Top 7 in ’22

  Founders  |    Jan 19, 2022  |     3 min read

We are proud to announce our Top spots of 2022. Paying homage to the NYT’s inspirational list of 52 places this year, we’re focusing on remarkable places and experiences that are awe-inspiring and also have a positive impact. Here is our love letter to travel experiences in 2022:

Journey deep into the mountains of Yamagata in northern Japan and experience the ancient traditions of the Yamabushi monks. This two-day immersive experience gives travelers a rare glimpse into life as a Yambushi. Don the traditional “shirozoku” robes, stay at a local “Shukubo” mountain lodge and partake in sacred rituals. This immersive experience offers the opportunity to experience centuries-old cultural practices while helping keep alive a way of life that is at risk of disappearing.

Leave your shoes at home for this multi-day trek in Lençóis Maranhenses National Park, a protected desert expanse in northeastern Maranhão.  This barefoot trek takes you across a surreal landscape of white sand dunes, lush oases, and an array of flora and fauna. Barefoot trekking— also known as “earthing”— is an unusual and meditative way to connect with nature.  Leaving the shoes at home also ensures a more minimal impact, following the “Leave No Trace” ethos.

Deep in the heart of the Cuyuni Mazaruni rainforest, on the border of Guyana and Venezuela, lives the indigenous community of Paruima. You can’t access this remote and relatively uncharted region without approval—and help—from the village leader himself.  The invite-only system puts the control of tourism firmly in the hands of the community, providing work and financial benefit, and ensuring that all traveler dollars are reinvested directly into local hands.

This alternative city tour takes travelers through Palermo’s historic city center, exposing the city’s complex mafia phenomenon without the clichés and myths. Plunge under the surface of this city’s gritty sprawl while supporting a clean economy when you encounter Addio Pizzo, the indomitable grassroots collective of community businesses and consumers who combat the mafia’s stronghold by refusing to pay “pizzo” (mafia extortion money).  Experiencing the city through the lens of these brave businesses that rebel against the mob will show you a side of Sicily that few visitors get to see.

The Gobi desert is a vast, harsh desert in Southwestern Mongolia. Home to a host of unique species, including wild Bactrian camels, gazelles, snow leopards, musk oxen, and of course its namesake, the elusive Gobi Bear.  A paltry 40 Gobi bears are estimated to remain on the planet, making the animal one of the most critically endangered in the world. Track the world’s rarest bear on this expedition through awe-inspiring yet inhospitable environments while supporting The Gobi Bear Project, a non-profit that promotes conservation and protection of the majestic animal and its ecosystem.

Get everything you want out of an unforgettable Serengeti experience and more: spot the Big Five and other species, catch sundowners on the African savannah, and do it all while supporting the local communities that make experiences like this so great.  Elsewhere partners with Solar Sisters, an NGO fighting to uplift women by providing clean energy to their communities.  In sub-Saharan Africa, 600 million people have no access to electricity and the burden of this energy poverty falls largely on women.  Solar Sisters works to provide free, clean electricity to families living off-the-grid, and helps recruit, train, and give economic opportunities to women.

The Morukuru Beach Lodge is nestled in the De Hoop Nature Preserve along South Africa’s Garden Route. Boasting a dual safari (land & sea), sandboarding, and sundowners, this eco-hotel’s greatest achievement is arguably its dedication to preserving the area’s rich biodiversity and operating with the lightest and most sustainable footprint possible. In addition to supporting the conservation of the surrounding ecosystem, the hotel uses intelligent greywater systems and operates entirely off the grid, using only solar power.