When I was a child, I bought myself a copy of Pierre Grimal’s “Stories of Alexander the Great.” It was the beginning of a lifelong love affair with a man whose dream stretched 22,000 miles from the Balkans to northern India.
Of course, the Greco-Macedonian conqueror of the Persian Empire was on what we would call a power trip. So was Genghis Khan, the “scourge of Heaven” (and most of Central Asia), who is the subject of an Audrey profile. Alexander and Genghis Khan fulfill the literal meaning of this month’s theme, which has to do with variations on travel.
Naturally, there are stories here on popular destinations. Managing editor Bob recounts some quality time he spent with daughter Carolyn in Monument Valley and along Route 66 on their 900-mile trek through northern Arizona. Olivia savors her time on the Big Island of Hawaii, with its variety of landscapes, while we take a sentimental journey back to the CuisinArt Golf Resort & Spa in Anguilla, which we first introduced to you back in WAG’s March 2011 “King of Clubs” issue. Sticking closer to home? Then you’ll enjoy Mark’s take on Scenic Hudson and the scenic Hudson. We also check in with Barbara and Richard Dannenberg of Purchase, who when they aren’t busy supporting the arts, spearheading book clubs or playing bridge and tennis, have traveled to more than 80 countries. They tell us their most recent trip is also one of their most memorable, although it was not without its challenges and controversy as they ventured to Cuba.
But many of the people you’ll meet in this month’s pages are internationalists who have traveled a good deal to pursue their professional passions. Damian Woetzel, whose family has roots in Shanghai and who’s been just about everywhere (including to his weekend home in Connecticut), talks about his seamless transition from electrifying New York City Ballet principal to galvanizing artistic director of the Vail International Dance Festival in Vail, Colo. (Hint: A Harvard degree helps.)
Mary describes how Israeli-born glassmaker Moshe Bursuker studied his craft coast-to-coast before settling on three sites in Brooklyn, Newark and Lake Purdys to create his one-of-a-kind pieces. Italian-born jeweler Ippolita, whose design studio and flagship store are in Manhattan, is always on the go, sourcing stones and creating works around the globe while visiting the Neiman Marcus stores that carry her ultra-feminine designs. Meanwhile, our own Ronni looks back fondly on a writing career that blossomed while she lived in The Pencil – a distinctive (to say the least) building in Rotterdam.
Not every professional journey is geographic. Covergirl Carey Lowell – whom you know from “Law & Order,” James Bond and her stint as a proprietor of the Bedford Post Inn – is embarking on a new career with her own line of ceramics and candles that are sold everywhere from Barneys in Manhattan to The Gritti Palace in Venice.
And not everyone journey is about personal pleasure or professional gain. Céline Cousteau – yes, she’s Jacques’ granddaughter – has been carrying on the family tradition of exploration. But her latest project, as Jane tells us, also calls attention to the plight of the tribes of the Amazon River Basin. Meanwhile, Patricia brings us the story of Greenwich’s Song family, who could be spending their free time soaking up the sun on a beach in the Seychelles but instead took a year off to volunteer at various nonprofits in South Africa and the Dominican Republic.
No power trip this but a journey of the heart.
Georgette Gouveia is also the author of the new novel “Water Music,” the first in her series “The Games Men Play.” For more on the book, series and related blog, visit thegamesmenplay.com.