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Reviews from Past Travelers

Over the years, we have received many letters and emails of thanks and praise. Most are buried in files or lost to the ages.  The following comments are offered as general examples of what our travelers have said about Focused Tours....

Touring the Caves and Karst of Vietnam

Thanks to Dwight and Mary Deal for leading such a great trip and our fellow travelers who were so helpful in their assistance with the cave photography.

Jim Patera. NSS NEWS, September 2015 V. 73, N.6, p. 6-14

A most excellent, trip in a lifetime excursion engineered by Dwight and Mary Deal.

What a wonderful trip! Cuba is an amazing and friendly place. I hope we're able to go back sometime -- maybe it will be easier now that U.S.- Cuba relations seem to be relaxing a bit. Thanks Dwight and Mary!

Wow, what a wonderful trip it was -- one of those magical-type trips and not all are. Please sign me up for the next Cuba trip, and my daughter, too.

A really great trip! Kudos to Dwight and Mary for putting together such a fun and diverse trip. My only regret is that they didn't announce the USA-Cuba policy change a few days earlier so we could have got in on the party in Havana!!!

I remember when Dwight and Mary sent out an email asking what we wanted to see on our trip. My response was the same as when he asked that question before the Laos-Vietnam trip. I wrote 'I wanted to see the country through the eyes of a caver'. Just like the Vietnam trip they met that difficult request. But in addition, having so many knowledgeable and fun cavers along to share the trip made it so much more. Thank you all for helping make this for me a trip of a lifetime. I do hope to see you all again for yet another adventure to explore karst in another foreign land.

Many thanks to Dwight and Mary Deal for leading a great trip! Their Focused Tours plans to offer future trips to Laos although no dates have been established yet. Their most recent tour was to Cuba.

Dave Bunnell, Editor, NSS NEWS, March 2015 v.73 n. 3

A most excellent, trip in a lifetime excursion engineered by Dwight and Mary Deal.

In December, 2014, we visited Cuba with a scientific and cultural exchange tour entitled “Living with Karst in Cuba.” Our journey took us to the western part of the island where we visited spectacular caves and were exposed to the culture and history of this island nation. Traveling with the Deals is always an eclectic experience because they blend natural science with culture, history, art and one-to-one interaction with the local people. We look forward to traveling with them again.

I heard about the trip from my guild.  I have no idea where they saw the information but thankfully they printed it in their newsletter.

I reflect on last year's trip frequently.  I have had the opportunity to show my pictures on Power Point several times.  Usually to fiber folks of one type or another.  I would love another China trip some day.

Thanks again for putting together such a memorable trip.  My only regret is
that I didn't buy more. Why oh why did I only buy one Uighur hat?  There I
was choosing between the green one and the brown one and for another a
couple of bucks I could have had both of them.  What was I thinking?

Excerpt from a traveler's report to friends:

The trip  was not restricted to geology and geography, however.  We also learned about China’s ethnic minority groups, which are characterized by their unique clothing and customs. There was plenty of time for shopping and enjoying local cultural amenities.  We visited a factory where we saw the complete process of silk extraction and production.  We also spent a day in a Batik factory where we saw the artists at work, and most of the group purchased beautiful table cloths and wall hangings.  We had time for doing things “on our own,” such as visiting museums, sampling the local cuisine, and getting acquainted with the people. 

"I have found there ain't no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them."
- Mark Twain

That was one great trip. We enjoy it every day.  We feel so fortunate to know you both and consider you such good friends.  Thank you for being so special.

P.S.  Now we need to go south again and do the Golden Triangle countries and come back out in Kunming. I was very taken with the Yunnan Province south.

Our adventure of a lifetime in China was an experience never to be diminished in my memory by time.  Each minute was exciting, interesting, and informative.  I am thoroughly enjoying telling friends and colleagues about all the natural phenomena that I saw, walked around or on, all with the intellectual joy of academic instruction!!!

Want to thank you for all the work and planning you both put into the trip,
It was wonderful.

I checked my mail shortly after the email and there was your package.  I enjoyed the CD very much; nice job Dwight.  Thank you.

All the best for a wonderful New Year to you guys! I think of you and our wonderful trip often.

Here is a report from one traveler:

Elaine Taylor is not a scientist nor a cave explorer. She accompanied her husband on our 2006 trip to the karst of China.  That trip was notable because participants included very well-known scientists and cave explorers.  Elaine was concerned that the content of the trip would be “too technical” for her.  We had assured her that it would not be.  Read her comments after the trip.

One could also take an above ground, optional tour under Mary's wing, if even 2 caves were 1 too many!  Due to the excellent planning on the part  of Dwight and Mary, I was pleased that I saw as many karst towers as I wanted -- on the river trips or in transit to caves in the countryside when our little bus would stop whenever any of the 17 of us requested.

Read Elaine's full report

 

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