We travel for this: to settle in to our body and connect with our heart; to savor diversity; to be surprised; to remain flexible.
We travel to remind ourselves that compassion must overwhelm narrow–mindedness and fear, and that we are a part of the human community.
Taking the waters – an ancient path to cleansing, healing and rejuvenation. The concept has changed over time. What was once an integrated experience of personal health and social interaction has now become more purely self-focused.
SPA – Salud Per Aqua – ‘healing through water’
Furo, baden, sauna; hammam, temescal, mineral and mud; the waters of the Ganges, the Dead Sea, of Lourdes; the Baths of Caracalla
and the Springs of Saratoga.
Everywhere on our travels we see testimony of man’s desire to immerse himself in the waters, to connect with their restorative power, to rest in their cleansing and purifying embrace.
Man’s heavy footprint has scarred much of this earth. His hand, though, with tapering fingers and opposable thumb, coupled with a brain that yearns for the sublime, has left behind creations of indescribable beauty that we must see.
Some favorites: Lascaux Cave (Dordogne), Fragment of the Face of a Queen (New York), Elephanta Cave (Mumbai), Taj Mahal (Agra), Sainte Chapelle upper chapel (Paris), Scrovegni Chapel (Padua), Voronet and Sucevita monasteries (Bucovina), Abbeys of Senanque and Silvacane (Provence)
Luxury in travel is defined by
who you meet,
what you see,
when you have the encounter and
how it comes to pass…
a reward at the end of a taxing climb or, serendipitously,
a face to face encounter in a quiet forest clearing
It is the journey that’s important,
be it a pilgrimage for the soul or a
caravan for the coffers.
The earth is marked with the tracery of ancient trade routes along which feet and hooves have trod. They tell stories of war and love, of human toil and weariness. Stretching across continents and back through time, they echo with campfire conversation and song and the cadence of ceremony.
The journey’s spoken purpose is only part of the story, however, for the desire to take to the road is rooted in the human condition. Caribou Eskimos call it the Great Unrest.
Dance with joy.
The world is a place of wonder.
A glimpse of irresistible Paris, through the window, through the mind’s eye.
Architecture first, then art, food, light next.
It is often said that there is little need for guidance in a city, for another’s insight. Not true. We have extraordinary friends who can give you, in an intimate and anecdotal way, a Paris you have only read about. Storybook stuff, but all true.
Travel is a tale unfolding, a journey
toward the center,
a peeling away of the visible to reach the ineffable.
Who doesn’t love a story? We are all children at heart,
longing to be wrapped in the
melodic voice of the storyteller,
reaching deep into our imaginations toward the magical, conjurors of the
One Thousand and One Nights.
Travel provides a context for life.
Travel memories make photos breathe and imagination become material.
These perfectly zipped feathers blur into an iridescent wing, flashing through the thick Amazonian canopy.
Squawks echo through the forest, and humidity slicks the skin.
We travel, I believe, because we yearn for more than the photograph.
At its very essence, travel is about movement.
The simplest of societies – hunters and gatherers – move constantly
in search of food.
Nomads herd flocks from summer to winter pasture. Sailors follow the winds and traders an age-old network of routes.
Pilgrims of all faiths journey to places of spiritual power in greater numbers today than ever before: Bodh Gaya, Mecca, Allahabad, Jerusalem, Amritsar, Santiago de Compostela.
The journey without reflects the more meaningful journey within.
These are the shapes of a perfect world. Would that we didn’t have to live
so close to reality.
Dance even when you are sad;
love even when times are hard.
Seek out those who share kindly, and be compassionate, be hopeful.
A new year is upon us.
For the wayfaring kind, the jetsetters, the adventurous and the wanderers,
For those who seek culture, understanding and exclusivity while traveling,
We present Willing Foot.
Tenderness lives where the touch is lightest and the heart lingers.
Souls speaking to each other in the quiet.
It is a sharing, not a possessing, between two beings.
Who would have thought to find
at the edge of the world a
bay so graceful, a beach so perfect,
and water of such clarity?
They say that here, one giant step
from Antarctica, is the
is the purest air on earth.
An architect builds in a particular geography and at a specific moment in history. It may not be our geography or our history and so, to understand the structure, we must understand the moment in which it was conceived — that particular time that is not our time or our place.
Likewise, in order to understand a place and its culture, we may look to its architecture in its particularity, as a prideful
statement of the culture’s status.
Recall the great, world-wide sigh of relief when, during the mass bombings of WWII, it was announced that Paris was not burning
This is a place where land floats on water;
where caimans soak in the shallows
and capybaras graze on flowers;
where marsh deer nestle in tall grasses,
and otters weave through the lagoons.
