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The Adventures of Your Life
Your entire life should be an adventure, full of all the surprises, new experiences, and unpredictability that the idea implies. But you can't just wait for the excitement to come to you. You need to go after it, do some planning, even schedule your spontaneity. As paradoxical as it may seem, the best things happen when you put yourself in the right places at the right times with the right people. The possibilities are endless, but with the pages ahead, you'll be off to a running start.
Love & Marriage
SAY YOU WILL (18-92 Years Old)
It doesn't hurt to have a splendid environment for proposing marriage, especially if the answer is, "Are you nuts?" in which case you better make sure it's a staggeringly splendid environment with a very good bar. Consider carefully before choosing a location, like a cliff top, that could become a lasting metaphor for big decisions and enduring commitments. (You don't want to be talking about "falling off the edge" every time the road turns bumpy.) A burst of the exoticcolorful characters, foreign cultures, and aromatic foodsalways enhances the mood. "Choose a place that resonates with the relationship," says nationally syndicated radio host and relationship adviser Dr. Joy Browne. "But don't go overboard. Be prepared for anything, even bad weather. These things are emotional enough as it is."
Here's Looking at YouJUST MARRIED! (18-92 Years Old)
La Gazelle D'Or hotel ($625; www.gazelledor.com), hidden in Morocco, southwest of Marrakech, has lavish rooms for flirtatious lounging, private terraces for intimate breakfasts, and rose-lined pathways perfect for popping the question. Sooth your pre-proposal nerves with a traditional hammam massage and clay body mask at the on-site spa. Then (once you've pledged your heart) celebrate by renting a 4x4 in Marrakech and weaving through the Atlas Mountains toward the ancient walled cities at Fss. There, spend a few days wandering the bazaars and a few nights unwinding at the tranquil Riad Norma ($130; www.riadnorma.com).
Alleppey, a bustling village on India's Malabar coast, goes by "the Venice of the East" because of the sinuous network of canals that carve through its streets. Board a traditional bamboo-roofed houseboat, or kettuvallam, ($125 a night; www.keralatourpackages.com) in place of a hotel room and set out into the surrounding Kerala district to explore 44 rivers and endless meandering waterways across lush green rice paddy fields and through dense tropical coconut groves. With its abundant water and tropical air, Kerala has the perfect climate year-round: sultry. A captain and cook will accompany you, but you needn't fear for privacy; the plush and dimly lit private quarters make an excellent, secluded spot for proposing.
The walkway along the harborfront of Havana, called the Malectn, is one of those everyday public places that nevertheless vibrates with the possibility of the extraordinary, from the sensational waves that burst over the seawall, to a young woman singing a cappella at sunset, to, well, you, clutching a ring and taking a knee. Stay at the 27-room Hotel Santa Isabel ($200; +53 7 860 8201), near the Plaza de Armas. At present, Cuba remains off-limits to American citizens, but if you're crazy enough to find your way there, the romance of Havana can be well worth the risks.
Most adventurers we know advise eloping, and we agreewhy not turn your wedding into an excuse for spur-of-the-moment travel? If eloping's not an option, we still recommend holding the ceremony at a location that encourages your guests to prove they're as committed as you are. "Destination weddings are the current trend," says Marcy Blum, one of New York City's premier wedding producers. "Instead of just one night with an unmanageable wedding party, people are opting for three or four nights with 20 to 40 really good friends," explains Blum, who organized weddings for Tom Clancy and Kevin Bacon. "Good friends understand it is a commitment, but they are willing to go the extra mile."
So Cool, It's HotFLY ME TO THE MOON (18-92 Years Old)
The Icehotel in Jukkasjorvi, Sweden (85 miles or 136 kilometers) north of the Arctic Circle) is created each winter, melts each May, and is rebuilt when snow falls againnot a bad metaphor for a healthy, ever-renewing relationship when you think about it. Constructed of 30,000 tons of snow and 1,200 tons of crystal ice, the shimmering hotel ($840 for a deluxe suite; www.icehotel.com) features more than 85 rooms, an ice theater, an ice bar, and, of course, an ice wedding chapel. The deluxe rooms are decorated with ice sculptures (no two alike) and guests sleep in thermal sleeping bags atop reindeer skins on beds made from snow and ice. Wedding guests can ice-fish or dog-sled while the bridal party primps for the ceremony; after the "I-do's," toast with a bit of Danish Aalborg aquavit.
How Deep Is Your Love?
