Cultural Engagement Journeys

Cultural Engagement journeys are the only way that modern-day explorers can visit the world’s most inaccessible places with comfort, security, and insight. Robert Young Pelton and Babel Travel have partnered up to design travel experiences that are both life-changing and inspiring. If you seek more from your travels, these cultural engagement journeys will open your eyes to a rapidly changing world. Not one trip is ever the same, and each one will certainly encourage further exploration. Your comfort and safety are essential to the planning of each trip, while the ability to respectively interact with your hosts is critical. This type of journey is for those who ‘do,’ and not for those who observe.

Robert Young Pelton and Babel Travel have teamed up to create our new Cultural Engagement journeys—the first team to organize entry into the world’s most dangerous and forbidden places. These unique itineraries have been developed to challenge the intellectual, emotional, participatory, and educational needs of a very select group of individuals. These rewarding trips will find you breaking down barriers, giving back to local communities, and traveling both responsibly and sustainably. Bringing together Robert Young Pelton’s 30 years of travel through conflict zones and Babel Travel’s experience in the adventure travel business, Cultural Engagement journeys uphold the highest level of personal safety.

Trips planned for 2011 include 11-22 day itineraries to Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Somaliland, and Sudan. Trips to Colombia, Yemen, Burma, and Liberia are coming soon. Most journeys cost between €5,000-12,000 per person, excluding airfare. Although Pelton co-designed every itinerary, he will not be leading the trips; however he will nominate both a local and western group leader to take on these important roles. With the support of an excellent local guide, each western leader brings a wealth of expertise and hands-on experience (in philanthropy, journalism or adventure travel) to these trips.


Our Cultural Engagement journeys are educational, and are not to be confused with voyeuristic trips. We aim to foster cross-cultural understanding, and encourage you to help make a difference—especially in areas experiencing humanitarian crises. In all of the countries we visit, we make sure to form links with local communities and NGOs. Each itinerary finds us providing assistance to approximately 5-12 aid agencies, women and children’s centers, hospitals, schools, and refugee camps. A portion of the trip fee will also be donated directly (in person) to the local charities we visit. As well as contributing your time to these causes, you can also donate your own funds if you wish. The goal of every Cultural Engagement journey is to listen, to learn, and to lend a hand.

We have developed these itineraries to give you a first-hand understanding of a conflict’s root problems, and to help in the creation of pragmatic and sustainable solutions. These trips are designed to challenge any preconceived notions you may have of these parts of the world. Coming face-to-face with people who are changing history is an unforgettable experience, as we help bring the truth of oppressed and abused peoples to the world.


When you take part in a Cultural Engagement journey, you will be issued a mini travel guide (complete with suggested questions and discussion points). You will also receive a do-it-yourself travel guide creation kit modelled on Robert Young Pelton’s best-selling book, The World’s Most Dangerous Places.

During your travels, you will be an active part of the narrative. You can thus expect to be both photographed and filmed during your interactions with the locals. At the end of the trip, the material collected will be made public on a web-based blog in order to show the world what life is really like inside these countries. Your involvement will help give a voice to the new friends we make along the journey. Should you choose not be filmed or photographed, you will not be included on the public site.


Participants in this program will help update the sixth edition of The World’s Most Dangerous Places (to be published in late 2011), and will also help carry on Pelton’s two-decade legacy of deciphering the world’s least understood regions.

If you want to have the adventure of a lifetime, read through the trips below to see which dangerous place(s) you would like to visit!

Cultural Engagement Trips

North Korea Express – 12 days

Afghanistan Uncovered – 15 days

Iraq Encompassed – 15 days

Somaliland Adventure – 15 days

The Eternal North Korea – 15 days

Unforgettable Iran – 15 days

The Sudan – 22 days

Iraq, Iran & Afghanistan – 45 days


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