This watery paradise of islands, lakes and marshes,
planted with lilies and willows, ceibas and palms,
is a Mecca for birds.
And on the shore dart foxes, wildcats and wolves.
This is a place of magic.
We are all different kinds of travelers.
Some of us thrive on rubbing shoulders in the marketplace,
skipping to the urban tempo,
finding friendship in the artisan’s handshake.
Others travel with a sensory repertoire disengaged from the human sort.
They find deep meaning in stillness,
and recalibrate the orientation of their lives in the awesome magnificence of the natural world.
“You know where you are coming from but not where you are going”
Mysteries in the well of the past.
The strivings and yearning, the trials and errors – we have a beautiful planet strewn with mementos of other times.
They fire the imagination and move the human core.
They help us understand our past and offer us a roadmap to the future.
I have watched fishermen all over the world. Whether with line, rod, basket, or net, the requirements of the job are the same: focus, patience and a solitariness that feels bone deep. The evening and dawn hours are their friend; the invisible world beneath the water’s surface is
fathomable only to them.
I believe that an Inlay Lake fisherman would have more to share with a Chilean angler than with his compatriot, the rice farmer of the Irawaddy Delta.
Communities of knowledge and passion, these are the invisible threads that create the
global human web.
What is it that brings us such
distances to such places,
Where a dorsal fin of ice floats in a pristine stillness,
and penguins play.
This is not our place; we are only visitors who come to marvel at a world of fierce purity and then return to one we have worn ragged.
I love cheetahs and lions, but how can you not travel
to the heart of India to meet a tiger!
Poised between two worlds: the sedentary one of village and farm, the other, on the hoof, across an ocean of sand.
If the desert appears empty, sterile and naked, to the nomad it is a library of signs. Using its fine mosaic of wind, water and animal tracks, as well as the vestiges of past lives – pottery shards, arrow tips, rock paintings – he navigates its hostile, thirsty vastness.
Places, like people, have their auras. I have felt this power in the mountains of Mexico, the heart of Java, in the Himalayan foothills and mountains, on a desiccated Turkish coast. The numinous quality of these sacred sites comes from their geology and perhaps, even, from their geographical coordinates. Sages, attracted by their energy, by their hardness and isolation, by the jungles and the caves and the belching craters, came here to contemplate and to study. The Himalayan foothills, once home to rishis, brilliant Vedic poets, are still the realm of sages and seers. It is here that the Upanishads, the most ancient philosophical texts of the Hindus, were sung.
Travel awakens fantasy just as it highlights reality.Elephants, spiraling towards an “extinction vortex”, are our higher selves.
Go to Africa, marvel at the beauty of the land and its wildlife,and then join the fight.
Most of us inhabit the middle zone.
The challenge is to stretch to the limit of our capacity, to reach deep into the fertile valleys of our imagination, and to voyage to
the edges of this earth.
I am poised between heartache and rage
For the slash, burn and fouling of our world.
We must rally. There are conservation initiatives that deserve our support.
When we travel it is important to be mindful of the geology, and the geography, of the place we are in.
Everything natural and cultural takes its shape from the rock upon which it lies.
Our travels begin in the imagination, long before the body is set in motion; and they do not end when we return home.
The sounds, sights and smells, the newly learned and, even, the glancingly felt, continue to echo, refracting as they filter, like dust motes, through the thickness of our lives.
And so one travels once, in real time, and then forever more in ways perhaps
even more meaningful.
You can fall in love with a place as you
do with a person.
In the beginning, there is that recognition, a sense of coming home, of belonging.
As time passes, when others mourn the changes and find fault, you only see lengthening shadows reaching across the dazzling landscape you so love.
Where your souls are intertwined.
Your relationship is now mature, and you love in spite of – even because of – the imperfections.
Deep love is never wrong, is not evanescent. It endures through time.
Some scars must be touched in order to understand the magnitude of the wound.
To comprehend a people, their way of life, their dreams and their challenges, you must travel there to see for yourself.
There is a Corsican saying
“If you live in Corsica, when you die and go to Paradise,you will be disappointed.”
Black and green schist, red and white granite, snowcapped peaks, mountain slopes dense with pines, ancient olives and tangled bush, marine-rich turquoise water. An infinity of bays.
The Greeks called it Kalliste, “the most beautiful.”
The diversity of cultures is a remarkable thing.
The Roman Empire built forums and amphitheatres, colonnaded avenues and temples, some of the oldest and best preserved to be found in the desert landscapes of Syria.
And then there are other empires – The Songhai of West Africa, for example – whose palaces, mosques and tombs rise like sandcastles out of the burnt orange earth, handprints everywhere visible on their shapely forms.
