While our staff was hard at work putting together this issue of Virtuoso Life, terrorist attacks on Paris and elsewhere sent the whole world reeling. The entire Virtuoso network – comprising nearly 11,500 travel advisors in 34 countries and 1,700 travel providers around the globe – is shocked, saddened, and angered, and we grieve with the victims’ families.
Such deplorable events cast new light on what it means to travel, and why it’s important. As Mark Twain famously observed, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.” One of my goals as a parent of two teenagers is to raise them to be compassionate, understanding, and accepting of others. Travel is a sure way to do that, exposing them to the world beyond their neighborhood, where the culture, food, language, and living conditions may differ from their own. Even so, they see how similar we can be (a mother still scolds her child to behave, no matter where they are!) and how, when the unknown becomes known, we usually find it’s nothing to fear. At Virtuoso, we truly believe that boundaries divide and travel unites.
As we welcome the new year, we celebrate traveling fearlessly and encourage you to not only keep your existing travel plans, but also forge ahead with new ones. Life is short – let’s not allow terrorists to dictate how we live it. Of course, such decisions are personal, which is all the more reason to talk candidly with your Virtuoso travel advisor, who can help you assess the pros and cons, and plan anything from a close-to-home getaway to a far-flung adventure.
This issue offers both, with our annual look at where to go next. Every year we poll Virtuoso travel advisors about which destinations are on their radars (page 84). One such place is Puglia, Italy, where I recently spent a week with a group of Virtuoso’s top agency executives. Read about our incredible experience on page 22.
The world is a wonderful place, and there are so many sights to see. What are you waiting for?
At right, picturing Puglia, from top: Taking a break in Matera; hitting the road in a classic car; sunrise over Borgo Egnazia, our host hotel; and on two wheels with Virtuoso’s marketing SVP Terrie Hansen.