My 2018 TTC Top Eleven List of Transformative Travel Experiences
Greetings from L.A. Happy 2018. I hope you are having a positive start to the New Year. I hope the new year has started well for you? I had a very happy and relaxing week in Mexico at year-end with my family and some friends, which gave me some time for R&R, personal reflection and setting my 2018 travel goals.
Reflecting back on last year, there were many beautiful moments, highlights and memories to cherish and recall, which I do. There were also several low points, including the awful loss of life and devastation from natural disasters and conflicts around the world, including the terrible fires and mudslides close to home in California.
These remind me powerfully of how lucky and fortunate we are, and how grateful I am for all I have. This was also a good opportunity to look forwards to this new year, and what more I can do to be a better human being, parent, life partner and what I can do to make the world a better place. The list is long and I have begun chipping away at it.
Travel is a force for good, in so many ways, and so much of what I will do this year will be focused around our company, our team, and our travelers, who we have a significant responsibility to. One of the most important responsibilities is to ensure we deliver great service, quality, experiences and values to each and every guest who travels with us. We work extremely hard to do so, every day, for every guest.
Another is to inspire those who have not yet booked to travel this year, to think about where’s next. In my last blog post, I shared our company’s 2018 TTC Top Ten travel bucket list as inspiration towards the year of “Transformative Travel”. To further motivate your wanderlust, I would like to share here my personal list, based on my own extensive research and observations on emerging and traditional travel trends, and from discussions with various experts and influencers.
In this increasingly fast-paced world, time is a luxury for most of us, so wellness and the importance of self-care is one of the top trends for 2018. Forbes recently published an article on why travel is good for one’s mental health:
Here is my personal 2018 TTC Top Eleven list showcasing our Travel Corporation’s family of award-winning brands immersive and transformative experiences along with our TreadRight foundation’s partners. I am hoping to cross a number of these amazing journeys off my bucket list this year:
This iconic destination has been No. 1 on my bucket list for years and I am thrilled to be visiting it for the first time with my family this summer. We will be joining a ME to WE culturally immersive trip and volunteering on a sustainable development project just outside of Udaipur in the Aravalli mountains. (This will be my family’s second ME to WE trip after our impactful Kenya experience last year.)
This February, I will be joining 64 travel industry leaders on a trip to the famed archeological and UNESCO World Heritage Site of Petra, to experience authentic Bedouin culture while learning about Jordan’s sustainable tourism initiatives. We will also participate in a ‘giving back’ day on a major volunteering project
I am excited to visit Memphis, where we will be staying near the historical Beale Street with its musical roots of the blues and rock and roll. We will also be meeting Elvis’ childhood friend, radio host and author, George Klein who will welcome our guests with a private visit inside the Graceland estate. I look forward to exploring the interactive exhibits at the National Civil Rights Museum which will mark a significant milestone in American history. April 4, 2018 is the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination at the Lorraine Motel.
As a lover of the arts, I look forward to joining Uniworld’s local expert in Chioggia for a guided exploration around this picturesque fishing village, a popular place for artists. With my family’s hospitality and culinary background, I am also a big foodie and in Bologna, we will enjoy an exclusive hands-on pasta-making workshop.
This immersive New Zealand guided vacation will be filled with many adventures, including boarding the TranzAlpine train to view the majestic Southern Alps. We will be enjoying an exclusive Be My Guest experience at a barbecue lunch with our hosts Angie and Stan, on their 600 acre farm on the Canterbury Plains.
This premium journey showcases the very best of Ireland, including the famed Wild Atlantic Way and a hike with a local expert on lakeside trails and wooden paths along West Meadow Bay. We will enjoy our celebration dinner at the magnificent 5-star, Ashford Castle.
A once in a lifetime experience to the heart of the Inca Empire. Our guests will travel in style and enjoy the exceptional service on the Hiram Bingham luxury train and marvel at the stunning views of the Sacred Valley enroute to mythical Machu Picchu. These Pullman carriages are beautifully decorated in the style of the 1920’s and make a toast with Peru’s national drink, the Pisco Sour. We will be staying at the only hotel adjacent to this UNESCO site.
Australia’s southern-most island state is renowned for its natural landscapes and wildlife, where we will explore Russell Falls, Cradle Mountain and Freycinet National Park. Tasmania is also known for its gourmet food and wine scene. We will also enjoy a Be My Guest experience to the Shene Estate, an iconic property reflecting early Australian architecture. (I have been to Tasmania before, and was blown away by how stunning and quiet it was – I can’t wait to return with my family to show them this beautiful, remote destination, and to see a Tassie Devil in person.)
This summer, my son, Jake and I will enjoy a privately guided luxury chauffeur experience with London’s most established, best sightseeing company. We will embark on a tailor-made itinerary to the mysterious Stonehenge, the Roman remains of the city of Bath, and Windsor Castle, where the highly anticipated royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will take place on May 19th.
I am very interested in this visual journey since this trip is a photographic safari which focuses on prime wildlife areas including the spectacular plains of the Serengeti in open-sided safari vehicles with the services of an expert safari guide.
We will also explore Lake Manyara for incredible wildlife viewing including the seasonal pink flamingos, monkeys and lions. I have not been to Tanzania yet and it’s intriguing, exotic allure is most enticing!
My family will enjoy an outing to Old Town at some point this year. It is a recreation of a family-friendly, classic 1920’s Florida town, with historical architecture and a collection of 70 unique and affordable shops, restaurants, rides, and attractions. There is also a fairly unique parade of old classic cars cruising up and down Main Street, several times a week. Our company has lovingly restored Old Town which has been a local family tradition for over 30 years.
I do hope one or more of these trips or experiences inspires you to start thinking about where you will go this year, with whom and when. And, I hope you will think about taking this important, special trip, with one of our fantastic companies. I also hope your year is safe, healthy and happy, and that you achieve many of your personal goals set for the year, which I too am busy working on, each day.
Wishing you all the very best,