What’s at the top of the Signature team’s bucket list?
Here at Signature Media, we spend our work days immersed in the world of luxury travel. So what experiences make it into our ultimate bucket list?
An around-the-world journey by private jet
Cathy Wagstaff – CEO & Group Editor
I’ve always loved the idea of jetting across the globe and staying in private decadence. Top of my list is the Four Season Private Jet Experience, which pairs an exclusive inflight experience with accommodation at its flagship hotels around the world. The Four Seasons’ custom Boeing 757 is fitted out with the same elegance and flair that marks its hotels around the globe: handcrafted Italian leather seats, 78 inches of personal space and the signature Four Seasons service complete with an onboard concierge and Dom Pérignon at your beck and call. A one-of-a-kind experience unlike anything I’ve done before.
Scale the heights of Mount Kilimanjaro
Tina-Louise Jackson – Director of Partnerships
There are few mountains you can summit at 5,895 metres without ropes. There are fewer still with the fascinating history, daredevil allure and incredible views of Tanzania’s Kilimanjaro. As the world’s tallest free-standing mountain, the arduous trek to the top of this behemoth represents the ultimate challenge for many an adventure seeker, myself included. These days, you don’t even have to rough it to make it to the top, with Adventure Consultants offering a ‘glamping experience’ complete with heated mess tents, Western guides and walk-in sleeping tents with beds, showers and toilets.
Spot the big five in South Africa
Morgan Jones – Production Manager
Spotting Africa’s big five in their natural habitat would be an unforgettable experience on its own; doing it in five-star style would be even more memorable: afternoons spent leisurely spotting wildlife from an open-top jeep, searching for the endangered black rhinoceros on foot with an expert ranger, or observing the daily lives of local communities with Africa Foundation. Come dusk, I would meander to the exclusive-use andBeyond Phinda Homestead – complete with dedicated ranger, tracker team, butler and private chef – and spend the evening lazing on the sundeck or indulging in an African-style feast held in the open-air boma.
Explore the surreal landscapes of Bolivia
Aleney de Winter – Editor of Holidays with Kids magazine
The Southern Hemisphere’s highest and most isolated nation, Bolivia has been at the top of my bucket list for many years. Home to some of the oldest, warmest, windiest and steamiest spots in the world, Bolivia boasts everything from bone-dry deserts to high alpine lakes, in addition to incredible art, music and cuisine. I’m dying to explore the sandstone spires of the Valley of the Moon, the surreal salt flats of Uyuni and the otherworldly landscape of the Atacama Desert, the driest place on earth. Not to mention the lush Bolivian Amazon and sacred Lake Titicaca.
A luxury expedition cruise to Alaska
Cara Wagstaff – Associate Publisher
Composed of wide open spaces, jagged mountains, infinite tundra and glittering lakes, Alaska is one of the world’s final frontiers. The ‘Interior Passage’ along the southeast coast has been sculpted by Mother Nature’s most formidable elements – vertiginous fjords and gigantic glaciers – and an expedition cruise with Ponant Yacht Cruises & Expeditions, sailing past some of the world’s most active volcanoes and spotting bald eagles, grizzly bears, sea otters, orcas and sea lions, would be experiencing Earth at its most dramatic.
Experience the enormity of the Himalayas
Gareth Sutcliffe – Sales team
Home to the highest peaks on the planet, the mountains, valleys and glaciers of Nepal are forever calling to my inner adventurer. With Mount Everest dominating at 8,848 metres, the absolute awe of experiencing the enormity of this practically insurmountable landscape would be the ultimate: pushing my limits to the test on the Everest Base Camp Trek or the Annapurna Circuit, spending my down time with the locals living in the small, mountainside villages and tasting some of that famous northern Nepalese apple pie, all accompanied by an expert guide from Remote Lands.
Ascending and descending Col du Tourmalet on two wheels
Guy Dundas – Editor of LATTE
As an avid cyclist, the Pyrenees scenery on the border of France and Spain has long beckoned. The 17-kilometre Col du Tourmalet is the highest paved mountain pass in the region, frequently visited during the Tour de France. But I’ll need to drop 20 kilos first to make it fun!
Snowboard the mountains of Portillo
Lisa Wagstaff – Digital Manager
Chile’s Portillo, located in the middle of the Cordillera, is legendary among skiiers and snowboarders for a number of reasons: the first South American resort to host the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships; the location where the US, Norwegian, Austrian and Canadian ski teams typically train every August; and its treeless, intimidatingly vertical Andean terrain, just to name a few. Even in photographs it radiates an almost insurmountable aura and has become somewhat of a pilgrimage for die-hard snow-goers. I could think of nothing more satisfying than a day spent mastering its colossal slopes, then rewarding myself with a soak in its mountainside spa.
Spot polar bears in Manitoba
Gemma Kightly – Head Designer
With how quickly the world is changing due to global warming, I would love to spot the polar bears in Churchill in northern Canada with my own eyes. The ever-present threat of climate change is making me reconsider my travel choices – I want to see wildlife destinations and natural landscapes that may not be around in years to come.