Just off the coast of Maui, under 60 feet (18 meters) of crystal-blue water, the Reverend Eve Hogan concludes her wedding ceremonies with a gesture that means, "You may now remove your regulator and kiss the bride." Hogan's dive company, Maui Underwater, has been conducting underwater weddings for five years ($1,000, www.mauiunderwater.com). Request yours inside magnificent lava structures known as the Cathedrals. Shafts of light break through cracks in the Cathedrals' rock walls, shining on the bride, the groom, and whatever guestsmanta rays, sharks, sea turtleshappen to be swimming by. If your in-laws complain about such an off-the-deep-end approach to such a serious occasion, tell them about Hawaii's other underwater wedding chapel: the Maui Ocean Center's shark tank.
Don't Ever Come Down
How about a mountain wedding for which your party rides a gondola three miles (5 kilometers) to and from the ceremony? Near the top of Aspen Mountain at the Aspen/Snowmass resort, five-star The Little Nell hotel (www.thelittlenell.com) maintains a small amphitheater with sweeping views of the Rockies that hosts about 75 wedding ceremonies each summer. After the vows, hold your reception nearby at the Sundeck Lodge, 11,212 feet (3,417 meters) above sea level. The Little Nell will take care of the gourmet eats and drinks, but you may need a second bar: one with oxygen to compensate for the elevation.
If you can arrange it, take a minimum of two, or more like four, months for your honeymoon. Wander beaches and climb mountains, sleep in luxurious suites with ocean views (the wedding kitty must be squandered, not carefully saved), and huddle next to each other in a double-wide sleeping bag. Chances are you'll only be able to spare a week or two. That's all right. With the right attitude, a trip of any length will be an epic celebration. "Adopt a philosophy that anything that happens is an opportunity to learn about how to rely on each other," says Michele Weiner-Davis, marriage counselor and author of several best-sellers on enriching a marriage. "Starting with the honeymoon, compromise is key. You shouldn't be competing or keeping score."
Just the Two of UsWant to plan an insta-trip without any hassles? Pick up the April 2005 issue of Adventure.
Imagine waking up each honeymoon morning to Patagonia's Paine Massifthe most dramatic mountain range in the worldvisible right through your window. Sure, the towering granite promontories and reflective blue lakes will make you feel small, but they'll remind you how glad you are to have each other. You'll also have the luxuries of Torres del Paine's premier base camp, the Hotel Salto Chico ($1,182 for three nights; www.explora.com), at your beck and call. Fashioned from native lengua and cypress woods, the hotel rests on the turquoise shore of Lago Pehoá. Spend a day glacier-trekking on Glacier Grey and make sure to hike to Refugio Chileno, from where you'll set off to climb a moraine and watch the first astonishingly orange streaks of dawn light upon the Torres's exalted walls.
Wunderbar in Zanzibar
Tanzania's your best choice for an African honeymoon two-for-one combo: a classic safari vacation and a traditional white-sand retreat. First, fly to the city of Arusha and transfer to the five-star Ngorongoro Wildlife Lodge ($445; www.ngorongoro.co.tz). Perched on the rim of the 2,493-foot-deep (760 meter) crater, the lodge will serve as your jumping off point for forays among the lions, elephants, rhinos, leopards, and buffalo that live below. Once you've had your fill of the Big Five, return to Arusha for a flight to Zanzibar, the legendary spice island 20 miles (32 kilometers) off Tanzania's east coast. Spend a few days wandering the piquant streets of Old Stone Town, indulging in seafood barbecue stalls and Konyagi, the local spirit. Then, finish your trip at the Nungwi Village Beach Resort ($130; www.nungwivillage.com), set on the secluded beaches of Zanzibar's north coast.
Feelin' Fine in Fiji
If Jacques Cousteau had had it as good as his son, Jean-Michel, he may never have explored anything other than the electric blue waters right outside his front door. Jean-Michel's Fiji Islands Resort ($480, includes meals and most activities; www.fijiresort.com) is a retreat befitting of paradise25 bures (private, thatch-roof bungalows) set on 17 acres (7 hectare) of a coconut plantation that borders the calm waters of Savusavu Bay. Spend a day just unwinding on the sand and then enlist the resort's full-time marine biologist to lead you to a slew of secret dive sites, or make like Jane and Tarzan at a nearby rain forest waterfall. In the evening, get side-by-side massages and indulge in candlelight dining at the end of the resort's private pier. But remember: Even a trip to paradise requires a little planning. Reserve the Honeymoon Point Reef Bure, which has a private hot tub overlooking the sea.
From the print edition, April 2005
Rediscovering Libya: Writer Kira Salak explores the country's wonders
The Tsunami Volunteers: Writer Matthew Power finds a sliver of redemption in the disaster's wake. Plus, how you can lend a hand
Weird Science: Edward Norton talks about hermaphrodite frogs and a new NG TV series on PBS
Pelton's World: Fresh from the Green Zone, Pelton takes a cruise
100th Birthday: Explorer Col. Norman Vaughan's big plans
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