Greetings from Etosha, Namibia!
We're just a week into our Namibia & Botswana program, having just about wrapped up the Dunes portion and soon crossing over into Botswana to experience the Okavango River Delta and its abundant wildlife.
Though some of the travelling has been lengthy and the roads reminiscent of Nova Scotia after the winter, I find myself enraptured by the scenery and perhaps more present than I've been on a trip in some time.
While I was looking out over the rusty orange sand dunes of the Namib Desert, I found that ever-present cliché of the travel industry ringing in my mind...I was (am!) indeed in the midst of a once-in-a-lifetime trip, and it occurred to me how special it is when the words are truly justified.
The phrase has been so overused in the world of travel that it in many cases has become a sort of shorthand for really far away, hard to get to, and / or expensive. It sounds grand in a brochure and then you get to a place and you see the same souvenir knock-offs you find in Toronto.
But then you get to a place like this, you get beyond the veil and you find the deeper meaning otherwise lost in our information-overloaded world.
The sheer vastness of the Namib Desert, its relative emptiness compared to the more well-travelled African tourism routes, and the unique colours and life forms all brought me present to what else 'once-in-a-lifetime' can mean.
I realized that it also encapsulates things I've never seen before, more of the unexpected than expected, meeting people who live in ways I've never imagined...and I suppose eating things I've never eaten before, like springbok, warthog, crocodile, oryx, and more.
And perhaps the icing on the cake is that everyone here with me is in a similar place - sharing the excitement, the awe, and the oohs and ahs together.
In past newsletters I've sung the praises of places like Italy and France specifically for their multi-visit appeal, and while I daresay I would come back here in a heartbeat, I am struck at this moment by just how special it is because it's all so new and I very well may not make it back to this corner of the globe.
It also occurs to me that deciding to go on a true 'once-in-a-lifetime' sort of trip involves a different mindset in the decision. The more unexpected than expected part of it carries a bit more risk, but also more potential for expansion of one's perspectives, as does the eating things I've never eaten before aspect of it all.
I travel so often that at times I find the mundane more present to me than the magic...but then I come on a trip like this and I feel like I did when my traveller identity first blossomed many moons ago. And we're not even halfway done yet! My heart continues to sing with gratitude for this marvellous adventure.
And speaking of marvellous adventures, I'm pleased to release two new trips for 2024 this week, one to the Azores and another along the idyllic Adriatic Coast, which you can find below.
We'll only be doing one sailing of the Adriatic Coast in 2024 due to extremely high demand in the region and a shortage of new ships there, which is yet another still-present consequence of the pandemic. If Croatia et al is on your list for 2024, please let us know early as it's unlikely we'll be able to secure another departure until 2025.
We'll also have our 2024 Algarve program coming next week, along with Iceland, and not long after that will be our hotly-anticipated 2024 Australia program.
As always, there's lots more on the way... so stay tuned and do get in touch if any of these appeal to your travel plans for the year ahead 🙂