As Deep Travelers, members of the Context team can often be found dreaming of faraway shores. We take inspiration from our clients, docents, and each other, and love to plan our own immersive experiences. Here’s where some of us are aspiring to visit in 2016.
“I remember hearing about the handover of Hong Kong in 1997 without really understanding what that meant. As I’ve gotten older, the complex history of Hong Kong and its shift from a piece of the British Empire to a mostly-autonomous part of China has fascinated me and I would love to learn more about it first-hand. But if I’m being honest, the main thing that calls me to Hong Kong– besides the history, the vibrant cityscape, the multicultural melting pot– is the food. I want to try all of it: the dim sum, the egg tarts, the street food and the fancy fare. For research, of course.” –Katie Nadworny, Destination Manager, Istanbul & Athens (Istanbul office)
“Growing up with a grandmother, who was a Greek Mail-Order Bride at the turn of the century, my mother has always had stories to tell. Between tales of Grandma Rellos playing in the rubble of the Parthenon as a child, to falling in love with the heavily edited waters off Mamma Mia!’s filming location (Skopelos, in case you were wondering), I found myself transfixed by Greece. After sitting down with an adventurous friend who hitchhiked her way across the country, I’ve decided to give in. It’s high time I tasted feta from someplace other than my local grocery store. While I’m mainly interested in the islands, a trip to Greece isn’t complete without discovering Athens. Connecting my memory of Greek myths to their stunning landscape, exploring ancient temples dedicated to Athena and Poseidon will be all the more poignant.” –Lauren Sarazen, Assistant Docent Manager for France and Spain (Paris office)
“This year I would love to go back to Istanbul and take my three-year-old with me. I look forward to sharing delicious meze with her while introducing her to this beautiful city. I plan on taking in the mosques and the bazaars in small doses, focusing on details such as the colorful Iznik tiles (picking a favorite one and trying to recreate it with crayons will be fun). We’ll take the vapour from the European to the Asian side, probably more often than needed, as Anna loves boats. Finally, we’ll pay a visit to the Dolmabahçe to dream about life in the palace.” –Petulia Melideo, UK Operations Manager (London office)
“As a Canadian making Berlin my home, I’m becoming increasingly fascinated by the idea of a city as a palimpsest, a changeable landscape – built up, written over, and worn down by centuries of history. In the same way that Berlin’s quicksilver character hints at its tumultuous story, my idea of Istanbul is of a city that is both ancient and constantly reinventing. My neighborhood is the Turkish quarter of Berlin, where biweekly markets hawking shiny-skinned avocados and succulent figs evoke a tiny piece of home for the immigrant community. My imagination is caught by Istanbul and the associations I have with the name: the scent of spices and coffee, hot midday sun mellowing to dusky light in the early evenings, slippery silks and sticky squares of baklava. Now, I’m dreaming of late summer days in the Grand Bazaar and warm nights wandering in Galata – and extra fresh avocados.” –Stephanie Taralson, Destination Manager, Central Europe (Berlin office)
“Having devoured novel after novel by Japanese surrealist author Haruki Murakami, I am so utterly enchanted by the peculiar Japan represented in his writing that I must see it for myself. I look forward to wandering the erie Aokigahara forest, paying a visit to the cats of Tashirojima, and soaking up quirky Otaku culture. Of course no trip would be complete without also taking in Japan’s traditional side—zen gardens, the Way of Tea, historic markets selling miso, wasabi, and fresh sashimi, the delicate cherry blossoms . . . What am I waiting for?!” –Sara McCarty, Regional Manager, France and Spain (Paris office)
“Growing up in London and living now in Berlin–both cities with large Irish communities–over the years I’ve had the pleasure of making many friends from the Emerald Isle. They’re each horrified to learn that I’ve never visited their green and pleasant homeland, despite having travelled the world. It can be all too easy to miss the treasures in front of our eyes, and one of my New Year Resolutions is to do some exploring in my own backyard. I’m drawn to Ireland because it’s geographically so close yet culturally distinct–exotic even. Plus, I’m dying for a decent pint of Guinness.” –Natalie Holmes, Regional Manager, Central & Southern Europe and North America (Berlin office)