When Edward Norton thinks about a trip of a lifetime, his mind wanders back to Campi ya Kanzi, an eco-lodge in the Chyulu Hills of Kenya. “Every time I go I wish I had longer to spend there,” says the actor, who cherishes early morning walks there in the domain of zebras, giraffes, elephants, and lions.
“To be alone in nearly 300,000 acres of pristine wilderness with young Masai warriors guiding you is really a peak experience,” says Norton.
Travel + Leisure asked tastemakers and celebrities—from chef David Chang to fashion designer Michael Kors—to reflect on their ultimate travel experiences, and their answers are as eclectic as the people themselves. Each locale sheds a bit of insight into the person, and none is off limits.
Your next vacation might be inspired by former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who reminisced about the charms of her childhood hometown of Prague (pictured here), or by Vampire Weekend keyboardist Rostam Batmanglij, who took an overnight train through Rajasthan, India, and waxed poetic about a night sleeping in the desert under the stars.
Walter Isaacson, author and president of the Aspen Institute, feels a similarly powerful affinity with New Orleans, saying, “I inhale the mixture of humidity and magnolias, and it’s like Proust biting into the madeleine.’ He treasures biscuits in the courtyard of the Soniat House hotel, strolling along Chartres Street, and listening to jazz legends Charmaine Neville and Ellis Marsalis at Preservation Hall.
These notables often have the world at their well-connected fingertips, so it’s intriguing to learn which places have left an indelible impression. While no adventure is the same, each one is special and even transforming. Perhaps we can take a cue from novelist John Steinbeck, who said, “A journey is a person in itself; no two are alike...we do not take a trip; a trip takes us.”
Find out which places have already won over celebrities, and prepare to be taken. —Jeryl Brunner