Have you ever wanted to create a destination with-in a destination? Places that both spark and sate curiosity? Museums and gardens that restore and motivate the human spirit?
In the midst of Marekkesh, Morocco, Yves Saint-Laurent, helped create an artistic oasis that now offers visitors a wonderful Museum of Berber culture, the restored gardens of Majorelle, and a restful café . In the 1920s and 30s, Jacques Majorelle a French artist, landscaped the gardens as canvases.
He also used blues and yellows and oranges in buildings for contrast, and the vivid cobalt like blue is named after him- Majorelle bleu. In the 1980s, fashion designer Saint-Laurent and his partner Pierre Berge restored the place and now visitors can walk peaceful paths between cacti, palms, coconut trees, bamboo and fountains as well as immerse in authentic Berber artifacts in the museum. There’s even a YSL gallery that includes the “love” cards he made each year for friends as holiday greetings.
This eclectic destination within the great destination of Marrakesh was one of many memorable places we visited as part of my recent, wonder- filled Access Trips culinary journey of Morocco, and it prompted many musings while I meant to be writing about the delightful riads of the royal kingdom of Morocco. Good travels tend to stir dreams, memories, and ideas for new mixes.
I grew up exploring the Huntington Library and Gardens in San Marino, California just a few miles from the Pasadena Rose parade route. Thanks to Henry E. Huntington, and the transformation of his former home, the Gutenberg Bible, Gainsborough’s Blue Boy painting, the Shakespeare Gardens, an imaginative range of growing fauna, and the big bell in the Japanese gardens were a part of my childhood and are available to the many thousands who visit the peaceful grounds and rich repositories of knowledge and beauty.
The Getty Museum, thanks J.P Getty, is another visual feast inside and out in Southern California. Perched on a mountain top over freeways and high-rises with far reaching views outside and extensive art inside, it’s one of my favorite spots to meet friends and family for a meal, shared walks in the gardens and some satiating gawking in galleries.
Thanks also to Solomon R. Guggenheim whose eponymous spiraled museum in New York is a lovely respite from the intensities of New York city streets. The Guggenheims also sponsored public museums in Venice, Berlin, and Bilbao, Spain.
The Bilbao, designed by Frank Gehry, inspired the transformation of a whole region of the Basque Country for locals and tourism. Who knows how many visitors the artful destination has sparked?
Many travelers I know, have places in their homes that are aesthetic sanctuaries with goodies culled from the globe, integrated domestic shrines to the wonders of the world. But those places are only available to friends.
What cultural public oasis would you love to leave that others could enjoy?
If I were to write a mega best seller or win some stupendous lottery so I had a surplus of funds, I would love to create “Possibilitator Park” with a library full of eclectic inspiring works from around the world and different times , and gardens full of places to sit and think or stroll and muse. Trees that are symbolic and literal parts of stories would be spaciously placed so people could picnic or nap or sketch the lyrical branches. It worked for Buddha and Newton… There would also be conserved wilderness with running water, and open spaces for cloud watching, and, and.. well I have more than a few ideas gathered over the year while thinking about such a place.
Right now I imagine this sanctuary and stimulus on some mountain top acreage in the Santa Monica Mountains with a view of the Pacific Ocean, but places along the Hudson River in New York also come to mind—some gorgeous natural setting not far from an urban center, accessible to locals and travelers. The library would make available (via latest technology) all kinds of exemplary stories, quotes, art, social history, and research about creation and invention and “dreams turned deeds”—tales of true “Possibilitators” both the famous and the unsung.
On our first date, hours into our conversational meandering, I told this attractive, intelligent man named Victor that I wanted to resurrect a word I had found in the OED (Oxford English Dictionary)– the verb “possibilitate” meaning “to render possible.” “How could the American language have lost the active use of a verb conveying such a great concept?” I asked him.
