In his latest column for LUX, Geoffrey Kent, founder of leading luxury travel company Abercrombie & Kent, discusses the growing interest in luxury adventure travel, recalling his own thirst for exploration and the importance of a personalised experience.
A rise in luxury adventure travel can be explained in many different ways – whether it be a desire to escape the norm, a wish to discover uncharted territories or a need to rediscover a sense of self. Whatever the reason, adventure means something different to everyone and there are some amazing opportunities out there to be experienced.
My early years in Kenya were spent exploring the Aberdares barefoot, much to my mother’s chagrin. When I was 16, I rode a Daimler Puch 250cc motorcycle from Nairobi to Cape Town and I joined the British Army in 1959 (only after I’d climbed Kilimanjaro, of course). My desire for adventure has always been the driving force in my life.
During my solo bike ride from Nairobi to Cape Town, I stayed in a five-star hotel for the first time. I then realised that any adventure is made more palatable if by night, fresh sheets, a spring mattress, security and luxury are offered.
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In recent years, more and more travel companies have taken this idea on board and their offerings will inspire anyone who looks for both luxury and adventure in their travels. There has been a sea change in what luxury adventure means. It is becoming a far more personal and involved decision. But how can we make this more different, exclusive and unique?
I recently took a group of adventurous clients into the heart of the Arctic Circle to experience the mesmerising phenomenon of the Aurora Borealis. From a wilderness lodge, each night we watched the skies for the Northern Lights. By day, we met local Sami nomads with their reindeer herds and their mystical Shamans.
For those looking to experience a complete unknown in lesser-visited places, I recommend a trip to the Indian state of Nagaland on the Myanmar border. Here, eagle-hunters and Mongol herders will introduce you to their traditional way of life, creating an understanding of their culture and customs which goes beyond any text-book description.
Read more by Geoffrey Kent: The hottest luxury travel destinations for 2018
Although it is clear that adventure travel is not reliant on adrenalin anymore, for some people adding these elements in can create a whole new level of experience. Taking control of your own desert 4×4, having received expert guidance from a former logistics officer of the Paris-Dakar Rally, could reveal Morocco to you from a completely different perspective.
All options for luxury adventure travel are open to us now. We have the expertise and knowledge to build amazing adventures in exactly the way people want to live them. A backpack and a map may promise adventure for a student but for a time-poor customer, combining the unknown or the unexpected with knowledge and seamless logistics makes the experience accessible.
Adventure travel is a step into the unknown. Add luxury and you are making it a transformative experience with personalised service. But it is also so much more – experiences you never dreamed of, sights you never expected to see, like the beauty of a silent sunrise in Iceland or the inexplicable phenomenon of the Northern Lights.
Life is richer and deeper with these experiences. Holidays should always enrich our lives – however we personally choose to make that happen.