Postcard from Doug: 2016 Year in Review
What a year 2016 has been! And during this, our 30th anniversary year, I’ve been very busy traveling.
The year started out with a very interesting winter trip to Siberia together with award-winning travel writer Sophy Roberts and photographer Michael Turek. Sophy later published wonderful articles in the Financial Times and Conde Nast Traveler, in which she gives shout-outs to MIR, as Siberian specialists.
I continued on this same journey overland to the capital of Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar, and then on to Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. I had a crazy flight path: First Seattle-Paris-Moscow-Irkutsk, then drive into Mongolia, then air to Bishkek. That flight was delayed by a day in Mongolia, due to weather on the Mongolian steppe. I ended up landing in Bishkek just in time to be driven directly to Almaty in Kazakhstan, to make a connection to Uzbekistan. Whew!
Off to Brazil for a few days for TravelWeek Sao Paolo – a luxury travel fair for our partners down south.
Next, I led our very exclusive Inside the Russian Space Program trip for our partner Smithsonian Journeys. An exciting time, with a perfect launch of the Soyuz to the ISS (International Space Station). Smithsonian is going to do it again in May, 2017!
Then I undertook a special inspection trip to Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan (including a revisit of Astana, Kazakhstan, transformed into a very modern city over the last few years).
Annie and I journeyed to PURE in Marrakech, Morocco, a luxury travel fair for our partners from around the globe in a fabulous setting.
From there I flew directly via London to Moscow for the next MIR Space trip: disappointingly, when I landed in Moscow, I learned that – for the first time since we’ve run this trip – the space launch was delayed and then cancelled. We made the best of it with several days of interesting Moscow visits, and pledged to try again for the next launch.
I headed back to Moscow and Baikonur for the rescheduled Soyuz launch on MIR’s Inside the Russian Space Program journey, and a great group of travelers returned, undaunted by our earlier attempt, to witness all the behind-the-scenes activity, and to see the Soyuz launch. It was worth the wait!
En-route home, we stopped for a few days in Brussels to attend the “Wine, Beer, Rebels” festival of French and Italian artisanal vine growers and Belgian brewers.
A typical travel year? In some ways, yes, and in others no. The number of journeys isn’t unusual for me, but some of the places and times of year were new and fresh. It’s always nice to get back to the places I know, to re-familiarize myself with the incredible draw of our destinations, remind myself of the beautiful sights, smells and sounds, and to re-connect with the fantastic people.
Wishing you all a happy holiday season and wonderful journeys in the coming New Year. Hope to see you on one of our exciting MIR journeys in 2017!
Top photo: Zipping around Lake Baikal on a snowmobile. Photo credit: Douglas Grimes
PUBLISHED: December 21, 2016