Staff Picks: Unforgettable Experiences March 14th, 2021 • by Matt Holmes While paused at the moment, our team of travel experts regularly sets out to research potential destinations and scout new trips, working to ensure that new itineraries are thoughtfully curated, field-tested, and seamlessly planned before the first tour departs! Sometimes we join a departure of an existing tour to ensure the itinerary is still as awesome as it was when we developed the trip. And upon returning from personal adventures, we regale our colleagues with our stories. As you might expect, we each have a catalog of unforgettable memories in our head, but some truly stand out above others. Michelle, Destination Manager: “Hiša Franko, Slovenia’s first Michelin-starred restaurant (they have two!), was listed by Travel + Leisure as one of the world’s 30 best restaurants. Chef-owner Ana Ros, known from Netflix’s Chef’s Table, was named world’s best female chef in 2017. A meal here may be a highlight of your life!”Slovenia & Croatia: Alps, Istria, & Dalmatia Hiking Emily, Destination Manager: “Exploring southern Spain is a history-lover’s dream—Jurassic Age fossils, pre-historic megalithic structures, Roman settlements, medieval fortresses and Arab baths, Renaissance churches, and the 14th-century Moorish palace of Alhambra. The panoply of sites is astonishing.”Spain & Morocco: Granada to Fes Walking Karen, Africa Specialist: “As the largest unbroken and non-flooded caldera in the world, the Ngorongoro Crater is a breathtaking wonder. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to over 25,000 species, endangered animals such as the Black Rhino, and over 500 types of birds. The vastness is beautiful and humbling”Tanzania: Great Migration Safari Kristen, Destination Manager: “The only place in the world (as far as I know) where you can swim with non-stinging jellyfish is in Palau. Floating gently in the lake, equipped with a mask and snorkel, touching stingless jellies as they bob along in the lagoon was totally surreal. A truly special experience.”Palau: Snorkeling & Kayaking Odyssey Katya, Marketing Manager: “In college, I studied the Biltmore in an architecture class, so it was exciting to walk through the lavish and vast interior, envisioning what it was like to live there. It is still the largest privately-owned house in America, and we spend 5 nights at the Inn on the estate on our new North Carolina: Blue Ridge Mountains Hiking Deborah, Destination Manager: “I’ve had the opportunity to see the stunning Northern Lights several times, but the best experience was enjoying expansive views of “nature’s night lights” from the comfort of my own cozy, glass-roofed, woodland cabin. It was epic, especially since the cabin also had a private sauna!”Finland: Exploring Arctic Lapland My pick is Bhutan. There’s really no other destination in the world quite like it. Long isolated from the world, the country has opened to travelers with a deliberate focus on preserving its pristine environment and unique culture. Those lucky enough to visit often say it changed their life, including myself. Although we haven’t traveled in a while, we are still adding to our list of places to explore, cultures to encounter, trails to hike, and foods to sample. And I hope your list has grown as well!