SEATTLE, WA – When Jennifer DuBois, vice president of operations at TCS Expeditions read the book “Geography of Religion,” published by National Geographic, she was determined to create a quest that would allow travelers to explore and experience the world’s great faiths.

TCS Expeditions, known for its creative and one-of-a kind expeditions, began planning the first-ever, private-jet journey that would explore five great faiths of the world: Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism and Judaism. TCS not only used “Geography of Religion” as its model for the itinerary, it went one step further and invited John Esposito, co-author of the book and a professor at Georgetown University, to accompany the journey as a guest lecturer. After two years of detailed planning, the quest gets underway March 18, 2007.

“A trip exploring the great faiths couldn’t be more timely,” said TCS Expeditions president Mark Campbell. “We are seeing more interest from people wanting to learn about the diversity of religion and who appreciate all faiths, cultures and ways of life.”

Esposito agrees, remarking that, “Globalization has brought peoples and religions into closer contact. For example, the religious mosaic and landscape of America in now dotted by mosques, Hindu and Buddhist temples as well as churches and synagogues. At the same time, the global resurgence of religion has become a potent force with a profound impact on global politics and societies.”

Departing aboard a private jet, travelers depart for their around-the-world religious journey from Rome, Italy and travel through nine countries on three continents in 23 days, including:

Bethlehem & Jerusalem, Israel
Varanasi, India
Kyoto & Nara, Japan
Lhasa, Tibet
Amritsar, India
Lalibela, Ethiopia
Cairo, Egypt
Yerevan, Armenia
Istanbul, Turkey

Campbell said the Great Faiths journey explores the faiths and beliefs that have shaped the timeline of human history. The journey offers an intimate glimpse of some of the world’s holiest sites and allows travelers access to communities, cultures and monuments rarely explored by tourists including:

Bethlehem & Jerusalem, Israel – Travelers will get an intimate glimpse of the Church of the Nativity, the birthplace of Jesus, and Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The ground on which the Church of the Holy Sepulchre rests is venerated by most Christians as Golgotha, the Hill of Calvary, where the New Testament describes that Jesus was crucified. The church has been an important pilgrimage destination since the 4th century.

Varanasi, India – Hinduism, the world’s oldest major religion, has as its hub the holy city of Varanasi on the banks of the sacred Ganges River. Over the past 3,000 years, Hindus have come to Varanasi to wash away their sins in the Ganges. Daily life is suffused with the chant of priests, the sound of temple bells and the fragrance of flowers and incense. Travelers experience this holy site with a private boat ride down the river.

Lhasa, Tibet – Located on one of the highest plateaus on Earth, Potala – “Buddha’s Mountain” – was the site chosen for the world’s largest Buddhist monastery and chief residence of the Dalai Lama.

Esposito will accompany travelers throughout the journey, lecturing on the religion and culture of each area. David Schlaver, CSC, associate director of Notre Dame’s Holy Cross Mission Center and Jack Daulton, lecturer on religious art and ritual will also help create context for the history, art and architecture of each culture and religion.

National Geographic Traveler recently named The Great Faiths Journey as one of the best in it’s “Tours of a Lifetime: 50 of the World’s Best.”

The private Boeing 757 travelers will use throughout the 23-day journey provides them immediate access to these holy sites. Not limited by regular commercial routes or schedules, TCS Expeditions flies direct, bypassing busy airports, long security lines and avoiding layovers. Travelers stay at well-appointed accommodations throughout the journey, like the Four Seasons Giza in Cairo, located on the western bank of the Nile River.

A member of First Choice Expeditions, TCS Expeditions, founded in 1991, pioneered private jet around-the-world travel, having completed more than 90 private jet expeditions to more than 60 countries. The world leader in private jet expeditions, TCS Expeditions provides more of the world in a single journey than one could imagine. Additional information is available by calling TCS Expeditions at http://www.tcs-expeditions.com.

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