Why I Travel: Vicky Chen

Cape Town from the top of Table Mountain.
Cape Town from the top of Table Mountain.
Photo by Photo courtesy of Vicky Chen
Adrenaline, undiscovered gems, and the promise of a great spa gets the Chen family going.
I travel because the best moments in life happen when you’re seeing the world with the people you love. Why wouldn’t I travel?
As a younger kid, Kyle always asked to do the overnight safari at the zoo. We never did, but I planted the seed that the real thing might be way more adventurous. Two years ago, we went to South Africa, Zambia, and Botswana. Viewing the animals up close in their natural habitat was a humbling experience. Another highlight: zip-lining at Victoria Falls – terrifying, but when you go all that way with kids, you have to try it.
We visited Turks and Caicos for Gavyn’s high school graduation present. I was concerned he and Kyle might be bored to death. In the past, I’d always stayed at Amanyara just to sit and read by the water. With the boys, it had to be active. Krista recommended Grace Bay Club, where there’s stand-up paddleboarding, waterskiing, and more, yet it’s not one of those massive resorts.
Here’s what I’ll never forget from that trip: My older son was walking along the beach at sunset looking for shells. I just sat and watched. He was about to go off to college and yet all I could see was the 2-year-old and 6-year-old. He was so happy and focused. It was perfect.
Usually, I’ll do the preliminary research and then let Krista step in. She’ll say, ‘Here’s what I think you’re missing.’ She knows the secret places, the offbeat must-sees. In Cape Town, I would have hit Robben Island and the nearby vineyards. Krista sent us to this little neighborhood called Bo-Kaap with amazing, brightly colored houses and a tiny hole-in-the-wall restaurant we loved. I never would have known about it.
The Chens on the Great Wall.
The Chens on the Great Wall.
Photo by Photo courtesy of Vicky Chen
I remember arriving at Amangani in Jackson Hole for the first time and hearing, ‘Welcome home.’ Now that we’ve been back several times, I totally get it. It’s small, slightly out of the way, and they really treat you like family. My older son has a nut allergy, and at every meal he gets special bread and other dishes without even asking.
For my ultimate indulgence, I spa. Montage Laguna Beach is so serene, and its location overlooking the ocean is perfect. I go a few times a year for a facial and a massage and just to relax. I swear: Anything that’s wrong in your world, they can fix it.
My sister and I have a thing we do: The last time we talk before a trip, one of us will say, ‘Have a safe flight,’ and the other one replies, ‘It’s out of my hands.’
My dream is to see certain places before it’s too late – Antarctica, the Maldives, Cuba before the first Starbucks arrives.
Where next? “A girls’ trip to the French Riviera for my birthday, and possibly Bora-Bora or a
train trip through the Canadian Rockies with my sons.”

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