As we enter a new year and leave 2017 behind, we can’t help but look forward to a new year of new destinations, new experiences and new opportunities. While many enter a new year with goals and resolutions, we like to take the chance to reflect on some of our favorite destinations; ones which we hope to put on your radar this year—and ones that will perhaps assist in checking off a goal to travel more, or explore a new country.
As one of the more enlightening things we can invest in, travel is such an important goal to set, especially as it tends to help us achieve some of our sub-goals— to expand our horizons, open our minds, learn a new language or empathize more. What better way to achieve these then to leap out of your comfort zone and open your body, mind and soul to a new country and the all encompassing cultural experiences that an opportunity like this presents? Whether you choose to eat your way through Mexico City, salsa dance through some of Chile’s most eclectic clubs, or join us on a tiger safari in North India, these destinations ignite your senses with a plethora of both enlightening and culturally unique experiences.
We’re particularly thrilled to share these destinations with you as our recent launch of Electrify Getaways allows us to not just point in you in the right direction for your next trip, but to actually take you there with us through carefully curated and well-vetted itineraries. Our trips to Kenya, North India, Morocco and Bali reflect four traveler hotspots each dynamically rich in their own genre, for which we showcase through a creative and cultural perspective. Although there are many ways to experience these destinations, we peel back the layers through local interactions, recognizing some of the most significant industries, religions and practices that their cultures are steeped in–from river camping in Kenya, to tile-making in Marrakech, to an afternoon with a Rabari Tribe in India and a local prayer ceremony ritual in Bali.
Then there is the uniquety of both landscape and location with Chile, Mexico City, Antarctica, and South Africa that entice us to visit at length. Chile’s vineyards, seaside and villages are often overshadowed by its more prominent attractions; Mexico City’s art and culinary scenes are booming reflected in its recent announcement as the 2018 World Design Capital; Antarctica cruises are becoming more popular and accessible; and South Africa adventures ignite your adrenaline for years to come.
Thus, from the great plains of Kenya to the great icebergs of Antarctica, we’ve rounded up eight destinations as places that we feel embody the spirit of experiential travel, so you can take your next trip to new heights, new extremes and most of all embrace the valuable opportunity to bask in a new culture.
With its evolving capital of Nairobi, Big Five game, a stellar backdrop of Mt. Kilimanjaro and a flourishing community of local tribes–many contributing to the anti-poaching movement–this East African hotspot tops our list. Although elephants, lions, giraffes, zebras and wildebeest are arguably the center of attention for Kenya, the country’s 40 different ethnic groups, spread among local villages and communities help shape a distinct journey that reveals pride, culture and artisan design alongside viewings of grand wildlife.
Our upcoming getaway, The Pride of Kenya with Lucy Laucht in November 2018 (8 days, 7 nights) ensures a trip that is as much about enjoying the wildlife, as it is about the understanding of these local communities at the heart of Kenya’s most popular national parks. From game drives in the Maasai Mara to visiting the tribe’s community of schools and artisans, we expose Kenya’s soul through storytelling. From the Chuylu Hills to the Maasai Mara, with game drives, a visit to the Maa Trust and interactions with anti-poaching rangers, this trip is as much about enjoying the wildlife, as it is an opportunity to understand conservation efforts by Big Life Foundations’ anti-poaching rangers. Co-hosted by renown travel photographer Lucy Laucht and Amanda Ho, Founder of Electrify Magazine, we will ensure you experience Kenya both in-front of, and behind, the lens, to capture the essence of east African culture, community and wildlife.
Even when talking to the most worldly of travelers, not many will list Antarctica as a completed expedition. Now, more than ever is the time to change that as private, luxury cruise liners, such as Silversea’s Silver Cloud and Silver Explorer Expeditions, are dedicating weeks to tooling around the Antarctic Peninsula, providing cruisers with day trip excursions that include penguin viewings, whale watching and island explorations.
While the sparse, yet unique, wildlife is a captivating comparison to what you may witness elsewhere, the shocking whites and cold blues of the icebergs fading into the dark waters offer an incomparable scenery. The landscapes that pass you by as you zip into the islands on a dinghy, or as you stand as a miracuously miniscule object in the shadow of an iceberg will forever change how you view our shared planet.
In a country of tiles and desert sands, riads and souks, blues and reds, whites and adobe, the word tantalizing seems to roll off the tongue. Wandering through narrow streets, entering doors to nondescript oases, emerged in a world of Arabic religion and African culture, every corner of Morocco–from Marrakech to Essaouira–defines a new way to explore. Rooted in creative opportunity, our Contemporary Moroccan Journey Through Southern Lands getaway in May 2018 (8 days, 7 nights) leads our group from the heart of Marrakech to the Sahara desert with overnights in Skoura and the Atlas Mountains.
Engaging with locals in the foothills of the mountains, sleeping under the desert stars, individual tile-making, and immersive tours of the frenetic souks reveal Morocco’s multifaceted culture, highlighting evolution and design.
