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Small is Beautiful

I believe independent small businesses that operate with people in mind–not simply the bottom line–have the power to change the world for the better. Here are a few folks doing just that.

• My friend Stephen Bugno at Bohemian Traveler organizes small independent tours in France and other far ends of the world. Stephen also edits Gomad Nomad Travel Mag where I’m a featured writer. Read Stephen’s profile (following) and tell him I sent you!

Our team’s objective is to channel our years of independent travel experience and passion for Malaysia and beyond into creating a unique and rich travel experience for you. We have diverse backgrounds and hope to share our insights and travel philosophy with you.

Stephen and Noel have been traversing the globe independently for the past 15 years. They met one fall on Spain’s Camino de Santiago and have kept in touch ever since. Stephen’s love of Asia has brought him back several times, while Noel’s curiosity of Europe and South America have given him a greater appreciation of his home country of Malaysia and Asia as a whole. They’ve both got a passion for exploring countries and cultures through their food and people and are now happy to pass on that passion by leading small groups of travelers.

• I think Geoffrey Finch’s vision of saving the world through eating and drinking at TASTE (based in Paris) to be pretty fantastic. He organizes small tours and events, as well as maintains the world’s first Taste Advisor with reviews of “ecological choices for discerning travelers”.

• Though I haven’t participated in one of Rosa Jackson’s Nice-based market and cooking tours in the other South of France, I hear great things about her approach to real food. If you’re coming to us from Paris, you should know that she also organizes “edible itineraries” in the City of Light.

• Gerry Patterson’s Cycling Languedoc proposes ultra-challenging and original cycling tours and offers a wealth of information for independent cyclists in the northern half of our southernmost Languedoc-Roussillon region.

• If you’re a traveling cyclist, or want to learn how to become one, Adventure Cycling Association is “America’s Bicycle Travel Experts.” This non-profit is the go-to when it comes to learning, planning and traveling by bike. Become a member to receive their inspiring magazine about all types of bicycle travel. Or consider getting your feet wet with one of their affordable bike tours in North America varying in length, difficulty and comfort level. Gear and high quality maps for bicycle travel can be had through their Cyclosource catalogue–the best compilation of items for traveling by bike that I’ve ever come across.

• My friends at La Muse near Carcassonne offer extended stays for artists and writers in the Black Mountains–an excellent retreat to add to the beginning or end of a bike tour. I like their aim and hope to incorporate their center into a tour itinerary real soon:

La Muse writers’ and artists’ retreat in Southern France offers you the space and time to pursue the creative work you love. We believe that being creative invites inspiration into every area of life and is an essential part of human health and fulfillment. Our vision for you is to find inspiration and solitude in a peaceful mountain setting while creating in the company of like-minded peers.

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