It has been an absolute treat, for the past week, to read the many detailed and heartfelt posts by friends as they worked their way through the art extravaganza that is the Venice Biennale and shared their experiences with friends on Facebook and Instagram. (Don’t skip Sean O’Toole’s brilliant piece on the Biennale and what to do in Venice on page 36.)
It was the launch week of the art fest in the middle of May, but don’t panic: the city-wide exhibition is still on until November 26. What struck me almost as much as the incredible art installations, was the often-forgotten delight of devoting one’s travel to a personal pilgrimage — and how much more meaningful and satisfying travel can be if plans are made with a mission in mind.
Many years ago I headed for Japan, and top of my to-do list was a visit to the Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo, where I dreamed of feasting on the freshest possible sushi in the world. I made it after a few false starts (at that stage the famous fish auction was over by 8am and it took me a while to get the timing right!) and my meal there still rates as the most exciting sushi breakfast (at 6 o’clock in the morning) I have ever had.
My housemate had her own obsession: to get to Kyoto, and more specifically the ancient suburb of Gion, to spot and stalk real-life Geisha girls in their doll-like finery scuttling between the wooden houses.
Perhaps your mission is of a more spiritual nature, like my colleague Seth Shezi, who headed for the southwest of the US in the hope that a stint on the New Mexico hippie trail might help to clear his work-addled brain. It certainly seemed to weave its magic on him – read more on page 32.
Whatever your poison, it certainly makes sense to bring mindfulness into the mix when it comes to planning your August break from winter, as well as an increasingly crazy daily life. Simple, focused, and meaningful — that’s going to be my new holiday mantra.
That’s why, in putting together a round-up of some of the most luxurious lodges in and around Africa, we made a point of choosing those that also have a heart.
From the intoxicating sparkle of brand-new Miavana in Madagascar, to Natural Selection’s light-on-the-land Sable Alley in Botswana, this is not only next-level luxury, there’s also a serious feel-good factor in terms of behind the scenes work to make a difference to local communities.