"Global Nomad believes travel is healing and makes every trip a spirit-moving experience."
Lorenzo Urra of Global Nomad says serenely. “It’s one of my favorite quotations from Confucius,” he explains. And it just about sums up what Global Nomad, the travel-design firm, can do for the world-weary traveler.
“There is a revolution at the top end of luxury travel,” Urra says, now with a knowing smile. “It’s now all about discernment—and curating your travel experience.”
Curating meant the “curing of souls” in the original Latin, and it gives us a hint as to what Global Nomad is about.
“There are still plenty of creature comforts but the idea is to create a journey so one can come back inspired to face the world with a much better outlook and deeper appreciation of life. It’s the concept of travel as healing,” says Urra.
We want to create an experience one would never see as an ordinary tourist, planning a trip by oneself on the Internet, or with the standard travel agency’s services.
Step one, of course, is to reconnect with your self. And that is, according to Lorenzo, to be found in a childhood wish list, perhaps a memory from a beloved bedtime story or an idyllic setting from a favorite book or film.
Step two is finding the perfect backdrop. “There is nothing like seeing something compellingly beautiful. In that split-second, as you turn to your loved ones in reciprocal awe, time stops. You know instinctively that moment has changed all of you forever.”
To most Filipino travelers, the unknown does not have many lures. “But,” Urra says, “that’s because we prefer destinations which we know well. I like to think we coax people out of their comfort zones, the usual five-star hotels in the usual big cities, and open the door to a totally new experience that they can discover themselves. We want to create an experience one would never see as an ordinary tourist, planning a trip by oneself on the Internet, or with the standard travel agency’s services. It takes attention to detail that can only come from experts from that destination. It does count for a lot when recommending remote or exotic places to discerning travelers.”
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Hot air balloons flying above Bagan, Myanmar
An uncommon voyage to Antarctica
“We have preconceived notions about places such as Lebanon, that it is ‘unsafe’, and most travelers don’t have a good roadmap for a real cultural adventure,” says Urra. Global Nomad takes the guesswork (and stress) out of a dream vacation, whether it’s sailing down the Amazon, or following the Silk Road, or finding a wilderness cowboy ranch in Montana. (The term for this is “glamping” or “glamour-camping”.) The company’s seasoned travel specialists, with a taste for extraordinary travel, have the know-how to make it happen with seamless efficiency.
We do visit world cities such as Paris and Rome, or Prague and St. Petersburg, but with a very different perspective, depending always on our guest’s passions.
Global Nomad has a shortlist of stunning locations, away from the well-trodden tourist path, that allows you “to focus and see yourself with a clarity of vision.” Lorenzo is quick to say, “We do visit world cities such as Paris and Rome, or Prague and St. Petersburg, but with a very different perspective, depending always on our guest’s passions.”
The Philippines' own Palawan
Urra brims with ideas to make any trip a spirit-moving experience. “Imagine that you are planning a pilgrimage to the Vatican. Why not consider a private visit to the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel, with a Renaissance historical expert to explain its beauty in detail, sans the usual gaggle of tourist crowds? Fancy yourself a foodie? Then a side trip for a week’s culinary experience in Tuscany may be the ticket. We’re not just talking cooking lessons but you’ll be guided by chefs through village markets and learn authentic heirloom recipes, using the freshest farm-to-table ingredients, and prepared in your private villa. On the other hand,” Urra continues, “you may want to re-live a scene from your favorite movie, like The African Queen on a stylish boat on the Zambezi river, Love in the Time of Cholera in the Peruvian Amazon, or float down jade-colored waters straight out of The Painted Veil in Guilin, China. You can also do a James Bond and heli-ski the Dolomites or Swiss Alps.”
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It’s been scientifically proven that people who take vacations add years to their lives.
Imagine scenes from your dream vacation, selected, revealed and often cunningly juxtaposed, says Urra. That would be the work of Global Nomad when it delivers the “authentic”. He says, “Quite simply, will your travel transform you? You can be anywhere in the world, from the edge of the Sahara to the top of Machu Picchu, and it’s not the extravagant amenities, nor your stylish accommodations, nor the private butler service that will resonate with you. What you will take to your grave is the scent of herb gardens planted outside your window, as you overlook the valley gorge in the High Atlas in Morocco, or the outline of a Bedouin on a camel in the sand dunes, without another soul in sight.”
A dessert in Morrocco
An unforgettable glamping experience in Tanzania
In a time and age when the greatest luxury is peace of mind, Global Nomad can put together a journey to the Kingdom of Bhutan, for instance, through the mist-shrouded country by bicycle or on horseback and camel—or in four-wheel drives. “We can also visit ashrams and lamaseries to learn how to meditate alongside monks, or stay in stylish but thoroughly authentic ‘yurts’ attended by actual yak herders.” Urra also recommends the barren plains of Mongolia or flying through the Skeleton Coast over West Africa for rebooting overwhelmed psyches. “It’s been scientifically proven that people who take vacations add years to their lives,” he exclaims.
Bhutan's sacred Tiger's Nest
It’s “heartware over hardware,” he maintains. Yoga retreats at the foothills of Rishikesh in the Himalayas, perhaps a well-appointed, pressurized train from Beijing to Tibet, are just a few of Global Nomad’s travel ideas to slow down the pace and reconnect. “Pampering and overly luxurious indulgences are passé,” Urra says, adding, “It’s wellness, in and out.”