Around the bend, my first glimpse of the temple’s golden roof. And then I see the huge complex: the chalk white stupa; the dry stone prayer halls washed in cinnebar and fringed with temple trim; the monks’ quarters, with cleanly swept courtyards open to the elements. The temple feels ancient, lost in time, as if it had rooted itself on the mountain flank, and, for added protection, sought anchorage in the gnarled trunks of the juniper forest.
When the stories are done being told, if you are quiet and still, you can feel the press of bodies, smell the prickle of sweet sweat, hear the singing and laughing, the moaning and the weeping.
In the dank cells of Goree, on the fields of Gettysburg and the beaches of Dunkirk, in the Low Country’s graceful, light-filled plantations and humble slave cabins, in Tuol Sleng, Kigali, Revensbruck.
The air is heavy with sorrow and the burden of a shared responsibility.
The child, so near and yet so far,
lives in the storybooks of old, now found in the shadow of a skyscraper,
retreating from the fingertips of a
hand greedy for land.
And fading slowly from the collective memory.
In time, old frontiers become the new frontiers, and old values reassert themselves. Penetrating the middle of nowhere, finding silence, space and loneliness, these are the imperatives of our time.
Simple design is not only beautiful. Unencumbered with distractions, the distilled object is also a clear expression of function. It is intuitive. The best projects merge design and function into one.
Refined design is obsessed with materials, technologies and processes. It shows an unusual degree of care, a humanity of the making.
Inspired design reinterprets the past, imagines what the future can be, and is sustainable if it withstands the test of time.
Go! Before that insistent voice of caution ensnares you, before your fears teach you how to justify staying put. Early travels are an education in themselves, teaching, among other important lessons, what you are capable of when
faced with the unknown.
I’ve always wished that travel were a requirement and not a privilege.
Vermillion walls with sea green trim, these houses, built cheek by jowl on this rocky lip fronting the Atlantic and the New World beyond, had been warehouses of misery, holding pens with a single exit — the “last door” as it was called — a bolted gate through which men, women and children, Africa’s black gold, were thrown on to waiting dinghies and ferried to ships anchored on the horizon.
Sacred tattoos, magical, mystical supplications for divine protection and blessings.
Etched onto the body, they wrap the naked in a sacred skin, an invisible armour, an indelible reminder of the right path.
It is impossible to describe the beauty of the land without speaking of the sky.
We must travel to know the beauty and the value of this earth. When we have borne witness to the diversity and sanctity of life, when we have had our breath taken away, only then will we be moved to protect this world that has been so gently given to us.
Buddhist monks refer to the color of their robes as the “dead leaf color”. By literally and figuratively wrapping themselves in this symbol of impermanence, they remain conscious of the constant state of change.
“Nothing is permanent: The sun and the moon rise and then set, The bright, clear day is followed by the deep, dark night.
From hour to hour, everything changes.”
– Kalu Rinpoche
Islands at the edge of the world, tenuously tethered to the ocean floor,
lashed by wind and wave.
Within their rocky crevices, the secrets of life unfold – through time, out of time, defying time – strange and beautiful life forms,
strange and beautiful life ways.
Fernandina, Madagascar, Socotra, Foula, Skellig Michael, Tristan de Cunha, St. Kilda, Isabela, Iona, Komodo, Easter, Fair Isle, Pitcairn, Sable.
Islands at the edge of survival, confronting a future with weathered face and vulnerable soul.
Image: fading grace, dusty roads, peeling facades, bruised skies and rainbows
Sound: roosters at dawn, horse hooves, a gaucho whistle, a bike squeaking
Smell: wet earth and damp walls, jasmine and lavender, rosemary and roses, smoke
Touch: sheep’s wool and horse mane, mud and morning dew
Taste: rosemary and grilled meats, Garzon Tannat, spicy olive oil, FM’s heavenly food
Uruguay is about all of these things, and then about nothing, really. The sea, food cooked on an open fire, timeless activities rooted in the land. Uruguay is for those who savor with all their senses, who don’t ask to be entertained. The country reveals its charms slowly, though not grudgingly; it asks for patience and, yes, even a sense of humor
Traveling to the great natural and cultural places on our earth transcends the notion of right season, wrong season. Indeed, there may be material considerations when visiting in the off-season, weather and price among them, but there is also another: only then do these icons show themselves for what they really are.
Venice rarely sees snow in winter, but it is in winter, when the crowds are gone, that a Venetian finds time to pause and chat and when the visitor, in the stillness of a back canal, can listen uninterrupted to its daily rhythms.
Exquisite, formal, detailed, respectful, restrained
The complexity of Japan is puzzling yet bewitching
Calm, warm, sensual, organic, poetic, quiet
Because I meet Japan at this moment, I am at home.
