ESCAPESEEKER TEAM describes their favorite “pinch me” ESCAPESEEKER moment!

Welcome to our new special ESCAPESEEKER Blog Segment entitled,


Today, I gave each of our regular core team members and former guest crew/talents an opportunity to submit a story with supporting images of their favorite  ESCAPESEEKER “Pinch Me Moment”… And, of course,  why are we not surprised when the first one to arrive is from none other than CHRISTINA TUCKER WISE, our extremely efficient PRODUCER.  As a matter of fact, she managed to get her story written and submitted along with her favorite photos while on assignment for the SAG Awards!  You never cease to amaze us Christina.  You give whole new meaning to the term,  multitasking.  Ok, team, we’re waiting for the rest of you to catch up.  Get those stories submitted and I will post as they arrive.  Thank you.  Christina, I love your story…it brings back wonderful memories of France.  So let me not waste a minute more.  Presenting “Pinch Me Moment” #1 by Christina Tucker Wise:

A favorite pinch me moment during our Escapeseeker travels was the hot air balloon ride over the vineyards in the Champagne region of France.  As someone who really appreciates fine bubbly, being in this area was a treat unto itself but then to really get a bird’s eye view was truly spectacular.  But like most things, it’s who you are sharing your experience with that really matters.  Squeezed up in the balloon basket was Mel, our director and my then fiancé, now husband Jason, our cameraman Jackson and our new friends David and Juliette from the Royal Champagne hotel, along with the balloon operator.  Going up was easy but as our trip came to an end it was the landing that started to worry us a bit.  Right as the sun was setting, the balloon came down and the basket tipped sideways tossing us all out into a beautiful lavender field.  It seemed like the perfect occasion to celebrate our survival and the beautiful sunset with a little champagne with our new friends.

Christina, let’s give everyone a glimpse of this Pinch Me Moment you just articulately described.  At the end of the day, ESCAPESEEKER is really about creating UNFORGETTABLE EXPERIENCES…and when those experiences are shared, the JOY is multiplied.  Thanks again for this reminder.  I love our ESCAPESEEKER team!  Just click below, and repeat after me…Vive la France!

This just in…from the snow-covered landscapes of Bridgewater, Connecticut, I just received this beautiful description from TERRIE LEE COOK, a guest participant, of what she calls  her ESCAPESEEKER AHA MOMENT!

Terrie prepares to board the stunning private yacht, Happissima belonging to our special host, Giovanni Russo. We were told by his many friends that no one epitomizes and lives "La Dolce Vita" like Giovanni...and Terrie and the ESCAPESEEKER team were thrilled to spend the day with this beloved Italian known throughout the Amalfi coastline. I should mention, the minute we set our eyes on Giovanni, we couldn't believe it...he was right out of Central Casting: Tall, tan and movie-star handsome. You know he is, if the guys even said so!

Amalfi Harbor, Amalfi After being picked up by Giovanni, a native and charismatic Italian gentleman, we were brought to his small, beautiful, private island of L’galia via his yacht.  We enjoyed a delicious meal alfresco, then visited his guest house, chapel and home (a tiny castle).   Afterwards I sat in his small, stone, infinity pool overlooking the Mediterranean.  The water was fed by the ocean below and I felt weightless.  It was at that moment when I thought I must be dreaming, this is a piece of Heaven on Earth! ~Terrie Lee Cook

To see more of Terrie’s Amalfi experiences during her time with the ESCAPESEEKER team, take a look at this AMALFI episode trailer…and it will become crystal clear why this became the AHA MOMENT for her.  Thank you Terrie for sharing your story with us.

Peyton McCollum, guest photographer, recalls her favorite ESCAPESEEKER moment:

Hi Mel,

When I think back to my wonderful memories with Escapeseeker, one particular adventure sticks out in my mind.  As part of the Advance Research Team (ART) for French Polynesia’s ‘Oh Heaven’s Heaven’ episodes, the team was given the opportunity to explore the waters of Rangiroa, an atoll famous as a diver’s paradise.  We were cruising along in a dinghy looking for optimal snorkeling sites when our guide spotted two enormous manta rays just below the surface.  Water camera in hand (always!), I didn’t hesitate… I blame being an Aquarius, but for whatever reason I cant stay out of the water, safety comes second.  I dropped backwards, hearing the muted screams from the boat to “get out of the water!”  But in those few precious moments when I was alone with the giants I was able to capture the attached photo and sigh in awe at just how lucky were are to be on this Earth. Soon thereafter I was hoisted to the surface.  Sorry to admit it, Mel, but I’d do it all over again!  Mauruuru!!

The ultimate "Kodak Moment" as captured by our fearless photographer, Peyton McCollum in the waters of Rangiroa, Tuamotu Archipelago, French Polynesia.

We noticed during our ART exploration throughout French Polynesia that Peyton McCollum could be spotted a mile away!  You may think it’s because of her long Irish rooted-red locks, but that’s just one of the reasons.  Peyton is was always surrounded or trailed by children who are fascinated by the continual clicks of her Canon 40d.   She captured countless beautiful smiles of Tahitian children as a result.  Peyton has another passion, Nature Photography.  When Peyton came on board for our initial research visit to French Polynesia, she captured plants, flowers, bugs, and shells that weren’t even on our radar screen.

Peyton sees what others do not.

Peyton sees what others do not.  She is truly remarkable.  I honestly believe her ultimate true calling in life is to be a Nat Geo expert photog.  She has the patience of an angel and can ride out any weather waiting for her subject(s) to appear.  Why do we love having Peyton on our assignments?   Beneath her photog exterior, this Duke grad is brilliant to boot!  And if there’s something I love–it is being surrounded with inspiring, talented, brilliant, fun-seeking, ESCAPESEEKERS!  You can see more of her work on The image below of the vessel, Nomade Yachting’s Ti’a Moana, which carried our nomadic ESCAPESEEKER Advance Research Team throughout our exploration of the Society Islands, was also captured by Peyton.  Needless to say, we hated to see our research assignment come to an end.  But thanks to our talented photography team, we have countless images to help remind us of just how heavenly our adventure truly was!

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