Everyone here at Odysseys loves the holiday season, and for a variety of reasons. But our most special and rewarding holiday tradition reminds us of the true reason for the season: giving back, and helping to spread good cheer. For the past 19 years, we have worked with the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families (DCF) to support a number of families by purchasing, wrapping, and delivering holiday gifts. This year, four employees led this project from start to finish – Bridget L., Casey B., Ana D., and Angela B. Their efforts, along with those of our entire HR team, were instrumental in creating a shopping list for our five families, finding willing shoppers, organizing our holiday-themed wrapping party (always a big hit, and complete with music and goodies), and delivering these gifts to the DCF office. Through these efforts, we were able to brighten the lives of these families who would otherwise go without gifts during this time of the year. It’s a privilege to be involved with this project, and we look forward to continuing our work with the DCF in the future.
Odysseys Recognized in USA Today Poll
We’re delighted to announce the exciting news that Odysseys Unlimited was ranked the # 2 Best Group Tour Company in USA Today's 10Best Readers' Choice poll.
Every Veterans Day, we take time to honor the men and women who have served our country. Many of our employees have family members who are veterans or on active duty, and we honor their contributions with a slide show of their photos during our company-wide breakfast. We also participate in a fundraiser to benefit the Home Base Program, a veteran’s charity in Boston. To date we have raised $8164 for this program, which provides mental health services and resources for veterans, service members, and their support systems, regardless of the ability to pay.
We try to infuse a bit of wanderlust into our day-to-day lives here in Newton, which is why each of our office kitchens features a map where our employees have labeled their favorite places from Portugal to Puerto Rico, Tokyo to Tanzania!
We are excited to announce our full lineup of 2020 small-group tours! Along with the long list of well-loved trips, any of which you can explore on our website, we have four new adventures for 2020!
Discovering Provence, Ecuador & the Galapagos Islands, Ethiopia: Cradle of Civilization, and Treasures of Jordan cover a range of destinations from the familiar to the exotic, and bring these locales to life with visits to sites rich in history, scenic beauty, and cultural import.
A journey through quintessential Provençal villages, Roman Gallic ruins, and the beguiling French Riviera awaits on Discovering Provence; while Ecuador & the Galapagos Islands offers an in-depth look at colonial Quito, the Andean highlands, and the Galapagos’ teeming wildlife. On Ethiopia: Cradle of Civilization, we visit age-old rock-hewn churches, meet local tribes people, and marvel at the country’s varied topographical beauty; while Treasures of Jordan introduces us to Biblical sites, Byzantine remains, Roman ruins, and wonders of both man and nature.
Odysseys president Bruce Epstein recently sat down for an interview with Forbes travel writer Everett Potter. During their chat, Bruce discussed everything from Odysseys’ founding, to his ideas on what constitutes a great tour experience, to some of our most popular destinations, and much more. Read the full article here.
Recently, we welcomed Erin McAleer, President of Project Bread, and Katie Puzo, Project Bread’s Senior Director Development & Engagement—the Walk for Hunger, to help educate us about the great work Project Bread is doing, and to kick off our 2019 Walk for Hunger team fundraising initiative. Project Bread is a Boston-based organization focused on ending hunger in Massachusetts, and they created the Walk for Hunger in 1969 to raise money and awareness about hunger in our state. Odysseys has sponsored a team in the Walk for the past four years, and has made charitable donations to support this cause as well. The Walk also happens to coincide with our four-week pedometer contest, when we divide the office into teams and reward whichever team takes the most steps. It’s all part of our ongoing Journey to Wellness Program, which also includes organic fruit delivery, chair massages, and more! Pictured below left to right: Lisa Howlett, Odysseys Walk for Hunger Team Leader, Katie Puzo, Erin McAleer, and Danielle Palko, Director Human Resources at Odysseys.
Here are a few Odysseys employees enjoying our Veterans Day breakfast. A number of our employees have family members who are serving (or have served) in the armed forces, and every year around November 11, we get together for a company-wide breakfast to commemorate their efforts, as well as those of all America’s veterans. We also take this time to lend our support to the Home Base Program, a collaboration between Massachusetts General Hospital and the Red Sox Foundation. This year, we raised a total of $2067 for this wonderful charity, whose mission is to heal the invisible wounds of war for veterans, service members and their families through world-class clinical care, wellness, education and research. The Home Base Program is one of several local charitable causes that we support throughout the year – others include the Watertown Food Pantry, Project Bread, and the Department of Children & Families (DCF).
Announcing six new tours for 2019! On Along Central Asia’s Silk Road, we follow in the footsteps of trading caravans as we travel the famed East-West trade route through Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan. We ply the waters of France’s uber-scenic canals aboard a privately chartered barge on Burgundy Barging, stopping to savor the food, wine, and rural villages along the way. Discovering Portugal takes us through the history, art, architecture, and culture of this enduring nation, with three nights in Lisbon. On Galapagos Explorer, we stay on two separate islands and learn from expert naturalists as we explore the breadth of the islands’ flora and fauna. Covering four south African countries (South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique), Splendors of Southern Africa mixes game drives, historical sites, and a coastal resort. And finally, on The Canadian Maritimes, we take in the coastal villages and striking scenery of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island, absorbing the history and nautical beauty.
In June, we celebrated our 20th anniversary of providing small-group tours with a special company outing. We closed the office for a day and took a city tour in Boston’s iconic Duck Boats, then enjoyed a lobster bake and field day on Thompson Island in Boston Harbor. We are honored to have been able to provide excellent travel experiences, outstanding value, and exceptional service to thousands of Odysseys Unlimited guests over the past 20 years. And we are grateful to all of our guests, our employees, and our travel partners around the world – and look forward to the next 20 years.