Passport To 50 – Charge It To Experience
A ROUND-THE-WORLD TRIP TO CREATE STORIES WORTH TELLING
by Sandy Tan
THE BEST TRAVEL EXPERIENCE BRINGS “A SYMPHONY OF HAPPENINGS THAT ALL COME TOGETHER AND BRING A FEELING OF HAVING LIVED TO SEE SOMETHING SPECIAL,” SAYS GREGORY PATRICK, FOUNDER OF DREAMMAKER, A BOUTIQUE EXPERIENTIAL TRAVEL AND EVENT COMPANY. Patrick began planning and organising highly personalised vacations and events in 1988, and eventually earned the moniker “dream maker” among his clients.
This year he is offering, for the first time, a trip to circumnavigate the globe in a private jet. The experience, called Passport to 50, will take place over 20 days in August, beginning in Koh Samui in Thailand and ending in Manila, Philippines. The itinerary also covers Siem Reap, Kathmandu, Agra, Florence, Siena, Cannes, Moulinet, London, Barcelona, Ibiza, and Marbella. It continues on to Marrakech, Havana, Knoxville, Kona, Pamalican Island, El Nido, and A Secret Island in the Philippines. Despite the myriad destinations, though, air travel time will take up only 12 per cent of the trip.
The prospective client, along with up to 50 friends and family members, will travel in a specially outfitted Boeing 767 and a Boeing BBJ Business Jet. Beyond ergonomic cabin features, on-board perks include a charity poker tournament with a globally top-ranked poker player, yoga sessions, a fashion show, and the services of a master sommelier. To counter in-flight fatigue, hypnotherapist April Norris developed a holistic in-flight program integrating wearable sleep technology with alternative wellness techniques such as hypnotherapy, Reiki healing, Ayurvedic medicine, and acupuncture.
Creating an immersive experience also requires consideration of cabin design — for example, having an unplugged artist on-board would require electronic solutions to reduce cabin white noise. Sound and lighting control help maintain the trip’s wellness standards. Privacy is essential, too, with the cabin featuring different zones for the entourage, the common areas, and the host’s sleeping quarters with private office, bathroom and bedroom. “It is irrelevant how big and beautiful your private jet is if you are unable to relax comfortably or get the required amount of sleep on the plane,” says Patrick.
“A TRIP TO CIRCUMNAVIGATE THE GLOBE IN A PRIVATE JET OVER 20 DAYS”
Passport to 50 travellers will enjoy personal assistance, with DreamMaker ensuring a one-to-one staff-to-guest ratio. Other elements include persuading hotels to enter into confidentiality agreements to secure rooms, arranging landing rights at different airports, and ensuring pilots were certified for difficult landings such as at Kathmandu. The itinerary was planned to minimise the bodily impacts of differences in weather and time zones, as well as to reflect the ‘50’ theme — receiving 50 monks’ blessings amidst an inundation of 50,000 lotus petals, for instance.
“Based on our experience over the past 28 years, a 50th birthday is always the one that means the most to the hosts,” Patrick says, explaining the significance of the number 50 as a theme. Another key highlight is philanthropy — distributing 2,500 bicycles to provide rural children in Cambodia access to school, providing clean drinking water for 50,000 at-risk children in the Philippines, and building ‘fun centres’ for 50,000 children battling life-threatening illnesses in the United Kingdom. “Philanthropy has evolved over the years… from arm’s length to something personal,” says Patrick. “You can immerse yourself into it instead of just talking about it.” The trip’s philanthropic partners include Water.org, Starlight Children’s Foundation, Make-a-Wish Foundation, and Whole Child International.
With Passport to 50 beginning and ending in Asia, Patrick hopes to see clients from emerging economic powers such as China. Most of all, he’s looking for travellers who “just want to be impressed” — people who “want to make the time count by doing something memorable… something that makes a story worth telling for many years”.
“DREAMMAKER ENSURES A ONE-TO-ONE STAFF-TO-GUEST RATIO”
As a lasting keepsake of the Passport to 50 experience, DreamMaker commissioned World of Diamonds Group to create a swizzle stick wrought in 18-karat gold for each guest. Patrick had the idea of crafting a conversation piece that is both unique and practical, not something one would hide away in a jewellery box. Each piece is designed with 21 round sparklers mounted on a swivelling globe — 20 colourless diamonds to represent the places included in the trip, and a rare 0.11 carat fancy blue diamond to evoke the blue skies traversed. The swizzle stick comes in a hand-stitched leather case with gold-plated engravings.