I will never forget the first time I fell deeply in love. It was 1982. I was an 8th grader suffering through a hot Miami summer and the object of my affection was not the beautiful girl sitting on the sand who did catch my eye, but the country of South Africa as seen through the nearly 900 pages of James Michener’s historical saga The Covenant. My love of travel had been implanted long before that as my family moved from one destination to the next every 2-3 years in my early childhood. Yet I was uniquely inspired as I read about the conflicting paths of the English, Boers (Afrikaners to be), French Huguenots and Zulu tribes through the centuries, the resulting nightmare of Apartheid and the emerging hope that was in Michener’s heart as he depicted the beauty, drama and passion of this region.
Through my years at Stanford University majoring in International Relations and studying languages, then at Brasenose College, Oxford University in England “reading” British Colonial history, I carried my love affair forward, finding myself drawn back to Africa time and again. Even during my ten year detour in the ‘90’s earning a Juris Doctor from Fordham University School of Law and practicing real estate law, I secretly moonlighted as a travel feature writer, columnist and high-end honeymoon planner. I squeezed in a few hours a week for my private passion late at night and on the weekends, traveled whenever possible and dreamt of a life pursuing as a career what I loved most.
My dream became a reality just prior to 9-11, as I launched Travel Artistry into a brave new uncertain world. I feel fortunate to have developed Travel Artistry from the ground up to an award-winning Virtuoso member agency over the past thirteen years, with a consistent approach emphasizing personalized service and customized travel consulting over product promotion. A significant part of this business has been focused on Africa, crafting each trip by hand along the way.
Fast forward to 2008-09 – an incredible opportunity to take the Travel Artistry dream to the next step in its natural evolution and formalize our Africa division as its own entity providing incomparable experiences with a unique, transparent approach. Travel Artistry Africa is the product of two essential gifts – first the gift of Tamsyn Fricker who made the leap to come aboard as Director of Travel Artistry Africa to spearhead our efforts, and second the gift of all the special relationships Tamsyn and I have been fortunate to develop with the owners of the top lodges, camps, hotels and resorts in Africa and the Indian Ocean as they partner with us to execute our vision on the ground.
Good Will Hunting / Dances With Wolves / Three Days of the Condor / Groundhog Day
The Covenant by James Michener (an epic story of South Africa) / The Foundation series novels by Isaac Asimov / Shogun by James Clavell
“Problems create opportunities” / “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover” Mark Twain
The perfect cocktail and who would you share it with:
A pint of amber ale after a foursome of golf with Gary Player, Bill Clinton and my father
Spare time pursuits:
Any activity with my wife Tracy and our three kids, reading, basketball, golf, singing, NY Times Sunday Crossword Puzzle and P90X