“Explore the world, one continent at a time”, is not only my business motto, but a personal life goal. The more I see of the world, the hungrier I am! The irresistible twitch one feels to rove and explore the globe is wanderlust, but for me, travelling is a magnetic pull; an unseen force that draws me to the obvious must-do’s and the alluring, obscure fringes of the globe.
While ticking off all seven continents is a fanciful ambition for many, reaching it only sets the bar higher. Conquering each new elusive landscape or far flung island only creates a thirst for another and an urgency to set off again.
Over the years, I have trekked, sailed, sipped, soared, cycled, safari’d, and sat still in some amazing places; immersing in the surrounds and finding those quiet moments to really absorb the beauty, and the achievement is when the next inspiration takes flight.
Watching the wildebeest great migration in the Maasai Mara gave wings to my ‘Wander-list’ and a new Attenborough-esque adventure to cross the Northwest Passage, with the beluga whale migration into Hudson Bay headlining the parade.
Perched high on a snowy cliff marvelling at the sheer expanse of Antarctica (the pinnacle seventh continent moment), a whim to conquer the North Pole was born, thus adding Svalbard and Franz Josef Land to the arctic daydreams.
Watching brown bears fishing for salmon in Alaska arouse a necessary visit to their special brothers, the (Kermode) white spirit bears of British Columbia, Canada, and a seaplane flight to a remote fly-in fishing lodge for nothing but wilderness and luxury.
And, a recent adventure visiting the cheeky monkeys of the Amazon jungle has me craving a rainforest safari to visit the elusive Ugandan gorillas.
My ‘Wander-list’ grows and evolves at a speed that exceeds a traditional calendar year, but while it’s important to keep dreaming and plotting, it’s essential to keep doing also – 2018 and beyond is full of adventures patiently awaiting their tick.
I have just returned this month from a winter jaunt exploring the luxury mountain and lakeside lodges of the Rockies and Monashee Mountains in Canada, with the past week in Iceland touring the Blue Lagoon, Húsafell, South Coast and Golden Circle.
The remote Tibet-bordering Yunnan province of southwestern China beckons in April, where elusive Shangrila and the ancient Tea Horse Road trading route lead to vibrant minority groups and fascinating culture.
In the European spring we’ll sip our way through the vineyards of Italy’s ‘Prosecco Road’, Veneto and sail quietly down the island-dotted Dalmatian coastline of Croatia by luxury private yacht.
August brings us to the edge of the Earth in the far Atlantic provinces of Canada, where Newfoundland and Labrador greet us with viking heritage and abundant wildlife, and a stay in a working lighthouse on ‘Iceberg Alley’. Canada’s foodie island, Prince Edward Island, and the Niagara wine region deliver a burst of flavour as we taste our way through craft breweries, vineyards and a traditional lobster boil on the beach.
In October, we return to captivating Vietnam and Cambodia for a cultural cruise and foodie experience. And 2019 and 2020 are already pencilled in to see some amazing sights and encounters that will no doubt include food, wine, culture and wildlife.
Whether you’re a nomad, soft adventurer, cruise enthusiast, skier, wine aficionado, history buff or simply love to relax and have everything taken care of, anything you can dream is worthy of a ‘Wander-list’. Scribble a few, ‘If money was no object’, dream destinations in an ‘I wish’ column; toss a dart at a world map for some alluring wildcards; scour Instagram for those wanderlust moments; and don’t forget to include your own backyard – Australia is full of Wander-list-worthy excursions.
Small Group Journeys is a collection of bespoke worldwide adventures, cruises and tours designed and escorted by Jacinta Blundell.
Follow Jacinta in Profile each month as she takes you beyond the tourist trail.
Make an appointment to see one of helloworld travel’s specialists today or visit smallgroupjourneys.com
Wanders of the World to inspire your next great adventure
1. The forgotten Faroe Islands
Described by National Geographic Traveler as, “Authentic, unspoiled, and likely to remain so”. Halfway between Norway and Iceland, yet part of Denmark, the natural beauty of these 18 volcanic islands is unrivalled, where puffins flock and the village scenes are straight out of middle-earth. They won’t be forgotten for long!
2. Cruise the Inland Passage
Unique and diverse connecting waterways that lay along the east coast of America. Discover the southern charm as you river cruise through the rich landscapes and a past that has influenced America, where captivating sites, historic mansions and fascinating stories will lead you on an extraordinary adventure.
3. A luxury stay in a Ger Camp
An experience in Mongolia not to be missed. Camping in a traditional yurt and visiting the annual cultural event known as the Naadam festival. A welcome stop along the ancient Silk Road, as you follow in the footsteps of the famous conqueror, Genghis Khan.
4. Transport yourself back to the highlands of Scotland
Train through famed Outlander locations on board the Jacobite steam train, also famous for its role in Harry Potter, taking Harry to Hogwarts!
5. Pick a theme and circle the world following your passion
Festivals are a huge part of travelling now, a few lesser known festivals for you to contemplate are Creole Festival in Seychelles, Day of the Dead festival in Mexico, Unknown Festival in Croatia, Mud Festival in South Korea, Underwater Music Festival in Florida, and Mangialonga in Italy.
6. Follow the snow in an everlasting winter
Revel in the excitement of exploring new ski destinations over the world, and pouring over trail maps looking for those hidden runs. Deciding whether to return to one of your favourites, or off to explore another is the biggest question for any avid ‘winter worshipper’!
7. Follow your palate as you taste your way through the vineyards of the world
With unique regional varietals covering the globe, it would be a shame to not have experienced the Malbecs and Cabernet Francs of Mendoza Argentina, the Bordeaux blends of Waiheke Island New Zealand, the Pinotage of Franschhoek South Africa, the Cot of Maipo Chile, the Barolo and Barbaresco of Piemonte Italy, the Txakoli of Getaria Spain and the Zinfandels of California (just to name a few!) Fulfilling the biggest bucket list item for any wine lover – making your own blend and shipping that precious cargo home. Salud!