We know our FTLO alum are pretty cool, but we wanted to share how cool.
That's why we put together the FTLO Alum Series: Travel + Tell, where our alum dish out the deets of their travel experiences with FTLO – the good, the wild and the amazing!
Read on to see what these millennial movers and shakers are doing as they explore the world with a new group of friends.
#FTLOALUM: Elyse Stelford
Amalfi Coast + Puglia, September 2018
Lapland, March 2019
Colombia, Wellness Edition, July 2019
Morocco, September 2019 *Booked*
Vietnam, March 2020 *Booked*
Current City: Los Angeles
Age: Just turned 31!
Profession: Elementary School Teacher on a brief break 🍎
Horoscope sign: Leo ♌
Photos courtesy of Elyse from her trips to Lapland, Colombia and Italy.
FTLO, Travel + Tell
✈️ I love to travel because...
"I love to travel because everything feels so new and exciting when you venture outside of your comfort zone. I love how different everything feels when you’re in a new country. It’s so exciting to feel like a total outsider, and there’s so much for you to figure out and so much to see for the very first time. It’s an awesome feeling to immerse yourself in a totally different culture. Travel also opens your eyes to how big and wonderful the world is and how much we humans really have in common."
✨ Memorable Moments...
"My most memorable moment from an FTLO trip was probably dog sledding in Finland. The very first rule we were taught was that you can’t ever let go of the sled. While I was driving the sled, I lost my footing and ended up being dragged on my stomach while the 6 sled dogs ran as fast as they could, and I held on to the sled for dear life! I was totally fine, and we were rescued by a man who worked for the dog sled company within probably 20 seconds. It’s probably the funniest thing that’s ever happened to me, and I love telling the story!"
🍜 Best Food Experiences...
"There was a lemon pasta at a small restaurant in Capri that I always say changed my whole life. It was that good! The mushroom soup at the hotel in Sweden was AMAZING! Also, the warm berry juices throughout Lapland were wonderful and always very welcome after being out in the cold!"
🌎 This travel experience was different for me because...
"FTLO trips are different than other travel experiences I’ve had because of the structure. Everything is taken care of for you, but you don’t feel like you’re on a super restrictive gimmicky-type tour. Every experience feels very organic and a u t h e n t i c to the area you’re in. No one is trying to sell you silly stuff, and no one is leading you around with a cheesy flag. There’s plenty of free time, too. It’s a great balance."
"The people also make FTLO trips really unique. I’ve made some of my very best friends on FTLO trips. I’ve travelled across the country to visit FTLO friends, my Italy roomie and I have gone to Disneyland together, an FTLO friend flew from New York to Los Angeles to surprise me for my birthday, and my roomie from Colombia came to my birthday party a few weeks ago! I have not had the same kind of connections on other trips. FTLO works hard to make sure the group is cohesive, and that really makes the trips so special."
Lapland 🇫🇮: Be very careful when you’re dog sledding in Finland. Those dogs will not stop unless you press the brake! When you’re in Helsinki, there’s an awesome cat café that you should definitely check out!
Amalfi Coast + Puglia 🇮🇹: Bring comfortable shoes especially to the Amalfi coast. Every beautiful city is carved into a mountain, so you’ll be climbing hills a lot. My cutesy little sandals did not cut it, and my calves were burning every morning.
Colombia 🇨🇴: In Colombia, do the Volcano Mud Bath. It’s a trip! Be ready for an AGGRESSIVE scrub down by local women afterwards.
*In General* ✈️:
Bring all sorts of medicines! I got a cold in Lapland and didn’t have any medicine. Luckily, someone on the trip had medicine and that saved me. It was tricky trying to explain Dayquil to a Swedish pharmacist. They also don’t sell Dayquil in Sweden.
Engage in the Whatsapp group chat before the trip starts! Don’t be afraid to start conversations. My Italy trip was my very first trip, and several of us used the Whatsapp to plan a dinner in Rome the night before the tour started. It helped ease my nerves so much and set the tone for a fantastic trip!
If you can, arrive the day before the trip starts so you have some time to get acclimated and explore on your own a bit. You’ll be so much more rested and ready to make best friends at the welcome dinner. It’s worth it!
💙 Next FTLO Trip I have my eyes on...
"I’m booked on Morocco in September and Vietnam in March! Can’t wait! Morocco had been a dream of mine for several years, and I’m pinching myself that I get to go with FTLO!"
💡 want to travel with ftlo? my advice...
"Do it! Do it now! I can honestly say this company has changed my life. I say FTLO gave me the world. Literally. Travel was always something that called to me, but my boyfriend is unable to travel with me due to a chronic illness. I was too afraid to go anywhere completely alone. I was always waiting for people to invite me or for friends to have the money or for our schedules to align. I would stare at other people’s travel pictures and feel so much envy.
Finally, I got tired of waiting, and I decided to take the leap and travel solo. I know it seems really scary. It was scary to me, too, but now I would travel anywhere with FTLO. I feel so safe and I know everything is taken care of for me once I get there. I know I will have a wonderful time and come home with unforgettable memories. You will not regret booking a trip with FTLO! Do it!"
Check out FTLO trips Elyse has been on (and is booked for!) to Colombia, Southern Italy, Lapland, Morocco and Vietnam, and more.
Are you an FTLO Alum? Share your story on the blog! Shoot us a message or send us a DM on Instagram for details.