Is Classical Pursuits like a book club?
A travelling book club is a good way to think about a Classical Pursuits tour. We too have a love of reading and of sharing ideas, and an enthusiasm for all forms of literature. Where we might differ is that in discussion, we actually talk about the book!

Is it like being in school?
No, the aim of our discussions is to develop a better understanding of the stories we read, and how these stories connect to the places we’re in. Discussions are collaborative, and we build on each other’s ideas. The main role of the leader is to ask questions to get you thinking. We do ask you to complete the reading in advance, but this is for your personal enrichment and pleasure. One some trips, seminars include presentations by the leader or local guide to help you get the most out the experience.

How are Classical Pursuits' trips different from other literary tours?
Most literary tours are built around an expert on a particular writer giving a series of talks about the life and work of the writer as the group explores the places where the writer lived and worked. Classical Pursuits gives you, our travellers, a much bigger role in the experience. A core part of a Classical Pursuits tour are seminars where we discuss compelling works of literature and art, which participants have read or studied in advance. These seminars are a complement to the museum or site visits and guided walks that give each tour a unified theme and a thread of understanding to follow throughout the trip.

I have never studied literature or art. Am I going to be out of place?
Definitely not. We have travellers of all backgrounds and professions. Some have done formal studies in literature and related humanities fields, or have worked in education, but most have not.

Where do I get the book(s) we are going to discuss?
Our partner Worldwide Quest ships the books and our custom guidebook to you once the trip is confirmed, approximately 3 months before departure.

Do people really finish the reading ahead of time?
They do! Our travellers value the depth of experience they get by reading ahead of time. We support you with questions that can help you focus your reading, optional materials for greater context, and discussion guides that help both new and returning travellers get the most out of the seminars.

Why would I want to spend time in Paris or Venice discussing a book when I could be out experiencing it directly?
We are occasionally asked why you would want to “waste” your precious time away sitting in a room discussing a book, something you could do at home in your living room. The answer is easy. Anyone who has spent a long day seeing the sights, walking the streets, touring the museums, churches, and monuments knows how physically and emotionally exhausting it can be. When we travel, all our senses are acutely awakened. But we can only absorb so much of one thing at a time. Having a break in the day when you give your feet and eyes a rest is necessary. Instead of flopping on the bed and listening to CNN, you have the opportunity to sit comfortably with a small group of fellow travelers and discuss the meaning of it all — how the book you have read and what you have seen and heard helps you interpret your experience.

Who’s a typical traveller?
Most of our travellers are from Canada and the United States. Some are retired and some are still working. They range in age from 25 to 80, with most clustering between 45 and 70. Many have travelled with us and/or Worldwide Quest before. Overall, they are curious, congenial, and like to read and talk about what they have read.

Do you have a lot of solo travellers?
Yes! We regularly welcome solo travellers on our tours. Tours are a mix of solo travellers, couples and friends. For almost all independent meals, your leader invites anyone who would like to eat together to meet in a local restaurant.

How large are the groups?
The groups usually range from 12 to 18. Occasionally, there is a larger group, in which case a second leader will go along to keep the discussion groups small.

How much free time do we have?
We try keep things flexible and generally plan an unscheduled morning, afternoon, or evening each day. Participants are free to go off on their own or in small groups at their leisure. Frequently, the leaders will indicate what they plan to do during an unscheduled period and invite whoever wishes to come along.

Who organizes the trips?
Classical Pursuits develops the themes, selects the readings, and helps shape the itinerary. All our tours operate under the umbrella of Worldwide Quest, a full-service tour operator that is registered with the Travel Industry Council of Ontario (Reg: #2667946). Worldwide Quest arranges the logistics for each trip to complement our literary theme. They handle all trip bookings/registration and insurance, and are happy to book flights and help with pre- and post-trip arrangements. They are also an accredited agent of the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

Who leads the trips?

Most trips have two leaders: The Classical Pursuits trip host and discussion leader, and the local guide (or guides, for some multi-destination trips). We sometimes have specialized museum or walking guides, depending on the destination. And we often bring in local members of the community for informal talks and presentations. Each leader is selected because of a combination of skill and collegiality.