Monday, April 20, 2009

on the move…

Planning and preparing for a trip is an enormous part of the fun. Reading guidebooks and reviews of restaurants and hotels, planning visits to out of the way spots, and of course, organizing your wardrobe and packing the essentials is an integral part of the travel process. The trip is rewarding from the moment you being to ponder the possibilities.

We’ve been pondering the many possibilities of the new luggage that arrived at our offices this week. Fabulous cotton canvas carry-ons and cosmetic cases in basket weave and ikat prints will let you schlep your belongings around the world in style. The bags have comfy shoulder straps, a big top zipper that opens wide to help you find your things, and perfect pockets to keep it all organized. The outside pockets are sized perfectly- one to hold your passport and plane tickets, the other to old magazines and books for the long journey. I wouldn’t have designed it any differently.These bags leave us inspired and dreaming of a vacation faraway, and so after surfing away our lunch break on our favorite site for travel inspiration, Conde Nast Traveler, we came across a Top 20 List of Journey’s of a Lifetime. I can’t imagine anything better! Below are our top three, pulled straight from their list, and we are packing our bags in our heads already…

Pan American Highway , From North To South America
The Pan-American Highway is a network of interconnecting roads stretching some 22,500km, as the condor flies, from north of the Arctic Circle down to the tip of Chile through a vast range of landscapes and climates. You can cover the North and Central American section from Anchorage to Panama City in 16 weeks, or travel the entire journey from Anchorage to Ushuaia in 25 weeks (including a short flight from Panama to Quito). The list of highlights is almost as long as the journey itself and includes National Parks (Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Zion), ancient sights ( Machu Picchu, Tulum, Chichén Itzá) and many cultures (Navajo, Mayan, Aztec and Inca). Safety might be a concern in some parts, and various companies lead trips with groups, but we love the idea of renting a Land Cruiser and heading off on this adventure!

Trans Sahara Journey, Africa
Journey into the awe-inspiring wilderness of the largest desert and one of the hottest places on earth on a five-week camping safari through the Western Sahara from Morocco to Senegal, organised by adventure and discovery holiday specialist Guerba (01373 826611; Starting in Casablanca, the route takes in the cities of Rabat and Fès (including a tour of the Roman ruins at Volubilis), and, after a camel trek into the desert at Merzouga, crosses the High Atlas past Todra Gorge to Marrakech. The remaining weeks are spent following the Atlantic Ocean coast southwards, through the vast expanse of desert and the Banc d'Arguin National Park, rejoining Tarmac roads beyond Nouakchott. At Dakar, the final stopping point, there is an excursion to the former slave-trading centre on Goree Island. The thought of all the marketplaces full of leather goods and jewels, plus the image of us riding a camel, have us entranced by the possibilities!

Glacier Express, Switzerland
The Glacier Express runs between St Moritz and Zermatt, a journey that takes about seven to eight hours along a narrow-gauge track through unsurpassed Alpine scenery. Highlights include the Albula Pass valley where the Express climbs quickly, reaching the village of Bergün and looping through superbly engineered tunnels to Preda, the Oberalp Pass (where you wind down a valley from 1,525 metres), and the climb to Zermatt with the Matterhorn in view. We are hoping to go in the winter to see the snow.

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