Why We Travel

What is it that makes travel so desirable? I don’t mean business travel or visiting relatives, though these can also be fun and memorable trips. I mean the kind of travel where you pick a place because you simply want to go. I think that desire comes from the need to experience something with all of our senses, not just through photos or books or our imaginations. There’s nothing like seeing a fabled monument or vista with your own eyes, and then going further: hiking on the Perito Moreno Glacier, exploring the passageways and courtyards of Angkor Wat, smelling the spices at the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul. It’s that interaction which makes even the most famous place special and personal—and it can only happen through travel.

There’s a scientific reason why we gravitate towards experiences—studies have shown that we get greater, more lasting happiness from the things we do than from the things we buy. Travel helps us feel more alive, more connected to the world around us. And the more immersive the experience, the greater the effect. That’s why, as a family, we are always seeking out ways to dive deep into the culture, whether through cooking, polo or calligraphy lessons, behind-the-scenes tours, or authentic meals and performances. Taking part in local festivals and customs, seeing the way residents actually live and work, observing wildlife in its natural habitat—these things make the difference between merely visiting a place and truly exploring it. My kids will never forget the first time they saw a wild lion on safari, but they also still talk about how the local guides taught them to make and use slingshots. Dressing up like ninjas in Japan, sandboarding on the dunes in Morocco, catching octopi for dinner in Greece—this is what lifelong memories are made of.

People often ask me how I choose our next destination. The answer varies as much as the places do. Sometimes we want to expose ourselves and our kids to a particular culture. Sometimes our kids are studying a certain place, language, or time in history, so we go there to help reinforce what they’ve learned. Sometimes we are pursuing a passion, like photography, cuisine, or contemporary art. But wherever we go, and whatever goal we have in mind, what we’re truly after are meaningful, unique experiences that we can all share and will always remember.

As I mentioned in our last newsletter, the partners in the MLS network were chosen for their abilities to deliver authentic experiences and one-of-a-kind itineraries. They’ll help make sure your travels offer the greatest possible joy and satisfaction. So start planning your next journey now—it’s good for you!

New Partner

Two of the best destinations in the world for a family vacation are New Zealand and the South Pacific islands. So we are very happy to introduce our newest partner, Southern Crossings. Offering 25 years of experience in the region, Southern Crossings specializes in bespoke itineraries built around your personal wish list.Logo for Southern CrossingsIn New Zealand, they’ll design a journey that highlights the country’s spectacular natural beauty, offers plenty of kid-friendly adventure, and weaves in local culture and attractions like sheep shearing, Maori feasts and spouting geysers. In the South Pacific, they’ll show you the very best of these island paradises. If you’re feeling active, they’ll arrange fishing, snorkeling, sailing and whale-watching trips—and they’ll find the perfect accommodations, from boutique lodges to world-class, integrated resorts that keep kids entertained and let parents relax. Southern Crossings also custom-designs trips to Australia (another fantastic family destination). Check out their Partner Page to see what they’re all about.

Photo Contest Winner

Congratulations to Henry Shin, winner of the Apple iPad drawing! We want to thank all the incredible photographers who shared their images with us. This contest has been so successful that we’ve decided to hold it twice a year. We’re now accepting submissions for the second 2011 contest. Send in your photos starting now up until November 30, 2011—we’ll be holding our next drawing in early December. As in previous contests, the prizewinner’s name will be drawn from the monthly winners. However, this time the winner will have a choice of prizes—an Apple iPad or a G12 camera! To see the selected photos from earlier this year, please visit the Photo Contest page on My Little Swans.

Warm Regards,
Katrina Garnett

Portrait of Katrina Garnett

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