Knowing how to spend our leisure time to its fullest is one of the greatest skills we can have. Yet during this coronavirus crisis, time (often the most cherished thing in our lives and savoured on our sojourns) has slowed down and almost paused. Now is a good opportunity to do a bit of soul searching about your future trips and what you want to get out of them; whether you’ll be craving health-enhancing experiences, cultural immersions, reconnection with the outdoors or an escape for quality time with friends and family you have missed over the months of isolation.
Travel has fast become a much more precious commodity to us all. When this luxury returns, time away from home will need to feel really worth it; a simple visit to a new destination or days spent relaxing on a beach may not be enough, and it’s probable you’ll want more help and guidance than ever before. We’re here to ensure your future travels are more thoughtful and purposeful, spending time on the right experiences, in the right places and at a pace set by you. Here’s to richer, happier days…
We speak to bestselling author of ‘Time And How To Spend It’, James Wallman. His latest book, described as ‘life-changing’ and a ‘guidebook for living an awesome life’ reveals we have far more leisure time than ever, but we don’t realise because we are misspending it. We’ve been trained to work, but haven’t learned how to live. Knowing how to spend our leisure time on the right experiences is the key to a better, more fulfilled life. Discover how to redesign your holidays, to plan better using Wallman’s seven rules to happier more fulfilled escapes.Read interview
It’s not only about where you go and with whom, it’s about tapping into the potential for that trip to impact you in a positive way that lasts long after you return. Everyone’s goal will be different (be it big or small). In Wallman’s transformation chapter he proposes three degrees of transformation when it comes to holidays: fly and flop, find and seek, go and become. We explore these different levels of motivation and the type of experiences that can provide the change you desire…
When your life is busy and pressured and mostly under a grey sky, the idea of swapping all that for a few days or weeks of doing nothing, under brighter, bluer skies and just living a slower pace of life. The aspiration here may not be about achieving your fullest potential but rather to experience a different way of life even for a few days, to indulge in things that may be missing from your current circumstances.
Head to places with arguably the most desirable climate on the planet and pleasures aplenty; Caribbean and Maldives are destinations that will ensure you return ready to operate at peak performance.
When you have spent so much time staying connected on social media and much of your contact and conversation has been virtual, Mandarin Oriental Canouan in The Grenadines is just the place to take time offline and indulge in the those missed human emotions of charm, eloquence and attentiveness. Here, laid-back luxury fuses with an abundance of natural beauty to create a level of escapism difficult to find elsewhere. It’s a place and pace where you can maximise your time outside, away from screens in the dreamiest of settings. From some of the best chefs in the industry to the private butlers, they make you feel like you are the most important person in the world (something technology can never do).
Anguilla also delivers a laid-back wow factor as well as one of the best beaches in the world, Shoal Bay East Beach. When you want to experience something very different to the four walls of your own home, you are spoilt for choice. Zemi Beach House is a perfect resting spot for body and soul, whilst Malliouhana, An Auberge Resort is a stylish icon with the utmost privacy. For timeless sophistication Belmond Cap Juluca is where slow living meets high style. For those who want to challenge themselves a little, there’s private sailing escapades, pro-worthy tennis or pack the whole family into a Mini Moke for a self-driving tour of the island. But it’s the welcoming community and friendly vibes of Anguilla that will leave a lasting impact. Locals here are the best oral historians and their authentic voices will have you captivated by their culture as they share stories and passion for their small but mighty home.
When seeking rest and tranquillity where crystal blue waters blend flawlessly into the sky, you will fall in love with the Maldives, in particular One&Only Reethi Rah where it is seductively easy to simply rest and sleep. When you’re feeling stressed or a little sleep deprived, head to this glorious island where on arrival you immediately start to breathe more deeply and walk a little slower. The latest wellness innovation at the spa, kicks off with a Sleep Ritual assessment, whereby a Sleep Trainer will examine your sleeping patterns and develop a bespoke approach to try and help you sleep better and forget daily anxieties. If you can draw yourself away from slumber, this is a ‘dress-up’ and ‘be seen’ spot (after all, Reethi Rah is where the Beckhams, the Ramsays and Tom Cruise come to holiday).
This is when you go exploring. It’s exciting, it’s exhilarating, it’s discovering new experiences, sights, sounds, tastes and smells and enhancing your knowledge of the world. A curious culture seeker, perhaps a secret adrenaline junkie, you want to try things you’ve never tried before, meet people you’ve never met before and have out-of-the-ordinary encounters. But how do you choose from so many adventures? A day in the clouds swimming and kayaking in your private mountain lake or living like a local with a Grecian family pressing grapes and helping with the Olive harvest.
For ‘Find and Seek’ inspiration, Vietnam will test your senses and transform your palate. For those with only a few days to spare, uncover some of the most unforgettable and rewarding activities in New York.
