Summer Sojourns

Many of our clients have already spirited themselves to the South of France and returned from delightful à la française seashore jaunts, Hotel du Cap-Eden Roc is particularly busy with our Travel Tribe. Ranch at Rock Creek Dude Ranch again hosted one of our favorite extended families over the Fourth of July – if you haven’t trotted your kiddos here, it is our beloved western Ranch.

Havana Cuba

I once told a magazine writer I’m certain I was born with the DNA of a gypsy. For my 8th grade graduation, I coveted a small leather suitcase – at that age I never went further than my best friend’s house 4 blocks away or maybe to my grandparent’s home which was only 15 miles away. My parents surprised me with a hard-sided, stitched baby blue suitcase, lined in silky pale blue satin; a small lock and a gold key on a narrow blue ribbon guaranteed the safety of my valuables! I treasured it for my overnight getaways.

High school graduation yielded a trifecta prezzie: a full set of luggage, including a lady’s leather travel cosmetic case. I didn’t have an itinerary, in my heart, I knew adventure lay beyond the very small town of Ojai where I spent my childhood.

Image result for beatrice wood studio ojai
Beatrice Wood

The Avant-Garde artist and potter Beatrice Wood lived in Ojai; as a young girl, I was mesmerized by her stacks of shimmering wrist bangles, enormous ethnic silver necklaces and riotously decorated costumes – a mysterious bohemian gypsy – she truly represented uncharted territory – a different realm, somewhere far from the little burb of Ojai. Had I known she had spent time with Duchamp and lived in Paris, I might have worked up a petite bit of pluck and uttered a few words to her; but sometimes mystery is better than reality; don’t you sometimes find that to be true about people you meet?

but sometimes mystery is better than reality; don’t you sometimes find that to be true about people you meet?

Travel creates a teaching environment, we learn, we are challenged; I find travel the absolute essential antidote to everyday routines. When I pack my suitcase, I am usually completely pre-occupied with all the tasks that must be accomplished before I can escape. The  ever-growing list of must do prior to departure creates some stress; slowly each item is crossed off. Lock the gates and off to the airport. On arrival at the airport lounge, I let out a sigh of relief and let the pure sense of excitement wash over me.

My comfortable routines are banished and the anticipation of a new far off destination begins to sink in. Fresh vistas, foreign languages, interesting foods, curious customs, and people in indigenous dress – seeing places I’ve never seen before. A pleasing adventure of searching new locales for client travel, the pursuit never gets old.

Turnip Farmer Kingdom of Bhutan

There are times certainly that the luxury of my soft little pillow is missed, the paradox of travel – the comfy reminders of home – while enjoying the adventure at hand. Certainly, the brave seafaring explorers in tall masted ships, civilizations crossing boundless lands and seas to explore new countryside felt the tug of home. The spark of curiosity about uncharted territory overruled the dilemma experienced by all civilizations that left their comfort zones to search the world.

Vegetable Puree at Gaggan Restaurant Bangkok

“To get away from one’s working environment is, in a sense, to get away from one’s self; and this is often the chief advantage of travel and change.” ~Charles Horton Cooley

River Market Bangkok Thailand
Istanbul Market
The Marquesas aboard Lindblad National Geographic Orion

Travel means edging out of your habitat, traversing new pathways, being alive in an unknown place, a Journey.

Fabric of Life, Bhutan

Outside Punakha we spent some time wandering through a massive gathering of 7000 – 8000 Bhutanese locals, yak herder nomads, people from all over the Kingdom gathered for the annual convocation of praying for peace. Every December they assemble under the direction of the Chief Abbot to pray and chant. The event is known as the World Peace Ceremony or the World Peace Mega Devotion. Amankora Resorts presents multiple cultural options every day for their guests to understand local life. The gentle people of Bhutan never seemed to mind our observing their daily habits.

The roads leading to the tented area was lined with pilgrims, nomads with their free roaming ponies and mules. Barbed wire fences served as temporary clotheslines for the visiting nomads who erect blue plastic tents in local fields. Men in their colorful traditional gho outfits, a knee length robe, gathered by a wide belt, long black socks and many in traditional black leather shoes. The women wearing ankle length skirts called kira topped with brightly colored silk jackets, the nomad women are more casually dressed, often with hand knitted sweaters from yak fur. Kids run free and weren’t shy about wanting to see their photos on my camera.

The Chief Abbot, the top religious officer in Bhutan, performed blessings and prayers for world peace over a loudspeaker, leading the assembly in chant and prayer. The devotees are sheltered under colorful painted tents, fed daily meals as they devote the18 days to praying for the world.

After returning home, I was grateful that a small Kingdom cares enough about others to pray for us.