Last Friday, I went to the Bahamas during the lockdown.
Of course, I didn’t actually leave my house, but for an hour I could almost feel the sand between my toes.
What transported me? A conversation with Melissa Biggs Bradley, the founder of Indagare, a luxury travel agency, and India Hicks, a model, designer, and author who for more than 25 years has lived on Harbour Island, where she met her husband and has raised five children.
I definitely had goals for 2020, but “become a Zoom expert” was not one of them. Now we’re all spending a good chunk of our week on Zoom calls and webinars. The travel industry is stepping up to connect homebound travelers with virtual city, hotel, and museum tours, but to be honest, very few of them hold my attention. I find that I learn the most from conversations between travel experts who have passion for and deep knowledge of a destination. Plus I get that personal connection I crave during these days of isolation.
Bradley’s conversation with Hicks was a perfect example. Bradley is opening up her very connected global network—which you normally would only have access to when booking a trip—to a wider audience of travelers.
Indagare started with Indagare Global Classroom, classes that let you explore the world from home. You can join a lecture on art nouveau and cubist architecture in Prague, at-home chocolate and wine tastings (with suggestions on what types to buy or order), and an Irish soda bread baking class—all for free. For a fee (which supports travel suppliers), you can virtually enter a Japanese home in Kyoto to learn about the geisha dance tradition or learn how to make ceviche from popular local chefs in Cartagena. You can also book private classes with chefs, art experts, and dance teachers.
And Bradley’s chat with Hicks was the first of many scheduled Indagare Global Conversations, a series of hour-long Zoom conversations between Bradley and her friends (many of whom have joined her on Indagare’s Insider Journeys), who share how different places have shaped their lives and perspectives.
“In this time of isolation and lockdown, connecting with friends around the world reminds me, as travel often does, of how much we all have in common even when we are apart. Right now we may be sharing anxiety and grief and little tips for coping, but they indicate how our universal humanity is so much greater than our differences. Remembering what binds us, when we all feel so distant, is comforting,” she says.
For those dreaming of Italy, three-star Michelin chef Norbert Niederkofler from Hotel Rosa Alpina will join Bradley from the Dolomites to talk about food from his native region and how he has helped top chefs think about sustainability.
And she will be joined by Josh and Alissa Ruxin, who moved to Rwanda to fight poverty. Josh wrote A Thousand Hills to Heaven, chronicling their time as Rwanda emerged from “unspeakably dark times” and as they opened their restaurant Heaven in Kigali, which provided employment for orphans of the genocide. But this grew and turned into Josh and Alissa opening what Bradley calls the city’s best boutique hotel, also called Heaven.
The full schedule and place to sign up is on Indagare.com.