Why You Should Travel Again When You Can
Travelling makes you realise the beauty, diversity and vastness of our world. It provides you with the opportunity to re-evaluate your life, reconnect with yourself and loved ones, regroup with family and friends, revisit favourite places, recharge, relax and play your part in reviving a destination. We believe you should start travelling again when you can – not only because you deserve a well-earnt and long-awaited break but because travelling is about so much more than just going on holiday. We give you seven reasons why travel is so precious.
First and foremost, we should travel to support the millions of people worldwide who depend on tourism for their survival. From our drivers in Sri Lanka to our specialist guides in Cairo, the number of lives heavily impacted by the temporary collapse of the travel industry is beyond our imagination. Without funding from tourism, jobs are lost and NGOs grounded; hotels and lodges can no longer support their communities and conservation projects grind to a halt so wildlife poaching becomes prolific once again. In so many places, life revolves around tourism. The impact of COVID-19 on our destinations has undoubtedly been catastrophic, but we are speaking continuously to people on the ground and hearing how they are adapting to the new normal, looking after their staff and putting the necessary measures in place in order to welcome our clients again.
We care deeply for our destinations, and have always worked with places and people that support the local community and the environment. However, it is now more important than ever to help communities and protect wildlife and wild spaces, which you can do by travelling with us. We strongly advocate slow travel and taking your time on your trip – not only because less travel reduces one’s footprint and is better for the planet but also because you will get more out of a place. “Spending longer in a place means you can really get under the skin of a destination, engage with the locals, hear their stories and come away understanding a place and its people,” says Co-owner + Founder, Henrietta Loyd. “This can have a profound and long-lasting effect on you.”
Where possible, we encourage our clients to stay in small, owner-run properties that support local projects. A good example is Sol y Luna in Peru’s Sacred Valley, which we would certainly recommend if you were travelling with us to this corner of South America. This fantastic hotel has an incredible story. “It is not for profit and everything they make goes back into the business and the foundation,” says our Co-Owner + Director, Christopher Wilmot-Sitwell. “Entirely funded by tourism, the Fundación Sol & Luna supports the community in this very poor area by providing schools, infrastructure, sports and educational activities and jobs.” By staying here or at some of our other favourite properties, such as Chilo Gorge in Zimbabwe’s Gonarezhou National Park, the Arkaba Conservancy in the Australian outback, SUJÁN Sher Bagh in India’s Ranthambore National Park or Cristalino Lodge in the Brazilian Amazon, you will be making a positive impact just by being there.
For those who want to go a step further and get involved in a more direct, meaningful way, we can organise for you to take part in countless rewarding grass-roots projects in our destinations. At Shinta Mani Wild, for example, you can head out with the rangers to get involved with protecting the reserve from poachers; and on Lizard Island in Australia or Bawah Private Island in Indonesia, you can spend time with the marine conservationists there.
We know that many of our clients already neutralise their carbon output, but for those who would like us to do so for them, we can calculate your carbon footprint and subsequently how many trees need to be planted by CommuniTree, a reforestation project in Nicaragua specifically designed to carbon balance by recreating indigenous forest with the help of local people. If you are going to Nicaragua, we can arrange for you to visit one of the farms supported by the programme, meet the farmers on the ground and plant your trees yourself.
Our trips are often life-changing – giving you a fresh perspective and wider horizons as well as time to reassess and think. In fact, it is often said that many big decisions are made while abroad for this reason. “Travel builds confidence, encouraging you to try new things,” says Claire Ferguson, Head of our Africa + the Indian Ocean team. “It challenges you by taking you out of your comfort zone and bubble. It enables you to grow as a person and learn about somewhere completely new as well as interact with different people and cultures. It encourages you to think about and be more sensitive to others. And it makes you realise just how wonderfully varied but also incredibly fragile this planet is.”
At cazenove+loyd, we always ensure that our trips are mind-expanding. They allow you to discover new things and engage with local communities, which can be mutually enriching and beneficial – a sharing of knowledge and stories between different cultures. We can arrange some enlightening experiences with specialist guides, such as enjoying lunch in a Druze home in Israel’s lush Golan Heights, which our expert, Venetia Stanley, did last year. “We were welcomed into Fawizia’s house, in the town of Majdal Shams, and served a delicious home-cooked lunch,” she describes. “Engaging with Fawizia was an uplifting and enlightening experience that added a wonderful additional perspective to our adventure in terms of appreciating the multi-ethnic composition of modern Israel.”
Many clients are keen cooks at home and are eager to learn new recipes while away. Cooking with our friend on the ground, a well-known chef and food writer in Fez, is a fantastic way to spend an afternoon in this lively Moroccan city. In Havana, art enthusiasts can visit a number of local artists in their studios. These very intimate and fascinating encounters allow you to chat to the artists themselves about Cuba’s burgeoning art scene, history and politics. Experiences, such as this, are totally immersive and real, enabling you to leave your world behind and enter the day-to-day life of someone else in another place and culture.