He leaned over the wooden table at the Miracle Grill in New York and said, “Why don’t you and I be Possibilitators?” He made it a noun, and a loving challenge. I had written in a journal weeks earlier “I want to meet a man who is a victor not a victim.” Now I had met him. We were married five months later- the first marriage for both of us. We will enjoy our 15th wedding anniversary this Friday, 12/21/12 on the Solstice. And I smile deeply thinking how fortunate I am to be in love with the person I am married to, a man who inspires musings and is amusing.
Whether any of us go to a museum, library or garden within our home town or seek them out in exotic locales or create our own mini-versions in our homes and yards to share, they can be places for us to both escape and ignite, to empty out and then better fuel the best parts of ourselves.
Wouldn’t a park and museum that helped you contemplate and manifest what you want “to render possible” be wonderful?
What are your favorite incubators for musings? For possibilitatings? What do you want to possibilitate in the New Year?
-Lisa TE Sonne for LuxuryTravelMavens.com
Photographs by Lisa TE Sonne
Are you itching for a travel experience that is rare and “hot”? Or looking for a trendy trip for a great luxe gift to someone wonderful? Customized travel group Kensington Tours shares their top ten travel trends for 2013 with vacation adventures that include dragons, lemurs, soccer, white sand beaches in Africa, the land of the Hobbit, and the best Northern lights in 50 years. They polled people they call Destination Experts i.e. in their own words “Kensington’s team of seasoned nomads, globetrotters and adventure enthusiasts.” I have never experienced a Kensington trip so the specific adventures linked below are not personally vetted, though I have enjoyed exotic river cruises, safaris and night-time lights shows in other ways and recommend the concepts ! Read on for the top travel trend results as Kensington sent them to Luxury Travel Mavens:
Trending Wonders in their Words:
1. Asian Safaris – Dragons, Tigers, Orangutans & More
One wild trend that is on the 2013 hotlist – More families are requesting animal safaris in Southeast Asia than ever before! Borneo’s orangutans, Cambodia’s elephants, Thailand’s tigers, Laos’ gibbons and Indonesia’s komodo dragons, these animals add another dimension to the temples and treasures of these culturally rich countries.
2. Glamping – The Glam In Latin American Camping
Take some of Latin America’s wildest destinations, a large dose of fresh air, mobile tents and evening campfires, add porters to carry your gear, breakfast mimosas, and a personal chef – this is what glamping is all about! Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela and Patagonia all have a growing collection of luxury mobile camps for those who love the great outdoors but don’t want to miss out on prerequisite holiday pampering.
3. River Cruises – From Europe To The World
The popularity of European river cruises in past years has gone global. Quickly cruising their way on to the top of 2013’s travel hotlist are small ship adventures along the Irrawaddy in Myanmar, South East Asia’s Mekong, the Brazilian Amazon and Botswana’s Zambezi.
4. Island Hopping, African Style
Mozambique’s Benguerra, Zanzibar, Seychelles and Mauritius. After a week of going wild on game drives, safari-goers aren’t shy to ask which way to the beach? While the white sands of these African isles aren’t near as busy as Miami, Phuket, Bondi or Rio, 2013 sees them drawing more North American sun-worshipers than ever before.
5. Set Jetting – Lights, Camera, Travel
A blockbuster hit in this day and age can play a real role in driving tourism. Hollywood movies inspire people to visit far off lands and can arouse a strong sense of wanderlust for the destinations showcased on film. For 2013 we anticipate fans building trips around New Zealand’s The Hobbit, India’s Life of Pi and the Wild West’s The Lone Ranger.
6. 2013 Year Of The Northern Lights
Give into the call of the north as the dancing green glow of the Aurora Borealis will be shinning brighter than ever for winter of 2012-2013. NASA has predicted a 50-year peak in the auroral cycle and there’s no finer place to see this natural phenomenon than now through to the end of March from Sweden, Norway or Iceland.
