Portland, Oregon-based tour outfitter Modern Adventure launched in 2018 with the angle of helping travelers discover destinations through the eyes of a special guest host, who would be a noted tastemaker or expert in their field. As the company’s first 40 itineraries mainly focused on culinary travel, the initial crop of leaders were primarily well-known chefs, sommeliers, and winemakers—but now, following the success of those early trips, the Modern Adventure world is getting bigger. Just announced this month, the 2020 itineraries feature destinations from Costa Rica and Argentina to Japan and India, and celebrate passions as diverse as cross-fit, high-end ceramics, and artisan chocolate.
Each trip is designed in conjunction with the expert to ensure that they reflect his or her passions and craft, and that they offer unique access and insight. The nine-day journeys though Japan with experts from Heath Ceramics (starting at $11,000 per person), for example, will include a mix of stops at museums, markets and cultural sites with private visits with noted artisans, from potters and indigo dyers to sake brewers. The six-day Costa Rica itinerary (starting at $3,650 per person) with either Jenn Glysson (fitness expert/owner of The Body Los Angeles) or Elisabeth Akinwale (CrossFit Games winner and owner of Chicago’s 13th Flow fitness company) will have you enjoying jungle zip-lining adventures, kayaking, bike rides to waterfalls, and other exhilarating workouts, plus beach and spa time.
Of course, culinary trips are still on the roster—and the 2020 picks offers something to please every palate. Two different Colombia itineraries—starting at $5,100 and $5,500 per person—focus on either coffee (led by masters from Bird Coffee) or small-batch chocolate (with the team from Dandelion Chocolates and two-time James Beard Award-winner Traci des Jardins), while two departures to Argentina will bring you from the wineries of Mendoza to the intimate tango salons of Buenos Aires with experts from either Classic Wine Auctions or Chateau Montelena (starting at $7,500 per person.) On an eight-day trip to New Zealand with wine icon Bill Blosser, of the Willamette Valley’s Sokol Blosser, you’ll bike or hop a ferry to hidden-away wineries, helicopter to scenic picnic spots, and enjoy fresh fare crafted by Michelin-starred chefs (from $8,000 per person). And there will be plenty to savor on chef-led trips like the Yucatan with Claudette Zepeda, from San Diego’s lauded El Jardin (starting at $3,500 per person), and a thrilling 12-day journey around India with Nina Compton, James Beard Award-winner and “Top Chef” runner-up (starting at $10,000 per person). Originally from the Caribbean, Compton is interested in diving into her culinary roots, “and (seeing) how they’ve been influenced by the traditions of India”—which should make for a particularly insightful, and flavor-packed, trip.