Punta Arenas, Chile ~ Ok, let me begin by admitting, I am addicted to “Experiential Travel,” and I believe I am not alone. For those of you who are not familiar with this current phrase that’s sweeping across the travel universe, please permit me to explain. Experiential travel is a trend in tourism (also known as immersion travel) which focuses on experiencing a country, city or particular place by connecting to its history, people and culture. It is about valuing the experiences you actually have versus what you’re being told you should be having as described in the travel brochures. For example, everyone who travels to Paris normally stands in the incredibly long lines just to get into the Musée du Louvre, only to find more long lines and crowds just to get a glimpse of their favorite works of art. Well, how about sitting on the bench along the River Seine and observing a local artist paint the iconic vista of the Eiffel Tower reigning over the magnificent City of Lights? I’ve even discovered a few who are more than happy to explain their art and share their deep passion for their city.
It’s a fact. We’re all different, we all enjoy different things and our travel choices should be reflective of our respective passions and interests. Well, lucky for me and my ESCAPESEEKER team, we thrive on finding the unexpected, and seek out travel experiences that are truly a cut above the rest. That brings me to my latest report– Our Bucket List, Cruise Expedition to the “End of the World” on board the m/s Stella Australis! I would tell you what Bucket List # it is–but my list has grown so long, that I’ve honestly lost count–clearly indicative of my travel-passion-driven life!
The Australis Is No Ordinary Cruise
Once you’re on board the Australis, and after you settle in to your comfortable staterooms with its big picture windows, you’ll be introduced to numerous nature guides–extremely knowledgeable Chilean natives who have come to know every corner of this pristine region of Chilean Patagonia. They can retell its unique history in such a captivating way. They make it come alive. Each night, they’ll enthusiastically recap all of the various daily adventures they have strategically lined up for you–but here’s where the Experiential travel kicks in. Now matter how well designed/scripted the excursions are–you realize the real MAGIC in the entire expedition experience is that at the end of the day, it is Mother Nature who is the real the boss. Mother Nature is also ever present, driving the WOW FACTOR and delighting at every turn. You’ll witness ancient glaciers as we pass Glacier Alley suddenly calving right before your eyes, as it thunders down the mountain and lands into the frigid Patagonian waters.
Observing the Magellanic penguins, also known as Spheniscus magellanicus–which reside exclusively in the southern hemisphere– from our special zodiacs is an unforgettable experience. Forget my annual pilgrimage to the Cannes Film Festival, for this has now become my favorite “Black-Tie” event!
It is the most numerous of the Spheniscus penguins. Its nearest relatives are the African, the Humboldt and the Galapagos penguins. The Magellanic penguin was named after Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan, who spotted the birds in 1520.
The guides continually impart their knowledge while we observe, clicking away with our cameras. My favorite factoid about the Magellanic penguins–they mate with the same partner year after year. The male reclaims his burrow from the previous year and waits to reconnect with his female partner. The females are able to recognize their mates through their call alone. Now that’s what I call true love!
It not unusual to hear the Captain announce, “I recommend passengers come up to the open deck or if you prefer to be indoors, the Darwin Lounge, and remember to bring your cameras as we’ve spotted some native whales enjoying the sunset as much as we are. Take a look for yourselves!”
Speaking of sunsets–that’s my other addiction–glorious daily sunsets that just make you gasp! If you lack gratitude in any way shape or form–I promise that by the time you disembark–your heart will be overflowing with gratitude for this tremendous planet of ours…for the gift of sight…for the gift of life…and let me not forget…for the gift of forging new friendships…because you’ll quickly discover that almost every nation is represented on the Australis guests list. Can you imagine discovering that there are people from other countries, from varied cultures, speaking foreign languages, but who absolutely share your same passion for our universe? I should warn you–you will wish you could take them home after the cruise is through because all of a sudden all these strangers will begin to feel like your family! You hike together…you compare photos and stories…you break bread together and raise a glass or two to your wondrous lives…and close each day as if it’s Christmas Eve…knowing that the morning light brings yet another adventure…scripted by Mother Nature…and chances are very good, it’s another series of “Pinch Me Moments.”
This is Experiential travel at its finest! It is up to you to determine how much mind-expansion you’re willing to allow; how much soul-enrichment you’re open to; and equally important, how much room is there in your heart to embrace new friendships with kind, engaging people you’ve discovered are not so different from you after all. These are all the reasons I am addicted to #travel. I hope you’ ll follow in our ESCAPESEEKER footsteps. It is as easy as clicking on the following link with your right thumb! www.australis.com
And, just one more requests, be sure you write me (email@example.com) and tell me how amazing your experience is ok? Let’s definitely compare notes!
I cannot wait to return to capture the Australis Expedition Experience in all its splendor on film as I return on October 3-10th with my entire talented film crew! As a journalist and TV host of the ESCAPESEEKER Travel Series, nothing brings me greater #joy than to share our travel discoveries with the rest of the world. Honestly, it multiplies the #joyoftravel 10-fold!
Here’s to Blissful, Endless ESCAPES!
And, remember, no matter where you go, be the kindest person you know!
Notes: How to get there: From the USA, we traveled via LAN AIRLINES: www.lan.com from Miami (MIA) to Santiago (SCL) to Punta Arenas (PUQ).
Where did we go? We embarked in Punta Arenas, and disembarked at the same port 7 nights later.
Why I am not surprised to find our photog, Miristi jumping for joy during our Australis Expedition? If you want to find out why, best you stay tuned as we continue our #neverendingadventure to the #endoftheworld in our special coverage of CHILE: Long, Lean, and Simply Spectacular!