4. North India
It’s long been documented that India is an assault on the senses. The word assault seems to be harsh as we like to look at it as an awakening, a stimulation beyond the sensory experiences as you discover this sprawling territory. The individualistic attractions of temples and textiles in the North’s Rajasthan region to the blue palaces of Jodhpur reveal a depth to this country that cannot be brought to life through photographs. Join our getaway, Colorful Encounters In India With Lucy Laucht in October 2018 (9 days, 8 nights). Led in partnership by travel photographer Lucy Laucht and Amanda Ho, Founder of Electrify Magazine, our multi-stop itinerary allows you to experience India both behind, and in front of, a photographer’s lens; creating all the memories and souvenirs you’ll ever need from a trip to Northern India.
Meandering through the streets is enough to widen your eyes to a new world, but the variety of tiger safaris, rituals on the sacred Ganges River and tours through the old markets found in our getaways is an opportunity to shatter your preconceived notions on old India, and open your mind to the realities; permitting you to create your own notions, your own experiences and your own memories.
Infamous for its spiritual aura attracting wellness enthusiasts and yoga gurus for years, Bali continues to top many traveler’s wish lists, and this year is no exception. While the island in the South Pacific has undoubtedly succumbed to a touristic hotspot, the locals and culture have yet to follow suit; still exuding Indonesian hospitality and charm to its core. Our getaway, the Spirit Of Bali With Yoga For Bad People in March 2018 (8 days, 7 nights) includes the chance to explore Bali’s off-the-beaten-path; where tourist lines wain and spiritual experiences are heightened. From the hectic streets of Seminyak, to the tranquil rice fields in Sanur, and the untouched jungle of northern Bali’s national park, the itinerary is designed for explorers to experience the best of Bali from coast to coast. Led by Heather Lilleston from Yoga For Bad People, travelers can expect unparalleled moments of zen combined with incredible opportunities for adventure.
Steeped in Indonesia’s rich religious history, the ancient temples, practices and offerings are must-sees, while the more modern Bali of cooking with organic, island-grown ingredients, and eco-luxury tourism, have seamlessly integrated with the island’s culture. We think a perfect trip consists of experiencing these elements individually as a way to truly grasp Bali’s authentic appeal. And while we have to admit that there’s no better destination for morning meditations and sunset yoga, it is the variety of other individual qualities that attract the modern traveler to Bali, with a shift in tourism beyond strict wellness trips, overflowing into adventure travel, luxury retreats, and culinary tours.
When Mexico City was listed as the 2018 World Design Capital, it came as no shocker given its history of diverse museums, ancient ruins and designer culture. And although this title has quickly shot Mexico City to the top of our destinations for the upcoming year, it’s the budding culinary scene that pushed us over the edge.
Streetside taco stands have received a facelift with reinvented creations like hibiscus tacos and spots such as the 17th best restaurant in the world–Pujol–that attract visitors to the city for this unexpected scene. Combine exquisite coffee, tacos and mole with art, and it’s all brought full circle as a trip to the city of palaces reveals its modern hidden jewel of culinary delight–with a designer’s twist.
7. South Africa
A journey to South Africa is packed with adventure from the bustle of Cape Town to the sweeping Atlantic and Indian Oceans, and of course, the vast plains on game safaris. A majestic destination that encourages you to experience it all, set against landscapes that take your breath away, with an eclectic abundance of wildlife, creates a trip like none-other.
Itineraries such as PUREWILD Adventures emphasize South Africa’s natural attractions, bringing visitors closer to nature than they’ve ever been–in more ways than one. Whether it’s diving with great whites off the coast of Cape Town, biking through the rolling mountains, or hopping in a jeep to drive alongside black-maned lions and baby elephants, PUREWILD never misses a moment to maintain your adrenaline-high.
As a country that exhibits all landscapes in one—from the mountains to the desert, beaches and vineyards—it’s easy to add this to your list of destinations. What may not be so easy is narrowing in on which part of Chile to explore. Although Patagonia and the Atacama Desert are strong contenders for any traveler’s bucket list, if you’re going to visit this South American hotspot, you should look into an extended trip with a stopover in central Chile. This is where you’ll discover its lake regions, vineyards and the coastal cities of Valparaiso and Vina Del Mar.
As the less-visited Chilean destinations, you’ll have more opportunity to fully immerse in all the country has to offer. Let the bold, spicy flavors of Carmenere wash down a crispy empanada as you adjust to the tranquilo way of life in Santiago. Take in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Valparaiso by strolling at your leisure, camera in one hand, the other free to browse shops and street art. Take a few days to vineyard hop through the Colchagua Valley, learning about Chilean varietals and absorbing the stunning landscapes. Closeby is Millahue, where a stay at Viña Vik offers classic vineyard landscapes with an avant-modern twist. The 11,000-acre estate provides visitors with 360-degree views of nature, including the neat rows of vines, dark depths of the lake and of course, the iconic backdrop of the Andes Mountain range. The 22-suite property welcomes both the sommelier-to-be and the wellness expert, alike, into a pristine retreat of serenity and style.
Photo Credit: Great Plains Conservation / Lucy Laucht