JETSET EXPERIENCES: Going Botswana Style – Disconnecting to Reconnect

‘Without great solitude no serious work is possible.’ ~ Pablo Picasso

Boarding the plane to Bostwana, I mentally prepared myself to say goodbye to my connected, digital world. For the next two weeks the iPhone in my pocket would serve three purposes: alarm clock, camera, and MP3 player.

The first morning of safari, our guide woke us from our tent at 5:30 a.m. and had us grab coffee and a snack before climbing into the Land Rover in search of adventure in the bush.  As we rounded a corner, our guide came to an abrupt halt, jumped out, and encouraged us to do the same.  He took the jack from the front of the vehicle and used it to pull out a pangolin from thick sage bushes.  We quickly learned that this is one of the hardest animals to spot, and very few people have ever actually seen one in the bush.  Our guides were ecstatic and could not wait to tout their expert skills.  I didn’t need to reach for my camera, every vivid detail and emotion associated with this moment was already firmly etched in memory.

The wonder that is Botswana continues throughout the day.  Lions to my left, elephants to my right, and countless flights of birds above covering the spectrum like a rainbow.  Special moments are recalled over sundowners as the sky illuminates in bright reds & orange hues.  Later, sitting by the campfire with a glass of Amarula, we share the excitement of the day with newfound friends.  As I finally crawl into bed, I reach for my iPhone headphones but opt instead for the night call of a group of hippos.  What better way to fall asleep than to the sounds of nature?  Soon I realize that not once did I feel the need to check my phone for outside contact. I was connected in the moment, living life.

To break free from your digital world “Botswana style,” email  It will be the most memorable vacation you can give yourself and your loved ones.

JETSET EXPERIENCES: Language of love in Malaysia

Enjoying “authentic” and “immersive” experiences in travel attracts us all, but in practice this concept has become almost as elusive as the definition of luxury. So when I had the chance to attend a Malaysian wedding while visiting Kuala Lumpur, I jumped at the opportunity. This was sure to be authentic, immersive, and unquestionably local.

Once a potential groom reaches appropriate age in Malaysia (as in India), marriages are typically arranged between families. Engagement quickly follows introduction, and then elaborate planning for an incredibly festive wedding begins. And what a celebration! With hundreds of friends and family in tow, the groom’s entourage leads a procession to meet the bride. The parade continues with heavy drumming, dancers performing martial arts, and musicians playing court music. Eventually, the couple – treated as royalty for the day – arrives at a heavily decorated throne, where they display their hands painted in Henna. Guest are welcomed to bestow blessings on the couple by means of sprinkling scented water, tossing yellow rice, or saying special prayers. The festivities continue for hours and conclude with guests sharing a feast which has been in preparation for several days; the bride and groom feed each other as an integral part of this ceremony.
Though I abstained from the feast, sweated through my attire in the 95-degree tropical humidity, and didn’t understand a word of the exchanges, the euphoria was palpable and infectious. The language of love needs little translation.

Love the life you live. To experience your own ‘locafile’ celebration, collaborate with Julia Douglas: or 312-574-1181.