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The evolution of active travel

Can you talk about the trend of active travel? 

If you live an active life, people want to take that with them. They don't want to come back from vacation feeling like they gained four pounds. And so people are incorporating activity in their own way—like getting up and running through European cities—more than ever before. Even in more formal environments, like a wedding, people are adding the informality of sweat. When I worked for Van Wyck & Van Wyck, I planned an exceptionally chic wedding in Florence, Italy. On the morning of their wedding day, the bride and groom did this beautiful run with their wedding party. I think one day active travel, that will just be called travel.

What other trends are you seeing right now?

A focus on unique experiences. It used to be that it was enough to have seen the major sites and eaten in the world's best restaurants. These days people want to spend a day ice climbing or working on an organic farm. Also I think people are pushing limits and exploring entirely new areas: Rwanda, Georgia, and Finland for example.

What's your favorite place to travel?

Italy! First, I have a real community there of people I love and who love me. Secondly, of course is the food because it's the best food in the world. But also, Italy is a place of perfect contrasts. You have these beautiful buildings that are exceptional and ornate and directly next door there will be a building from the 70s that is utilitarian and somewhat artless. But the fact that the two things are next to each other, it brings out the beauty in both somehow.

What's on your travel bucket list?

I can’t wait to explore South Korea because I think the culture is super interesting and I imagine it’s different to any place I've been. The Silk Road and the ‘stans are always top of my list too, but challenging. There's some safety concerns. I’d like to see more of Northern Scandinavia. I’m really searching out places that have extraordinary natural landscapes. That blows my hair back. I am also excited to visit more of North America. There's no place that I wouldn't go or that I wouldn't be excited about going to.

What do you want people to know about Equinox Explore? 

It is truly the balance between high-performance activity, regeneration, nutrition, and culture. I think it's something that's been missing in the space. We at Equinox have the elements in place to make sure that you're pushing yourself, but you're also taking care of yourself and you’re experiencing new culture in the most holistic way possible.  Also, our trips are achievement-based. In Morocco, we summit the tallest mountain in Northern Africa. In Costa Rica, we dive deep on surfing, bringing real learning into play. We want people to improve while they’re away and bring that home with them. I have a fun idea I am playing with for a coast-to-coast Italy trip. Instead of just ‘doing’ a place, let’s achieve something there. 

You mentioned nutrition. What does that look like on one of these trips? 

When we're making the food plan for a trip, we're not asking our local hosts to throw out their menus to make us grilled chicken breasts and steamed broccoli. We sit down with the chefs and the Tier X coach who will be leading the trip and we look at what is needed for the specific activity; if we should be incorporating greater amounts of protein or carbs and we use this to assist us in making the right selections. We have an enormous sense of respect for the local culture and the local people. We want to eat what they are eating.

How else do you pay respect to the local culture and people? 

Within the planning phases, we build relationships. Real connections. We spend time with the people on the ground who are going to be helping us in planning, we meet with the general manager of the hotel and the hotel staff. If we create those initial connections in a deep, respectful way then six months later when the group arrives, they too will experience those authentic connections. This has always been a part of my job I really enjoy. We're so excited about the potential of connecting people in deeper ways.

What about sustainability? 

This year we’ll be working to offset our department flights through the purchase of third-party verified carbon offsets. It’s a journey but we are committed to environmentally responsible travel and look forward to increasing this focus as we move into 2020. From selecting eco-friendly hotels and locally sourced menus to supporting our suppliers in making sound decisions of their own, we understand that our choices matter.

What’s your personal fitness routine like? 

Running is a huge part of my life. It’s also one of the ways that I see the world. My perfect balance to running is Pilates. Combine a run through a European capital city and a Pilates class and I'm as fit and happy as I can be. I also love to cycle and I’ve biked all over the world. You see so much with the wind in your hair.

What’s next for Equinox Explore? 

We’re excited to be introducing a series of short running itineraries and lots more achievement-based trips in new destinations. We are also launching private trip planning. Your dates, your destination, your favorite coach or instructor. Stay tuned to EquinoxExplore.com for updates. 

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