After writing this morning's post on Travel Options for Lottery Winners, I began having second thoughts during the walk to work.
That kind of high-maintenance luxury travel has its charms, doesn't it? On the other hand, though, each of those high-dollar programs is essentially a "rush in, rush out" bus tour dressed up in fancy clothes. Admittedly, those are some very nice buses, and they stop in very nice places, and your travel companions would be very well-heeled. But is that how I'd want to travel, if price and time were eliminated as obstacles?
This is more how I'd like us to travel. First, I'd probably use an agent to find a spacious, furnished home in Chiang Mai -- something that would take advantage of the mountain breezes. A good local chef and a smart local housekeeper would likely be the only staff we'd need -- except, perhaps, for a reliable driver.
We'd linger there, exploring the temples, enjoying the local restaurants, and generally settling in. After a week or two, we'd look for a similar setup somewhere in Laos. After we felt comfortable there, we'd probably head up to Burma. In every place, the approach would be the same: a reasonable, comfortable house ... a good salary for reliable local helpers ... an emphasis on exploring each location through soaking up the local color, historic sites, and cuisine at a leisurely pace, with our time there dictated by our own sense of when it's time to go (instead of by a pre-defined schedule).
After a month or so in Bangkok visiting Bobby and other old friends, why not go on to New Zealand and take our time exploring the north and south islands on our own, by car? After a week or two with Tony and Marlene at the Eden Park B&B in Auckland, we could set out on our own, making the most of every little village we encountered along the way. And when that loop was done in a month or three, why not head on down to Australia, to get a feel for what it would be like to actually live in Sydney for a month or so ... and to take a trip out to see Uluru in the light of the rising sun?
We've not had much time in Europe during warm weather, so when spring came to the northern hemisphere, it might be nice to revisit some of our favorite destinations (and head out to some new possible favorites in Spain and Italy). The template's the same: get a house. Get a small staff. Enjoy local food. Fly in some friends. Have time to get a feel for a place, to know our way around the neighborhood, to know where to get the best cup of coffee, the best fresh bread, the best candle-lit dinner with the best plate of handmade pasta and fresh vegetables ...
And from there: the world awaits. Free from the constrains of money and schedules, we could go, and do, and be ... and wherever we were, if Clyde were with me, I'd be at home.
For me? That's luxury travel.