It seems my 2020 New Years Resolution has been thrust upon me, and I couldn't be happier about that. Our home resembles a small library following the Christmas present exchange yesterday, and we all have some serious reading to enjoy. Despite many hours in the air this year, which should be the perfect opportunity, I failed to open a book more than once or twice and this has to change.
I even made a headstart last night, and my first book "How to Travel", a gift from my son, is already inspiring me. It's a series of short essays, not explaining the logistics or the hotels, but about the meaning of travel to what's inside you. Here's a quote that strongly resonates with me, and starts to hint at the philosophy we try to bring to our crafted itineraries:
"Travel accedes to its true nobility when we ensure that the physical journey can support a well-defined inner journey towards maturity and emotional health."
2019 was an incredible year of travel for us personally, and below are just a few of the highlights. We hope everyone has an amazing 2020, and of course, make sure it includes some meaningful adventures!
Top 5 - The 2019 Wows
1. Wow Moment - Taj Mahal, Agra, India, September 5th. (above)
Arriving at 6:30 am in the morning straight from the airport, was a slightly crazy decision that thankfully paid off. The very early start ensured I missed the crowds that descend in their thousands from around 8 am onwards, and I was also treated to a gorgeous sunrise. Timing can be everything in travel, often making the difference between the ordinary and the extraordinary.
2. Trip of the Year - Africa, November 3rd to 26th (above and below)
Africa provided us with inspiration, joy, and new values and it will always be with us. I realize I wrote a lot about it in the last month or so, but I cannot emphasize enough just how much a great African itinerary will impact you and your family. We have already decided to return in 2020 and will be gorilla trekking in Uganda next November.
3. Crazy Experience - New York City, February 14th
When we were invited to Sir Richard Branson's launch party for his new cruise line Virgin Voyages, Helen and I had no idea just what an epic day and night this would turn out to be. From enjoying a fine English afternoon tea (below) at the top of the One World Observatory with Sir Richard, to dancing (I like to call it dancing anyway), stagefront to Mark Ronson (below), to parading in true masquerade ball style through the streets of Manhattan to a secret after-party venue, I'm not sure this much fun could ever be had in one day again.
4. Surprise of the Year - Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, September 14th to 16th
The capital city of the Dominican Republic captivated us with its charm, architecture (above), liveliness and the wonderful street food (below) and restaurants. We highly recommend staying the walled, cobblestoned historic core of the city either before or after the beach experience that DR is so well known for.
5. Photo of the Year - Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe, November 21st.
I've become even more excited about photography over the last year, and I guess travel goes hand in hand with that. The upgrade to the Pixel 4 near the end of the year is aiding me, but for Africa I certainly needed Helen's help, as she used our daughter's camera for any photography that needed a serious zoom lens. Therefore, photo of the year (above) belongs to Helen for 2019, featuring young twin male cheetahs, caught just before darting off on an unsuccessful hunting excursion.
I am claiming the runner-up position as I do like my shot (below) of Norwegian Dawn as she sailed out of NYC on October 19th. This was lucky timing as I had just walked out of my hotel on the opposite side of the Hudson River.
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