It’s quite the honour.
Long-time Toronto Star travel writer Heather Greenwood Davis has been named a “Traveler of the Year” by National Geographic Traveler magazine.
They’re the only family on the list and the only Canadians, Davis said. Davis and her husband, Ishmael, visited 29 countries during a full 12 months on the road with their two young boys, Ethan (10) and Cameron (8). The boys were 8 and 6 when they left home in June 2011.
They rode elephants in Thailand and India, toured the Galapagos Islands and visited the Eiffel Tower in France during what Davis describes as a life-changing experience and education of a lifetime for the whole family.
We're pretty excited," says Greenwood Davis. "We wanted to do this trip to live a dream and to show the kids that there was more to life than the neighbourhood they were growing up in. To be honoured by National Geographic Traveler in this way is incredible icing."
The trip, which started in June 2011 and wrapped earlier this year included visits to orphanages in China and Mumbai, a harrowing moment outside a Chengdu China train station and moments of complete disbelief as they walked through Tahrir Square in Egypt. The family says while they left home with some trepidation about some of the world's hot spots, meeting the people in cities like Cairo, Bogota and Sharm el Sheikh quickly changed their views.
Now that they're home and the boys are back in school, the family is readjusting to "normal" activities like making dinner and (soon) shoveling snow, but already planning their next world adventure.
"We figure we'll go again in about six years," Davis says. "The kids will be older then so there may be less movement but the goal will be the same: Time together as a family doing what we love."
It's a hugely impressive feat to undertake, let alone accomplish. I find it hard to organize MYSELF for a two-week trip; I can't imagine two adults and two kids around the freaking world over a year's time. Good on you, Heather. And welcome home.
Now, don't you have a story to file for me on Monday?
GOT A SPARE $199,000? THE HAZELTON HOTEL HAS A DEAL FOR YOU
The posh Hazelton Hotel isn't taking the invasion of the Trump, Four Seasons, Shangri-La and Ritz Carlton Toronto hotels lying down. The Yorkville property the other day introduced a $199,000 "bespoke holiday season shopping package."
Yes, lottery winners, you read that correctly. 199,000 shiny loonies for a deal at what's labelled as "Toronto's Most Exclusive Hotel," and it's not a bad label when you've got such heavyweight competition I think.
The deal, and I hate to use that word in this instance, is called "shopping at its very, bespoke finest," said GM David Mounteer.
The package includes private jet transportation from your home to Toronto, two nights accomodation in the Hazelton's Bellair Suite, which includes one of those wildly expensive Haastens beds), all meals catered in your suite's private dining room by ONE Restaurant at the hotel, a luxury sedan with drive at your disposal and added amenities. (I would hope so. I would also hope they'd expect you to take the shampoo from the bathroom. And maybe some of the furniture in the suite, too).
There's also three separate shopping trips. The man in the party (they're assuming something here) gets a private shopping experience at Louis Black, the watch store at the Hazelton that's billed as Toronto's most exclusive watch shop. (THey have one watch on-site called "Black Kite" that sells for $135,000).
The woman in the party (again, assuming something here) gets a stylist at her disposal for an afternoon of shopping in Yorkville, helping find unique items.
Both parties will get a personally escorted tour of Toronto's art galleries from the Hazelton's Art concierge. The concierge will "discuss their personal tastes in advance" and select galleries that best reflect their wishes. Presumably this is the case even if, like me, you lean towards even if you like Elvis and Bob Marley and poker-playing dogs on velvet.
Oh, by the way. The Bespoke Holiday Season Shopping Package STARTS at $199,000. Plus tax. And the price is based upon factors such as watch selection and art purchases and the city you're flying in from. You might save a bit if you're coming from Oshawa, or it could cost a bit more if you're arriving from Australia.
JAUNT.CA DEAL OF THE DAY
The folks at Jaunt.ca,
a subsidiary of Torstar, have a good deal going for a four-star resort in Jamaica, wiith a savings $676 per couple. Here's what you get
- BONUS: ACV Privileges offer exclusive check in/late check out (subject to availability), 4 guaranteed à la carte reservations per week, 20% spa discount, nightly turn down service and more!
- All-inclusive 7-night stay at the 4-Star Grand Bahia Principe Jamaica, located in Runaway Bay, Jamaica
- Includes return airfare from Toronto, Montreal or Ottawa to Montego Bay, and round-trip airport/hotel transfers in Jamaica
- Accommodations in a Junior Suite, featuring 1 king or 2 double beds and private balcony or terrace. Max. occupancy: 3 adults and 1 child or 2 adults and 2 children
- Daily breakfast, lunch and dinner, and unlimited domestic alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks
View the terms that apply to all Jaunt offers
- Valid for travel on the following departures:
Toronto: Feb. 5, 6, 7, 8 & 12, 13, 14, 15, 2013
Montreal: Feb. 2, 6, 9, 13, & 20, 2013
Ottawa: Jan. 26 & Feb. 2, 2013
- This is an exclusive offer brought to you by Air Canada Vacations
- Valid passport required for travel from Canada
- Pricing (Rates are per person):
Single: $1749 plus tax
Double: $1299 plus tax
Triple: $1239 plus tax
1st Child: $849 plus tax
2nd Child: $459 plus tax
Montreal (+ $50 for Saturday departures/ Feb 2 & 9)
Single: $2126 tax included
Double: $1706 tax included
Triple: $1656 tax included
1st Child: $1256 tax included
2nd Child: $866 tax included
Single: $1599 plus tax
Double: $1199 plus tax
Triple: $1139 plus tax
1st Child: $849 plus tax
2nd Child: $459 plus tax
- This offer is 100% non-refundable
TRUMP TRUMPS THE COMPETITION?
Speaking of Toronto hotels (don't you just love a good segueway on a Friday morning?), the folks at TripAdvisor have included the Trump Toronto as one of the world's ten hot new hotels of 2012.
Here's what they had to say: "In the midst of Toronto's financial and entertainment districts stands this stunning 65-story hotel.
Travelers can unwind at the luxurious spa and wellness facility, take a dip in the indoor saltwater pool or enjoy a mouthwatering meal at the restaurant and lounge located on the 31st floor.
"Everything from the service to the rooms was just phenomenal," said one TripAdvisor traveler. Average nightly rate is $456 and up."