Considering the circumstances, our partners at Virtuoso have been working amazingly quickly over the last 2 months to make their full-scale trip and life-planning platform Wanderlist available in a "lite" version for all. Well, it's now available to Wanderlist specialists such as ourselves, before a general release to other Virtuoso advisors and their clients.
This comprehensive global platform offers a fun, free way to create and share travel wish-lists. It's fairly simple to use but you can ask us any questions necessary if you need some training. Here's how it works:
Hopefully this can be a useful first step to encouraging future travel, and we will never stop trying to inspire you. We hope it helps you connect with your families, friends and us around your future travel dreams.
Check out the trailer video below.
In the last few days, as I wandered around home, I found myself alighting on various travel souvenirs from some of my favorite trips. I'm not a big souvenir buyer, but I realized just how much these meant to me and it also hit me hard just how much I'm missing being out in the big wide world.
So this week I will share my Top 5 travel souvenirs and the personal stories behind them, that have helped create an amazing life full of meaningful memories and connections. I'd love to hear about your most meaningful souvenirs...drop us a line.
Top 5 - My Travel Souvenirs
1. Bangkok, Thailand
The elephant seems to be my "spirit animal". From the restaurant we owned back in the Cotswolds, England in the 1990s called "The Country Elephant" to my connection with the real live version in northern Thailand in 2009 and with African elephants just this past November, they seem to have a calming and healthy effect on me when I bring them to mind, and they pop up in one form or another at important moments in my life. So much so, that my lucky charm is now the tiny elephant I purchased from the huge Amulet Market in Bangkok (above), where the corridors are lined with stalls whose only wares are thousand upon thousands of sacred trinkets bestowed with varying protections. My little friend currently stands on my work desk, but I know he's ready to be slipped back into my carry-on bag again as soon as he's allowed.
2. New York City (below)
The print above of the Plaza Hotel in New York City was actually bought by my father as a gift for my mother. NYC and the Plaza in particular were her absolute favorite destinations in the world. NYC was a huge influence on my own initial falling for travel, and the Christmas we spent there as a family in the early 80s was so memorable. I opened my present Christmas morning of a Sony Walkman, and was listening to Yes walking around Central Park an hour or so later. When my mother passed 9 years ago, I did claim the print and it's a poignant yet happy moment whenever I look at it.
Aside from the JW Marriott El Convento Cusco being a phenomenal hotel, they also provided a room gift amenity of Peruvian Pink Salt. Somehow we were lucky enough to be given 2 bags and the first bag has just run its course, reserved for special salad dressings and a few meat rubs. As we are about to open bag #2, I'm reminded of the whole Peru trip, which flew by way too fast. Machu Picchu (below) was an awe-inspiring highlight, but as I've written several times before, Cusco, was a revelation, and I absolutely want to return to visit Colca Canyon, Rainbow Mountain and the desert oasis of Huacachina.
4. Siem Reap, Cambodia
The hand carved salad servers above were purchased from a Siem Reap street-side vendor back in the summer of 2016 supporting local wood carvers. Every time they come out we reminisce as a family on our Asian expedition. Much like Peru with Machu Picchu, Angkor Wat (below) provoked wonder, but there is so much more to the country. This is also when we first met Chet, who has provided private guide services for our clients visiting the region ever since. His humor, knowledge and friendship proved to us just how deeply travel can connect different cultures.
Have you ever bought a rather large souvenir on a trip before properly considering how you will get it back home? Well this gorgeous carved bowl is my story of that miscalculation. The whole family agreed we should buy it, we all just loved the shape and colors, but we were not half way through a full day boat - bus - hike - boat excursion attempting to reach the ruins of Lamanai (below), when we made the purchase. It's about 2 feet long and fairly heavy. The boats were choppy, the bus was bumpy and the hike was quite long! Needless to say I think I carried it for most of the day, got rather sweaty, and then had to do the same for the flights home. Lamanai was totally worth it though. We fill the bowl with Christmas decorations every year now, and I'm often gently ribbed about the struggle to get it home in one piece.
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