"I haven't been everywhere, but it's on my list." ― Susan Sontag
Last week was incredibly busy - and exciting! I attended a stellar Virtuoso travel conference called Ready, Reset, Go! with fellow Virtuoso travel advisors and supplier partners. I happily filled my days from 6:45 AM to 10:30 PM to meet virtually with colleagues in time zones near and very, very far. One of the great things about working remotely is having the shortest commute ever after long days like that, and a quick commute in the morning - right to the kitchen for Nespresso fuel. I met one-on-one with top executives (owners, C-suite, VPs, sales managers, etc.) from Delta, United, tour operators, hoteliers, cruise lines, and service providers in New Zealand, South Africa, Portugal, Italy, Croatia, Slovenia, Greece, France, Mexico, Canada, across the U.S., and all across the globe. The last time we met like this was back in August for Virtuoso's annual conference, and the tone this time was lighter, optimistic, and forward thinking - full of plans for the great travel rebound upon us.
One of the most exciting announcements of the week was from the awesome river cruise line Avalon Waterways (with the coolest cabins, beds face out to your panorama window - pictured above). Avalon just launched a celebrity Storytellers Series of cruises hosted by some incredible writers: Diana Gabaldon (Outlander), Candace Bushnell (Sex in the City), Cheryl Strayed (Wild), Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl), Christopher Moore (comic fantasy novelist), and Edwin McCain (singer-songwriter). Pretty spectacular line-up, right? Do you have a book club who wants to vacation together? A group of friends who want to sip Cosmos on the Sienne with Candace Bushnell in Paris? Gather your like-minded friends, and I'll get you a great group offer! CLICK HERE for sailing dates. Who can you gather for a group vacation to sail through Europe with one of these famous storytellers? Let me know!
I always prioritize meetings with companies who take the best care of my clients (like Avalon!) because we're your personal advocates for all aspects of any trip you book through Nine Muses Travel. Then I balance my schedule with meetings about places and products I want to learn more about. For example, I loved discovering where monarch butterflies go in Mexico and how to visit monarch sanctuaries during their migration. I was so inspired hearing more about the enchanting artist enclave of nearby San Miguel de Allende that now I'm dreaming of a monarch migration trip to include San Miguel de Allende. If I created a small group trip to Mexico just for Nine Muses, would you join me?
As I continue on my wellness and weight loss journey, I was eager to meet with Backroads because I envision taking more active trips in the future with walks and hikes, and I learned my current fitness level is already just fine for one of their trips! Another awesome takeaway was with Holland America Line, basically my favorite ocean cruise line company because of their excellent food, onboard talks (I nerd out on vacation whenever possible), and live music partnerships with Lincoln Center Stage, BB King's Blues Club, and Rolling Stone. Holland America is now offering a package that includes WiFi, drinks, excursion, and specialty dining - in one, easy discounted price, making it so much simpler to add these things that everybody wants, similar to an all-inclusive option.
I heard about interesting hotel tidbits too like how you can stay at Andaz 5th Avenue across the street from our famed New York Public Library and use the hotel's lending library of seasonally curated books from NYPL - and enjoy the hotel's collection of NYC-based artists. Other hotels with noteworthy art collections include Napa Valley's Bardessono Hotel & Spa, which is essentially an art gallery where you can purchase pieces found on property, plus MoMA neighbors Baccarat Hotel New York and The Peninsula New York.
On more meetings last week than even seems possible, I was heartened and optimistic for the future of travel. Like me, my colleagues around the world have been busy this last year, making use of the down time to strengthen their business with tenacity, creativity (lots of new itineraries are in the works everywhere!), and an indefatigable passion for travel, hospitality, and sincere cultural connections. On every continent, an amazing network of professionals is waiting to welcome Nine Muses Travel clients!
I design journeys to inspire artists, arts lovers, and intellectually curious travelers seeking authentic arts, culture, history, and cuisine for life-changing, joyful discoveries with special insider access and amenities, all over the world!
Founder & President