For those with a passion for travel, a vivid imagination and the power to dream can take them to places few may ever see. And journeys that evoke feelings of wonder and meaning are the ones that stay with us the longest.
With the ambition to grant access to a world beyond, some travel curators have crafted unique trips exclusively for the dreamers chasing those magic moments. From wild journeys inspired by novels to once-in-a-lifetime solar eclipse viewings in Antarctica, here are some of the most creative and thoughtful ways to see the world in 2021.
Getting creative with curated travel
Before ever stepping foot on a plane or a train, as children our minds will have travelled thousands of miles in the books we once read, imagining faraway lands of mystery and wonder. It’s those happy memories that luxury travel agency Black Tomato are trying to evoke with their latest set of unique travel experiences – Take me on a story.
From the pastoral English countryside to the snow-capped mountains of Alaska and the vast deserts of Morocco, their vision is to take the traveller on a journey inspired by the vivid landscapes found in books they may have read in childhood.
Whether it’s Alice in Wonderland or Treasure Island, Black Tomato have curated itineraries that include unique activities similar to those found in the books, as well as bringing a photographer along to capture every moment.
“After the hardships of last year, being able to transport both children and adults into these rich, whimsical worlds feels like the ultimate joyful way to reconnect with family and welcome back the magic of travel,” said Tom Marchant, Black Tomato’s co-founder.
Switching mediums to the movies, the Middle Earth Tour by Zicasso takes travellers on a journey through the stunning cinematic landscapes of New Zealand that were used for much of the filming of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.
Getting creative with the choice of destination itself is another option – i.e. the sort of destination a traveller would normally not consider, or perhaps even think about. Scenic’s 6-star cruises through Antarctica could certainly be classed as one. Pristine and otherworldly, the scenery in this remote part of Earth is completely unique, and Scenic offer helicopter and submarine rides to take an even closer look.
The secret is…timing
Take a trip towards the Arctic Circle during winter and there’s a good chance you’ll witness Earth’s most spectacular light show. Whether it’s in Iceland, Canada, Alaska or Sweden, when you turn your eyes to the clear night sky you should be able to see the ethereal glow of the Northern Lights.
For a more unique way of viewing the shimmering greens and purples of the Aurora Borealis, take a trip on Cunard’s magnificent Queen Victoria for a 12-night cruise through Norway’s spectacular fjords featuring astrology talks from guest expert speakers.
Some curated journeys take precision timing to the next level, however.
Situated deep in Argentina’s sublime and vast Patagonian Desert, PRIOR’s exclusive 7-night escape in December 2020 featured one of nature’s rarest and most striking displays – a total solar eclipse. While the trip also took in horseback riding, kayaking, yoga and hiking, the opportunity to witness such naturally occurring phenomena in such a grandiose and unspoilt location was undeniably alluring.
4:34AM on December 4th 2021 is the next time a solar eclipse will take place and Black Tomato’s private yacht charter takes travellers down to Antarctica’s frozen landscapes for this spectacular event (the next one is in 2023). With the sun hanging low and hovering just above the icy horizon, the moment the eclipse briefly turns out the lights will be a moment to remember.
Crafted for trends
As Black Tomato’s Tom Marchant hinted earlier in the article, their carefully curated Take me on a story concept is aimed at a particular travel trend that could see serious growth in 2021 and beyond. With families separated for so long during the pandemic, multigenerational travel is a trend that makes a lot of sense in the post-COVID era.
“This is a collection we will continue to grow by inviting clients to shape our offerings with their favourite books that can inspire their family travels. We believe these trips will not only provide an engaging, experiential platform for education, but importantly inspire wanderlust and excitement, in the build-up to travel,” explained Marchant.
Sustainability and conservation are also topics at the heart of many travellers’ thoughts now too, and it’s no surprise that some travel agencies have curated journeys around those very themes.
Impact Destinations is one such agency and their philanthropic journey into Costa Rica’s jungles to help with the conservation of its tropical environment is a fine example of just how rewarding travel can be.
Travellers can give back by helping document the forest and collecting specimens – an experience only available to professionals just a few years ago.
Not all travel experiences need to have meaning, but the ones that do will last forever.