulos founded this brand of Perillo Tours after receiving repeated requests from “seekers of knowledge” in academia who wanted to delve deeply into their area of interest, rather than simply hitting the customary tourist spots. Today, Perillo’s Learning Journeys arranges trips based on interest (art and photography, culinary, and faith, to name a few), as well as ones centered on family and “giving back.” But it’s the Eat, Pray, Love Travel Series that is specifically designed to deliver profound travel experiences to women.
“The focus is on transformation,” she says. “How do you allow people to have the time to really live what they love? This fantastic women’s series is more of an introspective journey. We plan everything so they can take care of themselves and they don’t have to take care of anyone else. There’s not one woman who doesn’t say, ‘My life was changed by this.’”
Thanks to Dimopoulos’s yoga background, wellness is woven throughout the program, which includes options for morning and evening yoga, journaling, and healthy meals made with locally sourced foods. “You learn quickly that we’re really one of the only societies that eats the way we do,” she says. Everything is four-star, and all of the experiences are very intimate. For instance, rooms are booked in boutiques rather than big hotels.
While these particular experiences don’t revolve around volunteering, they do often spark an interest in it. On a recent trip, a hospice nurse was on a walk and asked to go inside a local hospital. She is now planning to return there as a volunteer. “That’s the kind of organic experience that grows from these programs,” says Dimopoulos. “I really consider myself a channel to give people these experiences. So it’s profound for me, too.”