Unexpected encounters, animal or human, are the great pleasures of travel. Face to face, often intimate, frequently breathtaking, they teach us about the world we inhabit. They also tell us something important about ourselves. Let us take you to extraordinary places where these magical encounters occur.
Travel can be hard.
There is the desire to unhitch, to walk into the world unhindered, released from the familiar…
But there is still the yearning for those you love.
The eager parting is tinged with sadness; yet the sweetest pleasure of travel is coming home.
Walk your journey.
The rhythm of the footfall settles the mind and opens the heart
Time and space dissolve; a week and a stretch of road become one.
Tell me the stories.
Speak to me of the past, that I might better appreciate the now.
Repeat for me the orations and the whispered conversations of love and intrigue.
Play for me the riffs and liquid notes that once escaped through blackened
doors on clouds of smoke.
Show me the windows of the famous, and the infamous streets — walk them with me — so that I might, for just one moment,
travel back in time.
Tell me the stories. Tell me more and more…
They speak of a numbing cultural sameness spreading inexorably
across the world.
It may be so.
But there still persists the custom of the country,
curious, frequently humorous to the traveler’s eye, and often intoxicating.
In the narrow places of life, it is important to be still.
At precarious crossroads, a steady walk and an absence of noise are essential.
We also need to cultivate a wider perspective
and to look at our options squarely in the eye.
There are places on earth
that lend themselves to this.
There are still lost places to be found.
It is thrilling to journey beyond the beyond, to encounter the undiscovered.
I wonder what it feels like, though, to be found and then lost again,
A lonely island tossed on a wild sea?
“Welcome to Aleppo. I am Osama. I am sure you will not forget my name,”
he said with a wry smile.
He was a nice man and a wretched guide.
In Damascus I found another, over a cup of sweet tea. He was charismatic,
an archaeologist and a Christian.
Hama, Bosra, Palmyra, Maaloula.
So much beauty, such deep history, infinite kindness.
Where are they and their treasures now?
The misconception is that you always think you will have time to go.
Sometimes it is the familiar, from a life lived or imagined, that seduces.
I return to a corner of Italy to find a world lightly marked by today’s maelstrom of change.
Stillness, quiet and a gentle pace reign, and I recognize a de Chirco in the shadow and light and, in the faded terracotta,
the farmhouse of my childhood.
In the twilight of the past,
history cannot be distinguished from myth.
The mists have opened and closed over this
rock that rises
like an emerald from the dark sea.
Ulysses, Augustus, Tiberius.
Hardy islanders, and strangers with peculiar habits.
Cuba astounds me.
I could get lost here, in this place that is so close and yet so far.
I could lose myself in its story-rich pentimento and in its exuberant, creative potential.
This is a moment, in a place, where the past and the future touch each other.
I am drawn by the kinship that is our history,
and I long for more.
Rose petals fly into the gathering storm like a
flock of birds,
wishing you a long and sweet life.
Maisha Marefu Na Matamu
How bewitching travel can be!
A child’s travels begin in the imagination,
down the rabbit hole,
in Mr. McGregor’s garden,
under the floorboards,
across a treasure island.
We never forget our first destinations, the stories that have taken us there
and the frissons of emotion – fear, wonder, surprise, warmth – that subtly color
every place we go thereafter.
With age you learn take another breath,
to be still,
to loosen your hold and to tighten your focus,
making space to listen and observe carefully, to communicate from a deep place.
Travel, too, changes with age.
Sometimes the inward journey replaces the need to go.
Who am I? The first question.
Moving through life is a perilous journey, yet the passage offers great teachings.
Reaching for the edges of the self is critical.
Where can I stand alone? Where must I rope myself to another to survive?
When I understand this, I will be on my way.
The destruction of habitat, both intentional and careless,
is the scourge I see everywhere when I travel.
The land is soiled, the species depleted.
This is a genocide perpetrated on living creatures who have no voice.
There is a silence creeping across the earth, an emptiness that shocks.
I fear I am seeing the future.
Why do I love carved wood, woven fiber and embroidered textile?
These beauties, bearing the handprint of the maker, are windows into unique cultures.
Telling joyful stories, deciphering mysteries, averting danger, objects both utilitarian and artful embody the soul of a people and the dignity of the individual.
When you go,
leave your preconceptions behind.
Take a wild imagination,
dive deep into millennia past
and re-envision the future.
Travel is challenging, but it is also liberating.
This place, an echo from the past,
materializing somewhere between my remembering and forgetting,
Bliss is a home that leaves no footprint.
It is there in the eyes of a face different from ours halfway around the globe,
in the fingertips of an artisan’s handshake,
in the steady gaze of a child,
the truth that more connects us than separates us, that we can communicate deeply and without words.
That we are one family.
Places make people,
but, for the traveler, people make the place.