For many of us, this summer represents a thrilling return to serious travel. Whether or not we’ve been able to move around the country or slightly farther afield over the last 18 months, the next foreign vacation will be one to remember. Travel, you see, has changed. The urge to explore, to take advantage of what opportunities we have, has only grown stronger with each passing month.
It’s become an imperative, something we will never take for granted again. So this is not so much a travel issue as an exploration one. And who better to inspire us than the new president of the Explorers Club, Richard Garriott.
If you don’t move in hard-core exploratory circles (or equally hard-core gaming ones) Garriott’s name may mean little to you, but his story is extraordinary by any measure. He is the first person in history to complete what he jokingly calls “Earth’s explorational quadrumvirate,” namely journeying to both the North and South Poles, the ocean’s deepest point and outer space. He built and sold companies, made a fortune as one of the fathers of the gaming industry, lost it, then built it back up again, all to fulfill a childhood dream. His next adventure? A return to Antarctica and then, perhaps, another whizz up to space. Oh to be his travel agent.
But if a galaxy not that far away isn’t already on your to-do list, we have plenty of inspiration a little closer to home. The Balearic Islands off the east coast of Spain have long been one of my favorite destinations, so it was particularly pleasing to hear about a new artistic outpost in Menorca—you know, the one that’s not Mallorca or Ibiza— that noted gallery Hauser & Wirth has just opened. A combination of arts center, exhibition space, sculpture trail, restaurant, boutique and flower garden, its aim is to “forge meaningful connections with art, education, conservation and food.” Certainly it’s another example of how art-world power brokers are able to direct the zeitgeist, as writer James Collard discovered as one of the first people to visit. A former colleague of mine back in London, James has exquisite taste, so his selection of hotels, restaurants and places to see while you’re there is well worth perusing, and may just inspire you to head to Menorca in the coming months.
Or maybe you really do just want to hit the beach. The British Virgin Islands have been pummeled by a particularly cruel double punch of Hurricane Irma and Covid-19 over the past five years, but a number of the resorts are now reopening—many with new facilities and activities. Also opening, a new arrival to the archipelago: the Aerial. The brainchild of a 30-something entrepreneur and real-estate developer, it aims to be a restorative retreat for up to 30 guests, with a focus on both client wellness and the health of the island. Sustainability and conservation initiatives are paramount, while nature plays a starring role in the design of the property. And it looks sensational, too.
We also headed to Morocco—more specifically, Marrakech, and a genuinely extraordinary home hidden inside the souk there. Initially desiring a small and simple riad, an Italian businessman bought a bolt-hole that was a little over 2,000 square feet ranged around a courtyard. And then… “I lost control of myself,” he says, buying 21 adjacent riads over the next 18 months. His vision that grew from this spree was of an epic palace built by hand by local craftspeople, designed not by an architect but an artist.
The resulting home is elegant, ornate and exceptional. Twenty-two years after that first idea, he’s still enchanted by what he created. “I did it for myself, to live in and enjoy life. And I still enjoy it every day.”
And isn’t that what recent events have taught us—that life is for living and enjoying?
Happy travels and enjoy the issue.