For 20 years Star Alliance has taken people on journeys of discovery and enabled cultural connections around the world. National Geographic and The Wall Street Journal have come together to celebrate this anniversary. Together with Star Alliance we will inspire you to go on a new adventure and discover unique cultural experiences you never thought were possible. From Bangkok’s Muay Thai fighting to igloo building in the Arctic, here you can explore the extraordinary people and places you can experience for yourself with the help of Star Alliance.

Connecting Cultures with Robert Reid

You might think that a National Geographic travel writer had seen and done it all…but we challenged our Digital Nomad Robert Reid to get completely outside his comfort zone and take on five brand new travel experiences.

We gave him the opportunity to experience cultures and make connections in a way he had never done before, from horse riding above the clouds to building himself a home in -50 degrees. Watch his journey below to see how he got on!

In the ring with a champion


Connecting cultures with Robert Reid

My first unique cultural challenge began in Bangkok. Upon arrival my first question was how could I have a unique experience in a country so familiar to me? The answer came when Star Alliance and founding member Thai Airways arranged for me to connect with the people and the culture by way of a local gym. Training me in the traditional martial art of Muay Thai, they prepared me for a fight against a champion half my age. Watch me step out of my comfort zone, and into the ring.

The Stockholm rooftop hike at dawn


Connecting cultures with Robert Reid

My second challenge brought me to Stockholm for the first time in my life. Here Star Alliance founding member Scandinavian Airlines challenged me to see Stockholm from a whole different perspective – by hiking across the rooftops at dawn. After filling up on a proper Scandinavian breakfast and with the help of a local guide, I conquered my deep-seated fear of heights, geared up and set to it. Taking part in this challenge and putting my nerves to the test has created a lifetime connection to Stockholm that will stay with me for a long time.

A night in the Arctic


Connecting cultures with Robert Reid

My third challenge from Star Alliance and founding member Air Canada took me further north than I had ever been, to an Inuit community on the edge of the Arctic Circle. A place so remote that you need certain skills to learn how to survive. Something that I would put into practice on my journey into the wilderness. With my guide Peter Boy and his pack of loyal huskies leading the way, we set out across the ice with no means of shelter in our bags. My experience in this alien landscape is something that I will always remember.

Performing at The Gathering of Nations


Connecting cultures with Robert Reid

My fourth challenge from Star Alliance and founding member United Airlines brought me to New Mexico, a place close to my heart. My hosts were the members of Black Eagle, a Native American band. Native American culture is something that many people don’t have access to, so it was incredible to immerse myself in their culture. I was invited to their biggest date in the calendar, the Gathering of Nations, where we performed together in front of 80,000 people. I am proud to share with you my favourite experience I have ever had when travelling.

A horse race at 6,900 feet


Connecting cultures with Robert Reid

My final challenge brought me to Ushguli in Georgia, known for being the highest village in Europe, and is home to some serious horse riders. This remote settlement nestled in the Caucasus Mountains is populated by warm, friendly and remarkable people. Often when I travel, I stay in hotels, but here I had the honour of being invited to stay with a local family, allowing me to step into their world and experience their culture. My challenge from Star Alliance and founding member Lufthansa was to take part in one of the most dangerous horse races in the world, except I had never learnt to ride a horse before.

Discover Unique Cultural Experiences

Explore our cultural experience travel tips, each brought to you by Star Alliance’s member carrier airlines, in the map below. These tips will help you to connect with locals and meet the experts, to see a city you thought you knew from a whole new perspective. For more inspiration, visit here to see over 40,000 cultural experiences you can enjoy on your next trip.

Working togetherto connect you

Over the last 20 years, 28 unique member airlines have come together to create the world’s most extensive alliance network. Every day, over 450,000 employees work together behind the scenes to make each journey smoother and more rewarding.

Discover some of the things we do to keep you connected.