We were recently asked by one of our guests to design a year of vacations for him and his wife. Many of us at Scott Dunn came to work in travel having taken 'gap years' and, having initially turned green, our envy turned to grudging admiration and we soon got thinking about what 12 months of vacations might look like if money (and time) were no object. Olly, our Commercial Director, gives us an idea of how he would spend his 12 months. You should know that, faced with an hour on a sun lounger, Olly develops an adult version of attention deficit disorder and is only really relaxed when engaged in frenetic exercise. He does however have a long-suffering wife Kirsty and daughter who keep him in check and ensure that some degree of normalcy prevails.
January - South America
Mid-winter in Europe means midsummer in South America which has been on my travel to do list for years. From spectacular Patagonia with glaciers, hiking and horse trekking in Torres del Paine to steak, Malbec and tango in Buenos Aires, astonishing wildlife in Ecuador and Brazil's carnival spirit, South America is a must.
February - Caribbean
By now the UK winter has seemed interminable and who won't be craving Caribbean sun and warm water? Barbados is a water sports paradise with world class surfing, windsurfing and kitesurfing. The west coast is the place to be seen but the wilder east coast has more appeal for me and the Little Dix Bay in the British Virgin Islands is my kind of boutique hotel.
March - British Columbia
March storms blowing in from the Pacific Ocean should have almost buried British Columbia in snow and more stable weather makes this the time you would be most likely to get both great snow and great weather at the Last Frontier of Heliskiing. To do this place justice, fitness is key so a few warm-up days in whistler are a must.
April - Maldives
After all that activity I will be owing my family a little luxury so the Maldives is my choice for April. Six Senses Laamu happens to have a world class surf break right outside - which should keep both me (and Kirsty) sane.
May - Mallorca
By May, the Med is warming up and Mallorca is still verdant after the winter. With triathlons to train for, the spectacular cycling in the Tramuntana is the best motivation I know. A Scott Dunn serviced villa is the perfect training base and my daughter's forgiveness guaranteed thanks to the genius of our childcare team.
June - Greece
Having only recently discovered Greece I am making up for lost time. Greece's warm hospitality and fabulous beaches put its southern European peers (mentioning no names) to shame. Crete is a highlight and steeped in history.
July - France
The Scott Dunn brochure may be a directory of destination temptation but I'll take my chances on Sussex weather as I'm not missing Wimbledon, the cricket, Goodwood's Festival of Speed and 18 hours of daylight. Then again, if a Brit leads the Tour I could be tempted by a quick trip to France before the August crowds descend. The Cote d'Azur is not my "tasse de thé" so I suggest loading the car for a West Coast road trip.
August - California
It seems as though most of Europe takes August off but I heard the Americans don't take much time off work so I'll suggest vacating Europe and take a tour of California. By the time we've seen Yosemite, San Fran, Santa Cruz, tasted wines in Santa Ynes and surfed San Diego, I'm wondering if August is even long enough.
September - Spain
Spain's north coast from San Sebastian all the way to Galicia is unspoiled and breathtaking. September is the best time for surfing and if you love the outdoors, the hiking, mountain biking and climbing are boundless.
October - Russia
I have never been to Russia but I would love to visit St Petersburg. It wouldn't seem right to go and not be able to wear an ushanka, so the autumn should be perfect. This is one trip that will be all about history, culture and architecture rather than frenetic exercise!
November - East Africa
The beginning of November would be a great time to head to East Africa. Conditions for climbing Kilimanjaro should still be good but the crowds will have abated due to the short rains. Afterwards there is still a chance of catching the end of the migration in the Maasai Mara, after which the white sands of Lamu, where November is known by the locals as secret season or Zanzibar will be well deserved.
December - New Zealand
New Zealand is a land of natural wonders and having been during the southern hemisphere winter I always swore I would go back to see the Coromandel Peninsular, to sail in Auckland and to hike the Abel Tasman National Park. While there I would love to see in my first Christmas in the summer.
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