Seeking Out the Extraordinary Is Crucial Today

0903_editorletterOn Japan's art-filled Naoshima Island

I'll be the first to admit that publishing our annual ode to dream trips at this moment—when so many of us are making do with less—could come off as a little out of touch. But I'd like to make the case that, now more than ever, taking an adventure in search of the extraordinary feels especially crucial. Seeing places that have weathered storms of their own, like the Forbidden City in Beijing (a nearly 600-year-old compound, once home to the Chinese imperial family) or Turkey's Cappadocia (where cave dwellings are carved into 70-million-year-old volcanic rock), puts our challenges in perspective.

And really, a dream trip doesn't have to cost a lot or require an epic journey. Sometimes it's a matter of figuring out the insider's take on a popular event, such as how to score World Cup tickets. Other times it's a physical feat—scaling a volcano, for instance, an undertaking both simple (put one foot in front of the other) and staggering (that view!).

It can also be a personal pilgrimage, like a trip my husband and I took to Naoshima Island in the Inland Sea of Japan, where we indulged our obsession with architect Tadao Ando. We stayed in a hotel of his design and explored a museum he built that houses a singular art collection, composed solely of works by James Turrell, Walter De Maria, and Claude Monet. Perhaps we'll cover Naoshima next year; this year, our dream list is sure to introduce you to a range of experiences you'll find equally thrilling.

With a newborn daughter, I've been dreaming lately about having a decadent, unrushed meal. So my husband and I enlisted his parents to watch our baby while we hit a creative cocktail bar called Tailor for walnut-infused cognac, followed by dinner at a hot new seafood restaurant, The John Dory. Over fish stew and a quartino of Bourgogne, I felt just about as blissed out as I had on that remote Japanese island. Sometimes, a simple escape from reality can be the ultimate dream.

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