Walpole Editorial | It’s a new world to explore by British adventurer, Henry Cookson
Henry Cookson, a daring adventurer in some of the planet’s most remote destinations, has become known for making the impossible possible. He is also the founder of Cookson Adventures, the world’s leading ultra-luxury experiential travel specialists, and here reveals what the future of adventure travel might look like post-lockdown.
“I’ve never been one to fear unexplored territory. In fact, the thrill of discovering the unknown is very much what fuels my life as an adventurer. I’d be naive to compare submersible diving in Antarctica, or discovering a shipwreck in southern Italy, to exploring a post-pandemic world, but it’s certainly new territory to tread. And, amongst all the madness, I believe there are positives to be found. So, here are a number of trends I’ve seen emerge as we slowly step out of lockdown.”
Escapes that take you from door to door
It’s no surprise that there’s been an increase in private jet charters. They allow you to travel flexibly and often without passing through busy, crowded airports. It’s why Cookson Adventures has partnered with NetJets, a private jet company, to launch a number of door to door escapes. Very much like myself, our clients are eager to get back into the wider world. This collaboration means we can ensure streamlined adventures, with the highest level of security and comfort, from start to finish.
One of our planned escapes is set on a sprawling Spanish estate with its own private runway. Guests would stay in a grand villa with open-fire lounges, ultra-gourmet dining, an infinity pool and tennis court. It’s located amongst olive groves and medieval castles where guests can spot wild deer and eagles as they explore alongside Cookson’s adventurers. All on-the-ground staff would undergo testing for Covid-19 and be quarantined prior to their arrival, according to the guests’ request.
The perfect getaway: sailing expeditions
Yacht crews have famously high standards when it comes to cleanliness. You would be hard pressed to finder a more hygienic place to isolate than onboard a yacht that’s out at sea for weeks (sometimes months) at a time. No wonder, then, that they’ve seen a surge in demand since the pandemic hit.
The beauty of a yacht is that each day can be different, particularly with a store full of toys onboard. Kayaks, diving gear, tenders and, for the fortunate few, a submersible – the list goes on. On many occasions, tutors are also invited onboard so that children can learn about the destinations they explore in great depths. It’s the perfect refuge and one that has long been favoured by some of our planet’s greatest adventurers.
More fuel for greener travel
The planet has had a much needed breather, and it would be a shame for that to go to waste. At the start of the year we announced that all of our adventures would be made carbon neutral, which was an incentive shared by many others. However, there will now be a wider shift towards more meaningful travel, centred around giving back to the planet. Out with the weekend getaways and in with family-focused itineraries for longer periods of time.
There’s one key reason as to why this is important. There are many communities and conservation projects around the world that are completely reliant on tourism. Their income has completely halted due to the pandemic and many are concerned it will get to the point of no return. As a response, we’ve launched conservation-centric experiences for our clients, such as tracking previously undocumented elephant herds in Angola’s unspoilt wilderness and supporting safari rangers in Botswana’s Okavango Delta. These are also remarkable opportunities to be the first to see wildlife and landscapes that have been left undisturbed over the past few months.
Wilderness that’s found closer to home
As they avoid long-haul flights, travellers are recognising that true wilderness can sometimes be found closer to home. Take Iceland, for example. It’s a short jet flight from most of western Europe and is perfect for exploring without seeing a soul in sight. Sometimes all you need is Mother Nature at your side to feel like you’ve truly escaped the chaos of everyday life.
Destinations like the Scottish Highlands and islands are also increasingly a preferred option while we emerge out of lockdown. For many in the the U.K., a yacht trip around its intricately carved coastline can throw a fresh spin on ‘staycations’. It’s a land of outstanding natural beauty that has long captivated adventurers, conjuring feelings that have fed into literature and folklore for many, many years.