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Peter McCarthy, Contiki super fan, talks about his many, many trips over the year and what travel means to him

Peter travelling on Contiki skiing

Have you ever loved something so much that you spend all your money on it, dream about it, think about it constantly, let it consume your life? Okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but if we had to guess we’d say this is close to how Peter feels about Contiki.

Peter, a 34 year old working in Technology product from the UK, is an avid Contiki goer, and he’s also no stranger to six-two having appeared in various articles in the past! It’s safe to say that Peter is a super fan of ours, and to celebrate this and give him the recognition he’s due, we’ve interviewed Peter and asked him about his travels over the years and why he loves us so much (and don’t worry, the feeling’s mutual).

For everyone reading: be more like Peter!

Think having a Neurological condition = no adventures? Peter says otherwise

Think having a Neurological condition = no adventures? Peter says otherwise

by Gabriella Chaudhri Dec 15, 2017

Hey Peter! It’s great to chat to you – can you tell me how many Contiki trips you’ve been on?

“Good question! I’ve actually lost count, but it’s definitely over 20 by now. I must be due a free one soon hahaha.”

“I went on 3 trips in 2023, and so far, in 2024, I’ve been on 3 as well (one a month!): the Powder Rush, Austria Ski, and Amsterdam for Easter.”

Do you remember when and how you heard about Contiki?

“I heard about Contiki through a friend of mine. She said she was going to travel through Europe with a bunch of strangers, and I was really sceptical at first – and a little surprised. It seemed off. But she told me all about her trip when she got back, sharing fun stories and boasting about all the experiences she got to go on. After that I was sold, and I’ve been going on Contiki trips since I was 18 years old!”

Once you’d heard about Contiki, what attracted you to it?

“I loved the idea of choosing a trip and only having to worry about getting myself to the meeting point. Everything else is taken care of, and I don’t have to think about a thing!”

“When I tell my friends about Contiki I always call it a ‘fun, stress-free adventure’ – and it’s just that. Contiki really knows how to make a trip good as well, they know what travellers want to do and which fun inclusions and Free Time Add-Ons to slot into the itinerary so that each trip creates long lasting memories.”

“Snowmobiling in Canada, pasta making in Italy, white water rafting in Austria and helicopter rides over the iconic New York skyline are just a few of the incredible experiences I’ve taken part in over the last decade.”

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A post shared by Pete (@pete.adventurers)

Which has been your favourite Contiki trip so far?

“Such a hard question! This is like asking a parent to choose a favourite child! For the sake of diversity, I’ll give two answers with two different trip styles.” 

“My first favourite trip is the Ski Austria because the town you stay in is so beautiful, and of all the ski experiences I’ve done this is by far the best that money can by! Plus you’re surrounded by other travellers from your group and others at Haus Schöneck, Contiki’s special Austrian chalet!”

“And my second favourite trip is the Mini Balkans. You get to do a beautiful chunk of the Balkans from Hungary to Slovenia and Croatia with a great mix of city vibes and natural wonders like Plitvice National Park. Stunning!”

“The memories from these two have lasted me a lifetime!”

Have you ever done the same trip more than once?

“Yes! I’ve been on Ski Austria basically once or twice a year since 2012 – I’m basically a Hopfy local.”

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Would you say Contiki has had an impact on your life? If so, in what way?

“100%. Travelling with Contiki has had such a massive positive impact on my life: it’s pushed me out of my comfort zone, and it’s totally reframed my relationship with my disability.”

“The activities I’ve been able to do with Contiki over the years haven’t been short of amazing. Most recently on my Amsterdam trip I loved cycling through Edam – I learned how to ride a bike over Covid instead of baking banana bread and it came in handy!”

“The physical activities that Contiki offers have really helped me redefine what I thought was possible for myself. I’ve been on Austria Ski so many times now, and when I look back and see my progress I see that I’ve been able to push my own boundaries over and over again. I also never thought I’d be able to go paragliding in Austria, or hike over a glacier in Iceland but I did!”

“The support of my fellow travellers and amazing Trip Managers has been invaluable, and they’ve helped me go above and beyond. Travel has opened so many doors for me, and in the simplest way it has enabled me to start conversations with strangers and make friends all over the globe.”

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A post shared by Pete (@pete.adventurers)

Why do you love to travel so much? Do you think it’s important for people to experience travel if they can?

“Travel really enables you to step out of your everyday routine and try something new and different. You get to have a different perspective on your own life and the lives of others – and sometimes this can be really eye-opening. It also really allows you to reflect on yourself and be open with who you are and what you want from life. It’s a medium for exploring the world and yourself.”

“For anyone who hasn’t travelled, or not much, I would recommend getting out there as much as you can! If you want to experience a different view of life or if you’re looking for more clarity and direction on your own, travel will give you that.”

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Natalie Siagian
by Natalie Siagian Jun 10, 2015

Do you enjoy Contiki’s social aspect? Have you made long-standing friendships?

“I do! I enjoy it very much and meeting all the new people is a real highlight of every trip. However, being older means I’m only in the club until 2AM… (shoutout to my friends in Whistler!).

“I’ve made lots of friends from Contiki that I still keep in touch with today. I have a close circle of friends that I see in London for a beer every now and again, and I have friends in Australia as well though I have yet to book my flight there.”

Are there any future Contiki trips you’re planning on going on?

“Well, it would be rude not to hop on the Ski Austria for the last few weeks of the Ski season, and I’ve just been to Amsterdam with Contiki over Easter weekend! As for future trips I haven’t planned any yet, but I’ll definitely be booking more before I age out.”

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