7. Last Call For Untouched Sri Lanka
With publications like Lonely Planet and the New York Times putting Sri Lanka on the top of their 2013 bucket lists, the time is now before crowds hit and prices rise. Go at your own pace with a private guide and driver for a more personal experience and discover Sri Lanka’s tea plantations, elephant sanctuaries, wild jungles, divine temples, sun-kissed beaches and more.
8. Brazil World Cup Warm Up – 2013 Confederations Cup
Held the year before World Cup, Confederation Cup is regarded by football aficionados as the dress rehearsal for the big event and will be drawing travelers in droves to stadiums across Brazil June 15th- 30th 2013. Die-hard fans who want to experience Brazil and World Cup without the high prices are making travel plans for 2013 as they know this is the perfect kick-off
9. Lemur Fever! Madagascar
Bizarrely beautiful, this eco rich isle’s playful lemurs, phenomenal beaches, baobab trees and outlandish creatures are quietly climbing their way to the top of every globetrotter’s hit list. The country is only now beginning to embrace tourism after years of being off the map and it’s an exotic add-on to any African safari.
10. Travel Smart – With A Smartphone
HD cameras and travel apps on smartphones are bringing the days of lugging around heavy gear, books and other gadgets to an end. With apps such as Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter, you can share their travel moments those instantly as opposed to weeks later when the postcard arrives.
What are you own predictions for travel trends? Which of the above would you add to your bucket list? Which have you already enjoyed? What was it like? Please add your thoughts in the comments section below the field of wildflowers. Happy Travelling!
Posted by Lisa TE Sonne for Luxury Travel Mavens
Photographs by (c) Lisa TE Sonne Please contact her for permission to re-use.
Which of the statements below are true and which are false? In traveling around the world, and clicking around Luxury Travel Mavens site, you may be a travel maven yourself. Are you ready to put aside your Sudoku and try your hand at “Travel Trivia”? There’s an award to help charities for the first five people who answer them all correctly (without looking up the answers!). Photos may be a clue or a red herring.
TRUE OR FALSE?
The Luxury hotels, The Pierre Hotel, a Taj Hotel, and Le Blanc are found in France.
The Barberstown Castle, started in the 13th century and now a hotel outside Dublin, was once owned by Eric Clapton.
The “oldest, darkest, deepest, quietest, and largest suite room in the world” is in Russia.
Waterford Crystal tour in Ireland is in Waterford, once a Viking town.
You can take an Orient Express luxury train to Machu Picchu, one of the world’s great wonders, nestled in the Alps.
WILDLIFE (Away from the cities)
True or False?
Penguins are found only south of the Equator.
You can snorkel among stingless jellyfish in the Galapagos and swimming iguanas in Papua New Guinea.
Whale Sharks are not sharks.
Surprisingly, a luxury river cruise for great classical music is on the Amazon, not the Danube.
A bodhran is a Norwegian flute.
The world’s largest Hot Air Balloon Festival is in Australia, and the whooshing sound you hear while riding in the basket is all the nitrogen gas filling the balloon.
Answers & Rewards
You are on the honor system. The first five people who get all the correct answers without looking them up and email those answers to me will get a reward! I will send you a $25 Giving Certificate from the nonprofit Charity Checks, great holiday gifts for travelers because they are good for any of more than 1.8 million nonprofits and let the recipient chose — they can give back to places they love. Send me your answers — Lisa@LuxuryTravelMavens.com For those who just like to know, all the answers are within pieces I’ve posted on this site.
For those who want more trivia power at your fingertips for long flights, or nights by the fire, you might want to check out my book Everything 101, with chapters on history, english, science, math, science, religion and philosophy.
Lisa TE Sonne for LuxuryTravelMavens.com
The Jellyfish photo is by © Sharon Spence Leib, travel writer and photographer, and the Whale Shark one image is courtesy of © Danny Heilprin Photography. All other images by (c) Lisa TE Sonne (Hot Air Balloon, Morocco feature image, Pierre Hotel, Manhattan, Penguin, Machu Picchu and the luxury Cave Resort.) Please get permission for any of the images for use other than this article. Thanks!