I have always been intrigued by the idea of flying around the world in a private jet to check off must-see spots on one’s bucket list. However, when I’ve received brochures about this type of travel the info is usually in the form of descriptive copy and photos of the tours. For example, the number of passengers per tour, how many days each tour takes, where the tour goes, what one will experience, and finally, the cost per person.
Photo: Courtesy of Travel & Leisure
Then I got lucky when I came across a terrific piece in Travel & Leisure written by a talented travel writer named Jancee Dunn who actually went on a lavish private-jet, 25-day, fast-moving tour that kicked off in Seattle and made its way through Kyoto, Japan; Hoi An, Vietnam and the Maldives. Dunn joined the group in Kigali, Rwanda on DAY NINE when it was heading for a gorilla-trekking expedition in Volcanoes National Park.
HER FIRST TIME FLYING BY PRIVATE JET
She admits that friends had warned her to brace herself, saying that the experience would give her a tantalizing and, frankly, painful glimpse of what air travel feels like in a perfect world. They were correct.
Dunn first realized this when her seatmate said, “May I have seconds? This sandwich is really great.” She notes that she had never heard someone make a request like this on a plane before. Her seatmate’s delicious sandwich was courtesy of onboard chef, Kerry Sear. He had created this chicken sandwich with a yogurt-cucumber dressing and fresh herbs.
TCS WORLD TRAVEL STRIVES FOR EXCELLENCE
On this $100,000-per-person trip, passengers were, for the first and only time, joined by TCS president Shelley Cline, who had picked her dream itinerary. She told Dunn that her clients choose a private-round-the-world journey so they can see as many places on their bucket list as they can, in a short period of time and in comfort.
After a presentation about Rwanda, passengers flitted around, cocktails in hand – a buzzing party in the air. Nine hours feels like six on a private-jet flight, say those in the know. Dunn reports that she was beginning to see why. Early on, her mother texted, “Are they friendly?” And she replied, “Yes, the vibe is marvelous. We’re all clad in the same athleisure clothing, having received matching jackets in our complimentary Tumi suitcases. There is little one-upmanship. After all, everyone is in the same 0.001% -- so why bother?
ONE OF DUNN’S FAVORITE ASPECTS OF THIS TOUR
First and foremost, she notes that all the annoyances of travel were smoothly eliminated: at least 20 smiling TCS staffers were on hand at every airport. “Even those annoying customs cards were filled out for us in advance.” (The total staff on the tour, from start to finish, numbers around 500.)
Another TCS calling card is having moments of “surprise and delight.” For example: in Rio a private breakfast at the foot of the Christ the Redeemer statute as dawn broke over Corcovado Mountain was offered. Another TCS tour that included Namibia went even further. On the way to the hotel, guests were transferred to waiting dune buggies. Then camels came on the scene bearing baskets of fluted glasses and, get this: A TEAM OF SKYDIVERS DESCENDED with bottles of champagne. Unbelievable!
Toucan – a tropical fruit-eating bird with a massive bill and brightly colored plumage that is found in Brazil
Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic
A NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC EXPEDITION
I also received a private jet tour brochure from National Geographic that began in Washington, DC; went down to the Panama Canal, Lima Peru, over to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and on to Patagonia at the tip of South America. It returned back up to Cartagena, Columbia and finally ended in Miami, Florida.
Traditional boats in Lake Titicaca, Peru – located in the Andes – it is the “highest navigable lake” in the world
Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic
The route of the National Geographic private jet tour – from Washington, DC to Patagonia and back up to Miami, Florida
Map: Courtesy of National Geographic
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On November 1, 2019, I decided to visit MoMA on 53rd Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues to see the final result of this stupendous project that opened for all to see on October 21st. Frankly, I was amazed at the number of people who showed up. After all, it was a Friday afternoon at 4:00 pm. People should be at work – or at school I thought. Or, was it because this was the day after Halloween? Obviously, I’m a bit out of it because MoMA was like Times Square on New Year’s Eve – but not quite. Everyone was very well behaved and incredibly focused and interested in the art.
On Tuesday, October 8, 2019 – the first day of Yom Kippur – we headed out to our favorite Kips Bay Theatre (2nd Avenue and 31st Street) for a 6:20 pm showing of Downton Abbey. Kips Bay currently has a terrific deal: If one signs up for an “Insider” card (it’s free) you can see a first run movie at any time during the day or night on Tuesdays for $6.00 – which is pretty incredible. Or, paraphrasing The Godfather, I’d say, “That’s an offer we couldn’t refuse.”
I sometimes think that I’ve been sleeping on Ralph Lauren’s bedding, wearing his apparel and buying his shirts for hubby – my entire life. I don’t know how he does it, but I’ve never bought a single thing of his that I didn’t love. He hits it out of the park every time.
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