Be immersed in Iran’s culture
Amelia Hungerford – Assistant Editor of Signature Luxury Travel & Style
Iran has been my answer to this question for years. I want to experience for myself a place that has a polarising reputation. I want to learn the language and speak with traders in the bazaar and young people in coffee shops. I want to be awed by the beauty of Isfahan, pay my respects to the poet Hafez in Shiraz and ski on the slopes of Dizin outside Tehran. I want to be educated in a culture vastly different from my own and come away with an understanding of the similarities between people. If travel is about forging connections and fostering mutual respect in the face of difference, I can think of no place that embodies this more to me than Iran.
Witness the Northern Lights in Iceland
Samantha Rowntree – Digital Content Manager
To me, the Northern Lights have always sounded like the most spectacular show on Earth. A mysterious, multi-coloured phenomenon where the night sky lights up like a heavenly lava lamp – what could be cooler? To witness Mother Nature in all her elusive, ethereal glory – I hope – would be both a humbling and uplifting experience, and something that would stay with me forever.
A rock and roll cruise with all the trimmings
Howard Shaw – Sales team
My dream holiday would have to be spending a summer on a super-yacht cruising around the Greek Islands, with a gourmet chef on board and a good assortment of boys’ toys: jet skis, underwater submarine, a helicopter for jaunts to shore … you know, the usual. Entertainment would, of course, have to be provided by the Rolling Stones. And if I could time travel, then Pink Floyd would be a welcome alternative if Mick Jagger couldn’t make it.
Time travel to the 1950s in Cuba
Natarsha Brown – Digital Content Editor
With the dawn of globalisation, it sometimes seems impossible to find a place truly secret, hidden or untouched by modern life and all its trappings. For more than 50 years Cuba has lived in seclusion from the Western world and I’ve always imagined entering Havana would feel like I was being transported back to the 1950s: vintage Cadillacs, colonial-era pastel houses, salsa dancing until the early hours and locals puffing on hand-rolled cigars on cobbled street corners. At the moment it’s all change in Cuba, and I desperately want to make it there while it remains somewhat suspended in time.
Marvel at the history of the Great Pyramids of Giza
Andrew Woodward – Editorial Assistant
I’ve had a lifelong fascination with Ancient Egypt, so to see the colossal, millennia-old structures of the Great Pyramids of Giza in person would thrill my inner child. Ideally, I’d like to take in these wonders of the ancient world from the deck of a felucca while drifting down the Nile.
Walk a path of enlightenment in Bhutan
Hilary Doling – Editor of Five Star Kids
Bhutan has been on my bucket list for a very long time; somehow it’s one of those places I’ve never quite managed to get to. There is something about high mountain destinations that has always appealed to me, as if up there, in the rarefied air, people get their values right. Or maybe it is being in the shadow of all those magnificent peaks that makes us realise how insignificant we really are. I fondly remember being blessed by a monk on the edge of a deep valley in Tibet and somehow I imagine similar moments await me here. Certainly, a country that has a GNH (Gross National Happiness scale) rather than a GDP has to be worth visiting. Most of all, I want to climb the cliff-clinging path to Paro Taktsang monastery above the forested Paro Valley and experience the swirling colours and sounds of the Thimphu Tsechu festival. Now that Six Senses has opened its new lodges in the land of the Thunder Dragon, there’s one more reason to go.
Understand adventure in Antarctica
Nicola McClean – Media Consultant
The chance to venture where so few others have has always sounded so dangerous and exciting to me, so a grand voyage to Antarctica on board Silversea’s Silver Explorer has to be my number one. The crashing icebergs, vast ice floes and unpredictable – and perhaps treacherous – conditions will undoubtedly show me what real adventure looks like. And, of course, the wildlife: where else in the world can you see baleen whales floating just beneath the surface, stand among colonies of penguins and dart between ice caps sprinkled with lazing seals?
Experience the colours of India
Andrew Conway – Executive Editor of Signature Luxury Travel & Style
A luxury tour of India, a place like nowhere else on Earth, with Abercrombie & Kent would be an incomparable experience. New and Old Delhi for its ancient and colonial architecture; Agra for the iconic Taj Mahal; Varanasi for its extraordinary ghats on the River Ganges; Ranthambore National Park to see its elusive tigers; Jaipur for its rich history; Udaipur for the iconic Lake Palace; and Jodhpur, Jaisalmer and Bikaner in the colourful and exotic desert state of Rajasthan.
Revel in the isolation of Patagonia
Zac de Silva – Editorial Assistant
Covering glaciers, alpine lakes and snow-capped peaks, the O Circuit in Patagonia’s Torres del Paine National Park would the pinnacle of adventure for me. Lugging a fully loaded backpack for eight days through rugged terrain may sound like the opposite of a holiday for some, but for me, the remoteness is what I find most alluring. I want to feel what it’s like to live in a world almost untouched by humans, where Mother Nature’s unpredictability makes every day as daring as the last.