Travel In Style- Create lasting Memories

“Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.” –- Miriam Beard

Carry a small journal with you, jot down notes written reminders of gardens, architecture, fragrances, food, cool gadgets, a special walk or view, or local music.

EXPERIENCES – Gardens- I love exploring gardens, my notes may describe the color & texture of a plant; at home, I suss out the plant for my garden.

Cooking classes are offered everywhere. In Argentina, I learned to prepare empanadas at the Cavas Wine Lodge kitchen with the chef and returned at 10 pm to pop them into the oven for dinner; truly a hands-on experience.

Dance classes are available in most cities, a silversmith class with a renowned silversmith in Buenos Aires, surfing lessons in Morocco or Costa Rica, ask me for exclusive options, memorable moments.

MUSIC – Always on the lookout for indigenous music; my guides are a marvelous resource for the best in local music, helping me determine which CD is authentic or new, especially if it is written in the local language. Played at home, it will evoke memories of your adventure; your home-prepared tagine dinner will be greatly enhanced by Moroccan music in the background!

Live Music – Local papers list music performances: if you are in Paris, Opera Garnier is not to be missed, Carmen or a rock concert performed in a Roman amphitheatre, sacred songs in a cathedral, an African opera in a vineyard in the Cape Winelands, these experiences create long treasured memories.

FOOD/SPICES – Spices are easily packed, food is sometimes considered contraband. In the Malaga airport, hanging racks of delectable Jamon Serrano were very appetizing; although, I was certain the customs agent would more likely feast on the Jamon if I attempted to stuff it into my all ready full luggage! The pigs that produce Jamon Serrano are pasture fed on acorns and it is this natural rearing which is so important in giving the meat its delectable and unique flavor. Jamon can be found at some of the best local markets here; purchase spices when you travel, much easier to transport!

On my recent jaunt to Argentina, I met a spice vendor at a thatched roof roadside-stand; he and his son were selling bagged local herbs. What a treat to converse in Spanish and purchase his fragrant spices. Seek out spice vendors in the Moroccan souks, where the visual display is as important as the exotic concoctions, the spices piled up like sand pyramids.

Arriving in Paris from Marrakech. I forgot to stow my exotic, endemic Moroccan Argan oil into my checked bag and those wicked French airline agents confiscated it; I begged to no avail and told them to at least retrieve it for their personal use, miracle oil!

My favorite Parisian Ladurée tea and macaroons are easily carried home, and can also be found at Harrods in London.

ART – I make a point to meet local artists wherever I go and always purchase a piece of art on every trip. Small prints, posters or large canvas paintings are available in fine galleries (who will ship) or seek out local artists at street fairs. Do ask your guide if there are export restrictions- some artists will instruct you to declare your art as a poster and to purchase an inexpensive poster and wrap it around the outside of the tube-I am not condoning this method, merely reporting my experiences!

Unusual objects for framing: menus signed by the renowned chef, who prepared your divine meal, maps, beaded African jewelry, tapestry or local weavings, Asian kimonos, vintage post cards, fans from Spain…You don’t need to spend a fortune on fine art; a small memento is a daily reminder of an exquisite escape.

PHOTOS – Online software has made creating photo books or calendars a snap or enlarge and frame your favorite images. My house is filled with photographic reminders of my journeys; a favorite is of a beautiful Maasai woman, mother of my Tanzanian tracker. She spoke Swahili; her son translated her proud description of her necklaces, including the oversize navy blue beads that represented each of her circumcised children, boys and girls. Her photo radiates an inner beauty- I love looking at it each morning in my kitchen, a daily reminder of a different culture and a marvelous day spent in a manyatta on a hot afternoon in Tanzania.

CLOTHING- gems, hats- lipstick- headbands- if you know me, it goes without saying that I always purchase a local African shirt, Parisian dress, handbag or lipstick, Gaucho cowboy hat or bauble to bring home for myself and my friends – those fabulous Moroccan slippers- babouche- are thin enough to slip into an already over filled suitcase! Again- your inspired dinners are not complete without the music, spices and attire! Oh, did I mention the Papal socks from the Pope’s tailor in Rome- magenta or red- marvelous gifts – how many people can stretch out a leg and declare: Papal socks from Rome, great fun and unique gifts for those who have everything!

MEET LOCALS – Travelers to Africa & India: take pens, paper and balloons, many children have never seen these objects; kids are never shy and love to meet visitors. Your tennis shoes and t-shirts can be left behind for lodge staff, lighten your luggage and make a difference.

Incorporating your cooking classes, music, and clothing purchases into your daily life extends the memorable moments, adding personal value and culture to your daily routine.

LOCAL RESOURCES- email me for a more extensive list:

African Art-call Andrew at Sujaro in San Francisco, he has a marvelous collection of masks, sculpture and furniture, much easier than schlepping some large pieces home!

All things Moroccan at Casablanca Market, Mountain View- clothing, furniture, tagine pots, spices.

Poilâne bread from Paris- by Fed x- Prepare an irresistible French dinner of Beef Bourguignon accompanied by a yummy loaf of Poilâne bread. One of my favorites is the Decorated Loaf, round Poilâne loaves embellished with a decoration made out of dough and flour. The motif is updated every month and is themed according to the season. Organize a wine tasting of your favorite champagnes or French wines and build the dinner around all these wonderful ingredients. Order online, Fed x 2 days later at your doorstep, Voila!

“Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.” –- Miriam Beard

Brief Escapes – Costa Rica, Galapagos, Amazon, Guatemala

Making plans for spring vacation yet? Consider a few of these options; all are based on an efficient flight schedule, generally overnight flights to reach your destination.
These kid friendly trips are interesting, colorful and fun for the entire family!
Surfing, jungle lodges, deep sea fishing, horseback riding, river rafting, canyoning through the treetops. Costa Rica is a quick overnight flight and in seven days you can traverse two different diverse areas, enjoy a luxury beach resort or untamed treetops eco-lodges. Take a private hike through the largest Pacific Coast mangroves in Central America- chill out for a week or enjoy super activities every day. Vast tropical rain forests, four percent of the earths wildlife species are here in Costa Rica, visit active volcanoes. Swing along through the jungle on an exhilarating zip-line, all the time looking for monkeys, toucans, and sloths in the treetops. Take an insider’s eco tour to learn why Costa Rica has become world renown for its efforts to conserve its incredible diversity of wildlife and stunning landscapes. Climb a volcano, visit a coffee plantation, whitewater raft through swift rivers.
Costa Rica is a superb escape for families.
Ecuador Galapagos
Begin in Quito, visit Sister Cindy’s local mission and meet her families- Madre Cindy runs the only total family development program in all of Latin and South America where the focus is on the family of the working child. They attack poverty as a spiritual problem where the poor person has to become an agent of change and acquire the values necessary to become a productive member of society. A look at local life offers kids perspective; as I always encourage meeting local children wherever my clients land.
First night in Quito at Plaza Grande, the grandest, most stylish and also historically, the most interesting of all Quito’s delightful 5 star hotels. While in Quito, explore the city to meet local artists and craftsmen.
Board La Pinta for a 4 -5 or 8-day excursion day through the Galapagos Islands. La Pinta is a classic luxurious yacht hosting only 48 passengers. Lying 600 miles off Ecuador’s Pacific Coast, the Galapagos Islands emerged approximately five million years ago. As the young islands were cooling off some two million years later, a few species gradually started to arrive. And, wonders of nature, they developed into species unique to the islands, with features not seen in past ancestors.
The Galapagos Islands archipelago consists of 13 major islands, 6 smaller ones, and scores of islets that are all part of Ecuador’s National Park system. In 1835, the naturalist Charles Darwin visited the islands and discovered this ‘living laboratory’, which inspired his writings on the theory of evolution. Many of the animals on the Galapagos Islands have developed into different species from their continental relatives, and because they have never experienced man as a predator, they show no fear of humans. Enjoy day trips and shore excursions on the islands.
Return to Quito and drive to the countryside to Hacienda Zuleta. The Hacienda is a delightful private property set on a working estate of over 4000 acres just two hours north of Quito and surrounded by the rich natural beauty of the Andean mountains. Hiking, horseback riding or spa days! And don’t miss a visit to the ancient Caranqui pyramids on the property.
On your return to Quito visit villages known for their local mestizo and indigenous Indian populations, their weaving is a work of art. Leather goods are also available in the village of Cotacachi.
Fly to Lima, spend the night and charter flight to Nazcca lines or Ica and board the luxurious 130-foot-long, M/V Aqua. Aqua is the first true luxury cruise ships on the northern Amazon River in Peru and was custom built for Aqua Expeditions, it offers an extraordinary level of comfort for guests. The M/V Aqua accommodates a maximum of 24 cruise ship guests plus crew. This luxury cruise ship is the perfect size to sail along the Amazon River. Up close views of life on the Amazon, the highlight of each day’s journey on your luxury cruise down the Amazon will be experiencing by small ship, the pristine wilderness areas teeming with the Amazon’s wildlife and amazing plant life, such as the colossal Victoria Regia water lilies. You will also encounter—and have the chance to interact with—local people living in villages along the Amazon River, as they have for centuries. When the day’s sightseeing is over, the comforts of your luxurious floating hotel await you.
After a few days on the Amazon, fly back to Lima and Cusco. Cusco is a very interesting and is the historic capital of the Inca Empire- you can learn to make basket weavings, meet locals and hike and enjoy a spectacular look at local indigenous cultures. Cusco, “a little city of such supreme interest and historical symbolism, of such variety and punch,” Jan Morris has written, “that it combines the compulsions of Stonehenge, a small Barcelona, and a Kathmandu.” You will tour its ruins and wander its charmingly narrow streets, many of which are walled with the Incas’ exquisite, inexplicably exact rock work.
You will also have time to explore the fabled Urubamba Valley ruins in the shadow of the Andean snow giants that rise above the sacred valley. A variety of options include hiking, mountain biking, and visiting local markets. Train to Machu Picchu, the crown jewel of Incan civilization, hike for the day if you like. Stay at the fabled Pueblo or Sanctuary Lodge and enjoy the next morning hiking around the ruins or the Inca Trail.
Catholic holidays are colorful and richly celebrated in Antigua, a colonial town. Processions, celebrations parade everyday through the town center. After witnessing the processions, helicopter to a coffee plantation and enjoy a picnic lunch. One more night in Antigua before you zip off to Tikal. Imagine a few days in a hillside villa in the middle of a teeming rain forest. Historic sites are nearby. Depending on weather, I can also arrange a private excursion to a Global Heritage Site, Mirador Basin with Dr. Richard Hansen. Sleep in a small tent and by day, walk the jungle teeming with the cries of wild parrots, climb the ancient steps of the highest Mayan pyramids, seeing this ancient, private city with Richard is a rare treat!
Many prefer to escape to Hawaii, but in Hawaii, have you:
Sailed on America’s Cup yachts?
Hosted a private dinner in the large underwater aquarium room at the Maui Ocean Center Aquarium, feed the fish, see special dive demonstrations.
Private fishing, sailing, biking and hiking excursions are available.
Short list of excursions for a quick break, plan seven to nine days.