It's a complicated thing to manage your travel life—when there's work travel, family travel, and, as our cover announces, trips that are romantic in nature and really just for two. I can't pretend to have done it all perfectly. After the almost obligatory Caribbean honeymoon in the late seventies (tame in comparison with the Southeast Asian idylls, African safaris, and round-the-world odysseys that my colleagues and friends are now undertaking), there was a driving vacation in Italy, from Florence to Bologna to Verona, with museums and restaurants along the way; a summer escape at an old-world hotel on Majorca, where we were by far the youngest guests; and, finally and fatefully, two years after our son was born, an archaeological tour of the Yucatán. On our return, the baby-sitter greeted us at the front door with Jamie in her arms, and his unwillingness to look at us, much less kiss us hello, convinced me that I would not again risk this kind of nonessential absence.
During the years that followed, we sampled family ski vacations with Jamie and his younger sister, Caroline; beach vacations; and the more far-flung and memorable trips that emerged from my profession and interests—including New Year's Eve in Chiang Mai, White Nights in St. Petersburg, and a private safari in Botswana. But my husband, John, and I were also traveling for work (on rare occasions, one of us would be called into action as a consort for the other's business trip), and we could not justify even one more day away from our children—till recently. Our stars were aligned during the weekend of our anniversary this fall: Caroline was away at college, Jamie was working in New York, and we were both in London for different events, with time to spare on either side of our obligations. We went to the theater, saw friends, shopped for shirts for John, and enjoyed being together—so much so that we're planning another trip for March, not organized around any mandatory travel, I'm pleased to say.
There are so many places to go, however, and I must admit that choosing one is both a pleasure and a weighty responsibility, given the investment of time, energy, and funds involved. I consider all my options endlessly and then zero in, frequently inspired by the places we cover in Travel + Leisure. Inspiration this month includes: the mountainous Asian kingdom of Bhutan, in the footsteps of New York Times reporter Guy Trebay; the hip and happening precincts of Sydney, that antipodean hot spot, as mapped out by Emma Sloley; the new Parker Meridien Palm Springs, designed by Jonathan Adler, which T+L's Los Angeles correspondent David A. Keeps surveyed for this issue; Chena Hot Springs, near Fairbanks, Alaska, even if, as Mark Jacobson's story suggests, it's too late for my family to reap some of the rumored benefits of witnessing the aurora borealis; or, more likely, one of the 50 romantic places outlined in our annual February package—just in time for Valentine's Day and for this new phase of my travel life.