June update from our Founders
By Huw Owen
I confess I am not the most active traveller. I have three young children, so when I think of active holidays I imagine doing lengths (gently) in an infinity pool somewhere far away - maybe Sri Lanka, Nicaragua or Zanzibar.
I make an exception for hiking and walking though - it’s a bit of a passion of mine. Not climbing; crampons don’t interest me. It’s the feeling of seeing scenery or cities on foot, slowly and in rambling fashion, that I like the most. Anyone who has walked up a volcano in Indonesia, through Wadi Rum in Jordan or around the old streets of Valparaiso in Chile will know what I mean. You can’t rush these things.
We’ve written about Georgia before in newsletters. It feels like a country whose time has finally come. As Kati points out in her recent blog post, a new flight route direct from London, at about £75 return, is excellent value, and opens up the province of Svaneti. I vividly remember a customer saying to us a few years ago that visiting Svaneti was “like travelling back in time to medieval Europe”. Many roads are tracks, so there is still very little agricultural machinery in the mountain valleys. The harvest in more remote areas is done by hand with scythes, to a backdrop of the snow-capped Great Caucasus range. Time travel indeed - and with world class wine to boot.
For any British readers - if you would like to escape the post-election chatter in the UK I can recommend going completely off grid. I did an unscientific survey of all of our destinations and think the following countries have good places where you can tune out for a while:
Namibia - in particular the NamibRand, one of the darkest places on Earth. Fabulous night skies - so good for putting mankind in its rightful place, relative to the universe.
Laos - in particular the 4,000 Islands region in the far south. Go for a swim in the infinity pool at La Folie, on an island in the wide Mekong river, and ponder the pointlessness of rushing around thinking about politics.
Argentina -in particular the wide open spaces and glacial valleys of Patagonia. A wonderful place to imagine yourself beyond the daily concerns of London. “I am currently out of the office in Patagonia. Even if you wanted to contact me, you can’t.”
Galapagos Islands - what better way to forget about homo sapiens than by studying at close quarters the evolution of the marine iguana?
Did you know that many of our local experts will call you at home? From time to time a customer calls us because they like the reassurance of a phone call. We also like it because it gives us a chance to chat to you directly - we always learn something. However, don’t forget many of our experts around the world can call you very easily and talk through your trip. They live in the destination, know it intimately and will help answer any questions you have. If you look at their messages you will see some of them have their skype ID and/or a phone number. Just let them know a call would be useful and many of them are only too happy to oblige (and if they can’t call you, often for hardware reasons, we will call you instead).
Some wisdom from Seneca to finish: “Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind."
All the best and happy travels,