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Our Travel Philosophy

Choosing a company to take your dream trip and turn it into a reality can be challenging. But it can also be the most important step of your journey. One of the best ways to ensure that your trip turns into everything that it can be, is to choose an operator that has a travel philosophy that matches your own. Here is what we believe about exploring this wonderful world.

Exploring Places of Refuge

We believe, that as the world becomes ever more populated, urbanized, and homogenized, places of refuge become rarer and more cherished than ever before. Most of these refuges are places not yet or not easily penetrated by roads—mountains, jungles, and deserts, the same places that have drawn sages, adventurers, and explorers since time immemorial.

In such places, at least until recently, the indigenous cultures have managed to preserve their traditions relatively intact, without major impact from the outside world. These are the places we’ve been introducing our travelers to for over three decades, and the areas that we believe are worthy of sharing.

Staying Small

People frequently ask why we don’t offer travel to other destinations - places like the mountains of Peru or the glaciers of Norway. We tell them that while we so enjoy those areas and have had the pleasure of exploring them ourselves, there are already other companies that know those areas and offer quality travel to them. In fact, we’re more than happy to recommend them if you’d like!

We aren’t interested in putting ourselves in a destination to provide what is already being offered. It doesn’t fulfill our needs and it doesn’t do our clients any good. Instead we have chosen to operate in locations that we know intimately and offer both access and type of travel that can’t be found elsewhere.

We know these corners of the world and we know how to share access to them with you in a way that no one else can. We believe in staying small, focusing on our clients and providing each of them the best adventures possible.

The Power of Serendipity

In working with all of our clients, our ideal is to create a handcrafted itinerary that can be used as a structured outline for a journey, while leaving room for serendipity to work its magic.

More often than not, the pieces of your journey that stick with you long after your trip are the unpredictable moments that captured your heart along the way. Meeting a new friend, having a dog follow along on trail, watching shooting stars over the Himalayas or finding your new favorite something at a bazaar - these are often the pieces of your adventure that you never expected to bring home with you, but they stay with you the longest.

We believe in using our extensive knowledge of these area to put you in the right place at the right time, and with a little bit of good luck and some serendipity, you can experience the far horizons of the world in a powerful and unique way.

Dream Merchants

We believe we are akin to Dream Merchants. People take their dreams very seriously and it is our job to take them just as seriously. We listen to what people dream of, what they believe achieving that dream will do and we believe in it just as strongly. We find a way to help them experience what they didn’t know was possible.

What all of our clients have in common is that they are the Dreamers of our day. They believe, just like we do, that there are parts of the world that touch your soul, that have the capacity to change you. And we believe that it’s our job to share some of the magic that has kept us connected to these parts of the world with each and every traveler that we have the joy of working with.

The Above the Clouds Difference

Your adventure travel trip really begins with the first communication with the company, even before you’ve signed up. We are a very small company, still fueled by passion for adventure travel as an art form, and that comes through from the very first, and often very long, discussion about your potential trip. Here’s a quote from one caller several years ago: “You’re the fifth travel company I’ve called today, and the first one that has taken the time to really speak with me. All the others sounded like they were reading notes off a computer screen.”

In all of our treks throughout the Himalaya, we have never lost our awe and love of the mountains, but over time it was our experiences with the people that left the deepest impressions. All our trips combine opportunities to experience both the natural and cultural elements in depth.

Almost every adventure travel company describes some of their trips with the phrases “off the beaten path” and “authentic experience,” but many of those trips are identical to other off the beaten path trips. Those descriptions have been at the core of what we have been doing for over 30 years. We don’t take travelers to unvisited places just so they can say they went where no tourist has gone before, but rather to bring them into contact with people who aren’t accustomed to interacting with foreigners, so that they can have a person-to-person experience, as opposed to a tourist-to-native experience. In the field, we provide a framework, or structure, within which each traveler can have their own adventure, safely and knowledgeably. We don’t want to have the adventure for you.

Want to learn more about what we are up to here at ATC? Well check out our blog! It's updated as often as we can and will keep you informed and up to date on all kinds of Above the Clouds adventures!