“Travelling strengthens relationships and brings people together,” says Head of Product, Rachel Nicoll. “The experience of seeing jaw-dropping places such as Iguaçu or Antarctica, spicy seafood curries in Sri Lanka or listening to the spine-tingling sound of lions roaring in the African night awakens our senses and forms memories that last a lifetime.”
If you are looking to reconnect with loved ones and yourself in a remote location – somewhere you can really switch off and embrace your own little corner of earth – we have the answer and can arrange everything from staying in a private ger in the middle of nowhere in the Mongolian wilderness to a secluded fly-camp, set up just for you, in Zambia’s Lower Zambezi National Park.
For a truly restorative and spiritual experience, we suggest spending a few days at The Happy House in the Nepalese Himalayas, where you can enjoy a meticulously crafted mindfulness retreat, combining meditation, yoga and sound healing.
Many of us travel to spend quality time with our families from whom we may have been separated for far too long. Now is the perfect time to bring the generations back together. With our many years of experience, we are well positioned to create a trip that suits all ages. When there are more of you, it becomes possible to charter boats or take over entire lodges, a great way to avoid other travellers at this time, as you have them entirely to yourselves. We can also recommend phenomenal private houses everywhere from Cape Town to Morocco.
In addition, many of us have not seen our friends for far too long and there are some countries that lend themselves to travelling as a group of friends – such as Ethiopia, Mongolia and Egypt, where we can design you a private journey down the River Nile on board Meroe, Malouka, El Nil and Assouan, one of Nour El Nil’s stunning dahabiyas, which two of our clients did at the end of last year. Of course, the ultimate escape is retreating to your own island. Some of our favourites include Sweet Bocas on Panama’s Caribbean coast or, on another level, nothing compares to Thanda, an idyllic private isle off Tanzania.
Perhaps now is also the perfect time to join one of our small group trips. “Travelling is a way to meet new and like-minded people,” says Claire Ferguson. “Camaraderie really grows when you are experiencing new things with others who have similar interests. You can meet some really interesting characters.” We are designing some extraordinary journeys for 2021 to Jordan, Israel, Nepal and South Africa. The latter is a private charter of the Rovos Rail train in the footsteps of Sir Winston Churchill, led by his grandson Sir Nicholas Soames and leading historian Nicholas Schofield, who together, will bring the Boer War battlefields to life. All of these itineraries are incredibly different but each is very special in its own way.
Many of us spend our lives longing for our next holiday rather than reflecting on the wonder of travels already taken. But this time has led us to remember past adventures, which has left many wanting to return to the places they loved – whether it was that first family safari in Kenya, that magical honeymoon in Indonesia or that unforgettable walking holiday in Argentinian Patagonia.
You may ask why you should return somewhere you have already been when there are so many other destinations to explore – but no one holiday is the same. You can never experience everything on one trip, so we recommend returning to get even deeper under the skin of somewhere you have already fallen in love with.
“The ability to pack a suitcase, get on a plane and explore the world is one of life’s great privileges,” says Penny Buckley, Head of Asia, the Middle East + Australasia team. “I have spent the last few months daydreaming of far flung places I have yet to explore. I can’t wait to feel sand between my toes and swim in turquoise waters, hear interesting languages and try new foods.”
There is no doubt that travel allows you to reset. The freedom of escaping your everyday life is good for the body, soul and mind. You feel rejuvenated and lighter on your return and ready for whatever is to come. It gives you the opportunity to step away from the mundane and the stresses of daily life and do something different. Whether you are dreaming of gazing out over the shimmering waterways of Botswana’s Okavango Delta, hiking in the verdant valleys of Bhutan or mountain-biking in southern Peru, the feeling of getting off the grid and surrounding yourself with nature, stunning scenery and space in the wilderness gives you a sense of hope, motivation and newfound energy.
For many, a holiday is just that – a chance to rest and really switch off from the hecticness of everyday life and escape to a place utterly different from home where there is nothing on the agenda except beach lazing, spa pampering and scrumptious food. We know all the best places to go and really unwind.
To name a few, Santorini – on the clifftop above Kingfisher Bay in Vilanculos, Mozambique – is a wonderful beach retreat with a good spa. We recommend the hotel’s two-bedroom Chapel for extra privacy. Another tranquil beach hideaway we love, this time on Colombia’s Caribbean coast, is Monasterio del Viento on Isla de Providencia. Here, you will spend your days lounging in a hammock on an empty beach, walking, snorkelling, exploring this rugged isle in a golf buggy or bobbing on the Sea of Seven Colours.
In Indonesia, Nihi Sumba is another of our favourite island boltholes for pure indulgence and relaxation. One of the highlights of any stay here is a spa safari, where you go on a guided trek across this dramatic island, ending up at the hotel’s incredible spa where you enjoy detox juices, several rejuvenating treatments and a scrumptious private breakfast overlooking the crashing waves.
Travel enriches your life. It is a privilege – perhaps now more than ever.
Want to plan a trip?
Almost Essential recommends reaching Christopher and his team, whose experts are currently working on new enquiries and future bookings. They are still very much at the end of the telephone, ready to discuss any future travel plans with you.