I'm 30 today. You couldn't pay me enough money to go back to my 20's. I am living in the best city in the world, building a career I love. I have an amazing little family of my own, the best siblings ever and wonderful friends. There are challenges, struggles and moments where I think "Why am I doing this?" But they don't last long.
There are moments in travel where I have been very aware that I needed to remember how I felt, because it wouldn't come again. The feeling of being totally content.
So many of my memorable travel moments involve hotels - magical hotels that allowed me to be someone else for a night. And every single one involves someone else, either someone I met along the way or someone I already knew. This list isn't about the number of flight delays, homesick nights, tearful calls, colds on the road, fainting on an overnight flight, lost luggage, stolen money, and so on. This is about the magic of travel and how lucky I've been to experience so much.
What's next? Africa, I hope. Scotland. Antarctica. More of the Caribbean. Paris, London and Rome always. South America. Hong Kong & Singapore. The South Pacific. Some cute little babies to carry along on the adventure. And more time at home in New York.
In no order at all....
- Ordering the most perfect pasta pomodoro and a bellini from the Hotel Cipriani in Venice and sitting on my outdoor patio near the famous pool. I miss the Cipriani always.
- Meeting Dr. Ho, a famous Chinese herbalist and doctor, on my Abercrombie & Kent tour in the Yunnan Province of China
- Having the best paella on a Sunday in Valencia at La Matandeta Alfafar (close second to seeing the City of Arts & Sciences lit up at night)
- Walking Star Castle's Garrison Hill walk in the Isles of Scilly 28 miles off the coast of Cornwall
- Every night at the Old Seelbach Bar, one of those classic hotel bars, at The Seelbach Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky during my brother's wedding
- Fondue with a view of the Matterhorn at Restaurant Blatten in Zermatt
- Stopping at the Black Sand Beach off the Road to Hana with my sister on our trip to Maui - as perfect as the view from our room at the Four Seasons in Maui
- Sunset and a glass of wine at Shutters on the Beach in Santa Monica
- Having coffee and sacher torte at Hotel Sacher in Vienna - so beautiful
- My first trip to the Hamptons - dinner at Vine Street Cafe on Shelter Island, fruit from Round Swamp Farm, lobster rolls at Duryea, the Montauk Point Lighthouse, the best beaches in the entire world, rose wine at Wolffer Estate Vineyards
- Camping Out in Wadi Rum in Jordan - like nowhere else on Earth and most appropriately described as looking like the surface of Mars or the moon
- Having the best view of Shanghai from my room at the Waldorf-Astoria - the best sense of place!
- Meeting Andy in Paris on our 1st anniversary in 2004: He was 22, I was 21. I was studying in Vienna, he was working in London and we had no money. Now we've been together 9 years, but I will never forget literally meeting under the Eiffel Tower to celebrate our one-year anniversary. Neither of us had phones and I can't believe we found each other under the Eiffel Tower, which is massive, but we did.
- Opening the window in my room at the Hotel Ritz Madrid in Spain and having a view of the Prado Museum
- Taking The Gondola at Heavenly every year when we went to Lake Tahoe for those most spectacular view over the lake
- Getting tired of eating out in Aspen and instead going to the grocery store and using the great kitchen at Aspen Square Condominiums - eating by the fireplace
- Afternoon tea at The Goring Hotel in London and touring The Royal Suite, where Kate Middleton stayed the night before the wedding
- Sipping coffee at the restaurant on Oak Creek at L'Auberge de Sedona, Arizona
- Holding a koala at the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, Australia
- My private tour and interview with Lady Carnarvon at Highclere Castle, aka Downton Abbey. It was the last day of a two-week England trip and unbelievable to be walking around Highclere alone.
- The first glimpse of the Taj Mahal in India - absolutely beyond anything imagined - and then seeing how every room at The Oberoi Amarvilas has a view of it
- Zip-lining at Witch's Rock Canopy Tour in Costa Rica and coming back to my plunge pool at the Four Seasons in Costa Rica
- The perfect day in Moscow - private guide, photos in Red Square, room at the Ritz-Carlton and stopping at Cafe Pushkin
- Having a killer bee at Sunshine's in Nevis before dinner at the Four Seasons
- Lobster rolls at dusk on my first visit to The Sagamore on Lake George - cool air & the smell of pine trees
- Walking across the Golden Gate Bridge for the first time in San Francisco - I'd driven over it many times but walking across was an entirely different and awesome experience
- Falling in love with New Orleans - Magazine Street, live music, the streetcar, beignets and muffulettas
- Riding snowmobiles to dinner at The Crystal Hut on top of Whistler/Blackcomb in British Coumbia
- Touring Middleton Place in Charleston with the direct descendent to the Middletons - and then seeing the hard-packed beach at Kiawah Island for the first time - nothing like it!
- Driving the moving van into New York after a fun road trip through Memphis, Nashville, Raleigh & D.C. - with everything we owned and getting the keys to our first NYC apartment from our broker on the street - knowing it was the best decision ever!