Passion Points: Escape
At the end of 2011, we quizzed members and staff about their favorite discoveries this year. Indagare member Liza Nugent finds peaceful bliss in Jordan, Utah and Arizona. Read more Best-of-2011 Interviews.
In anticipation of my trip this year to Jordan, I read several books by Arabic writers, and came across a lovely proverb that struck a cord: “Much travel is needed before a raw man is ripened.”
Besides my trip to Jordan with Melissa [Biggs Bradley, founder of Indagare], I also loved my trip to the Amangiri, in Utah, for completely different reasons. Visiting Jordan was an incredible experience on a variety of levels. Obviously, in terms of current affairs, it was such a gift to visit the Middle East as such historical events are taking place, all the while feeling 100% welcomed and safe. I think every Western citizen could benefit from a greater understanding of Middle Eastern culture and politics. The hospitality of the Jordanian people was incredible, and the locations were fascinating – from the busy capital of Amman, to the serenity of the Dead Sea, the awesome Bedouin style camp in the Wadi Rum Desert, to the historical sites of Petra and Jerash. I hope to return with my husband and children, and perhaps add a few days in either Beirut or Jerusalem, Inshallah! (God willing in Arabic).
In July, my husband and I spent 4 nights at the Amangiri, in Utah. The property is a stunning marvel of design, set amidst desert rocks. We rented a boat one day in the nearby Lake Powell which looks like the Grand Canyon if it were filled with water. The hotel packed a gourmet picnic basket for us and we spent the day meandering the canyons and taking swims off our boat. Back at the Amangiri,, we relaxed by the pool, took yoga classes, went on hikes with guides, and ate very well. Another major highlight was a two-hour horseback ride with two local cowboys. These guys really love what they do, and it shows. We were even serenaded as we rode back to the lodge.
I returned home from both trips completely energized by my experiences. Often after a trip to a new destination, I’m thrilled to have gone, while knowing I realistically might not ever make it back…both Jordan and the Amangiri, however, are definitely on my “must return” list.
My favorite resort of the year is also a tie. Along with the Amangiri, I would add the Mii Amo Spa in Sedona. Generally speaking, I’m not a major spa person, but Mii Amo not your typical “spa.” I was looking for a place that would be fun for a short visit with my teenage daughter, and took Melissa’s advice to check out Mii Amo. Yes, there are all of the usual spa treatments for physical restoration, but there is also a strong focus on spiritual rejuvenation. The menu of choices is extensive, and we spent hours perusing the brochure before our trip. Suffice to say, I returned home feeling recharged both physically and emotionally.
I can’t wait to take out-of-town friends on a Sidewalks of NY Tour. New York really is a city best seen on foot. This company, in addition to the usual tours of architecture, history, etc., can take you on a food tour of various neighborhoods to discover the hidden restaurant gems, sidewalk carts and food trucks. The photographer’s tour to the ideal locations for capturing those iconic NYC shots also sounds great.
This coming year, I’m looking forward to my second visit to an Explora Lodge, this time to Rapa Nui on Easter Island in celebration of my husband’s 50th birthday. I have always been fascinated with the legend of the Moai statues, and an island in the middle of the Pacific, midway between Chile and Fiji, sounds like a perfect January get-away. I am sure the combination of really cool guided explorations and the wonderful lodge, food and wine, will make for an amazing family adventure. Somehow there does seem to be a correlation between miles traveled and level of excitement!
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