To truly connect to a place you have to do more than just see it; you have to taste it. Eating is, after all, one of life’s greatest pleasures and Vietnam will certainly excite your senses. Considered one of the healthiest cuisines in the world, local dishes showcase a strong focus on traditional Chinese medicine; the principle of Yin and Yang is central to the kitchen: a balanced meal means a balanced body. In Hanoi, spend the afternoon with food bloggers like Van Cong Tu who are an invaluable source of local knowledge, a street food tour with him will reveal the area’s best hidden culinary spots. In Ho Chi Minh City, hop on the back of a Vespa with an expert guide leading the way through street food stalls, to restaurants run by Michelin-starred chefs – this pace of life will carry you away to the very essence of what it means to be Vietnamese. Delve deeper into the country’s most prized ingredient by spending time with local farmers and their families among the rice fields. Gain insight into rice cultivation but also into the culture, beauty and delights of this area of artistic masterpiece. Balance the city with a more serene environment, Halong Bay; the best way to experience this UNESCO World Heritage Site is by ‘junk’, an ancient Chinese sailing boat. As you journey through the mystical communities that lived as long ago as 10,000 BC, listen to the legend of the dragon who flew down from the mountains and created the grottos and crevasses of this vision of ethereal beauty. Hectic and calm, loud and quiet, full of tradition but also innovation, this is a trip that will satisfy your culture fix and transform your aesthetic palate.
For a sight of the Big Apple that few can find, from celebrity workouts to a private audience with Old Masters, embark on some of the most unique and exclusive experiences. Like the sound of 5,400 seconds to admire works like Van Gogh’s Wheat Field with Cypresses in meditative silence? If you’re an art lover, nothing can beat this private 90-minute tour of the Metropolitan Museum of Art with an expert museum curator. For a unique (and healthy) way to experience Brooklyn, pedal off with a local on a personalised tour of the borough’s epicurean and cultural highlights. For musical enthusiasts, watching your favourite show on Broadway will feel so different when you know the cast personally; go behind-the-scenes and join the world-class actors of your favourite show for an exclusive dinner before you watch their performance. And if you’re a health conscious traveller, there’s only one place to stay, Equinox. This renowned luxury fitness brand has opened a new hotel in the Hudson Yards; a 14-floor space dedicated to restoring and regenerating the body. Equinox promises high performance living by elevating fitness, culture and community. And at this flagship hotel, you’re guaranteed to learn that how you choose to rest and play can help define a life well-lived.
This is when you travel for personal growth and self-improvement. A desire to learn, to understand and experience new things, to step out of your comfort zone, to broaden your mind and expand your horizons. This is less about where you go and what you do and more about who you can be. Whether your goals are self-discovery, humanity, belonging, achievement; you want to explore the world with purpose, travelling more consciously and considerately. It might be a spiritual journey through the beguiling kingdoms of Bhutan or putting your design skills to the test creating your very own bespoke ice suite at Sweden’s ‘coolest’ hotel.
South Africa and the Seychelles are two places that will connect to your inner explorer, create life-defining memories and opportunities for you to help protect and nurture the planet for future generations.
There is no bond stronger than the indelible and intuitive connection between a ranger and a tracker. To appreciate true humanity and the value of co-operation, join some of the most qualified teams in the business tracking the animal kingdom’s most elusive creatures. Step out of your comfort zone on an adrenalin-fuelled adventure and come within heart-stopping distance of endangered species. Learn the humble and valuable skills possessed by these under-exposed legends of Africa who have spent a lifetime refining their craft. Notice as they interpret nature’s subtle clues through acutely honed senses whilst they inspire you to be more courageous and composed. At Royal Malewane you can join one of the most qualified guiding teams in Africa, meeting three of only seven living Master Trackers in the world, who lead the way in anti-poaching initiatives. Become a ‘protector’ for the day and realise your innate human nature preserving rhino and other endangered wildlife for future generations. Opting to camp, with only a piece of canvas between you and the animals that roam freely, will immerse you in the sights, sounds and smells of the bush in the most exhilarating way imaginable. At Madikwe Game Reserve’s secluded Sanctuary Makanyane Safari Lodge, guests can go one step further and shed the canvas to sleep under the stars on a candle-lit platform.
There is so much beyond the aesthetic treasures the Seychelles is renowned for, making it inimitably different to other heavenly hotspots. The archipelago is leagues ahead of the rest of the world when it comes to conserving its bountiful environment, which boasts approximately 80 unique and some of the rarest species in the world. For the most accurate insight into how the Seychelles looked 250 years ago before it was inhabited; take a boat to the Aride Island Nature Reserve and meet the only inhabitants - the guardians of the land. With basic living conditions, tropical climates and demanding work, discover how passion, dedication and aptitude result in tremendously rewarding jobs. The Seychelles is a leading force in marine conservation; if you’re a diver you can contribute by clearing the ocean of any waste and photographing the coral reefs and manta rays as you swim alongside them. Those who prefer to remain on ground level can join the Island Conservation Society (ICS) team as they track the movements of the turtles that nest on the beaches. Kids will never forget the moment they came face to face with an Aldabra Giant Tortoise, which feels like meeting a real-life dinosaur . If you’re conscious about wellbeing as well as the planet, from the food you eat to the way you sleep, wellness is integrated into many of the high-end resorts. Personalised wellness programmes dive deeper to discover what your body really needs and with dedicated specialists in the fields of nutrition, sleep, neuroscience and cardiovascular health, doctors combine science and best practices to achieve optimum outcomes.
Whether you want to fly and flop, find and seek or go and become (in our opinion the best kind of holidays are those that include all three), planning such a trip requires the help of experts with in-depth knowledge and understanding and the right local connections and facilitators.