It is indeed the most wonderful time of the year! I know it sure is at our house. My oldest daughter is home from college for a few weeks. My youngest is off school for a couple of weeks. My wife is off work for a few weeks. And we LOVE Christmas! I happen to work for myself so I don’t need to take official time off, but I love how most everything in my business world pauses for a couple of weeks at the end of the year. It’s a time full of wonder.
But what the heck is “wonder”?
It’s tricky to define. It’s elusive. It’s one of those things where you know it when you see it…or more appropriately, when you experience it…feel it. There is perhaps nothing more life-giving than to experience wonder. But, how can we set ourselves up to experience wonder year round, instead of just during the most wonderful time of the year?
Wonder…when you find yourself completely overwhelmed by something exciting, surprising, colorful, delicious, tuneful, beautiful, funny, inexplicable, shocking, huge, or joyful, your eyes grow big, your mouth drops open, your breath suspends and the rest of the world kind of disappears for a moment. You have no choice but to stand right where you are and just take it all in. Wonder is about experiencing more of the world, exploring it, and using it to stretch and expand our brains. It has a magical component to it. We can’t necessarily wrap our heads around the bigness of it all.
Wonder is a complex emotion involving elements of surprise, curiosity, contemplation, and joy. It is triggered by the beautiful, the rare, or unexpected.
Inspirato Pass is a luxury travel subscription. That is the core of the offering. But, as it continues to morph and evolve with Beyond Travel options, luxury suites at arenas and stadiums across the country, etc., it has grown into so much more than a subscription to luxury travel. There are options. There is flexibility. The scope of the offering is ever expanding. It’s a lot to digest.
That being said, how can we describe Inspirato Pass?
I think I’ve got it. After experiencing Inspirato Pass for over two years now, I’m finally able to wrap my arms around this thing and explain it, at least subjectively through our own family’s experience. And it goes like this…
Inspirato Pass – A Subscription to Wonder
I know this may seem like a stretch or sound a tad hyperbolic, but it’s true! Let’s start with the easy part; A subscription is something you pay for on a regular basis which provides recurring or continual value. Inspirato Pass is just that. The cost is $2,500 per month and it provides recurring value for the member. Easy enough. Now, the wonder part, well that’s a bit tougher to adequately describe and capture.
On the one hand, wonder is magical. It’s something we serendipitously stumble upon at times in life. It can’t always be planned or put on the calendar. On the other hand, we can absolutely seek it out. We can harness it. At the very least, we can create a context for wonder that we can ink onto our calendars. We can make every effort to make it a regularly occurring part of our families’ lives.
Inspirato Pass is a tool, or a framework to invite wonder into our lives as we explore the world. If you’re already a subscriber, you get this. You’ve lived it. If you’ve not yet pulled the trigger, allow me to share a number of ways that our family has experienced wonder with Inspirato Pass.
7 ways to wonder all year round with Inspirato Pass
Pelican Hill Resort, Newport Coast, CA
Our family’s favorite spot. Pelican Hill sits above the undeveloped and historic Crystal Cove State Park. We’ve enjoyed numerous stays at Pelican Hill over the past couple of years with Inspirato. Wonder abounds. Hikes on the nature trails on the cliffs above the ocean, body-surfing a big south swell at Crystal Cove just like when I was a kid, catching a Pacific sunset with my wife on our villa patio at the shank of the day, eating decadent Butter Cake at Mastro’s surrounded by family for a birthday celebration, watching our girls be filled with joy and living their best lives as they put on their resort robe and slippers to head down to the jacuzzi…it goes on and on. Our memories there are priceless and we look forward to building so many more.
We can experience wonder through special people as well. Our family’s friendship with Shelley (head concierge at Pelican Hill) has been nothing short of wonderful. Good and kind people filled with generosity can trigger wonder.
Lastly, we’ve been able to host some of our dearest friends at Pelican Hill. In June, we hosted a group of five families (23 people total)! It was perhaps our favorite vacation of all time! I generally write a post about each of our Inspirato trips, but this one was just felt too sacred to share about in detail. For all of us, it was like a week in Narnia. We introduced intentional elements of sharing and life coaching (for lack of a better term) into our time that had a most profound impact on our group, young and old alike. It was beautiful. This trip was a great example of how sometimes introducing intentionality and planning can be helpful as we look to discover wonder.
There’s the luxurious side of Aspen; the boutiques, the restaurants, the rich and famous (which is all fun and good), but the true wonder of Aspen is its natural majestic beauty. Having visited Aspen last fall on a guys’ trip, we hit it perfect for hikes, bike rides, and some incredible trail running. After riding electric bikes up to Maroon Bells from town, (actually still a challenging ride!) we watched a moose family, babies and all, walking through the pond. On an evening run through town, we bumped into a couple of bears just below Inspirato’s Buckhorn residence by the river trail. We hiked to spectacular vistas above the tree line and enjoyed the majestic mountain views. And we kicked off our shoes in the afternoon, sat on the patio, snacked on pretzels and drank a few IPA’s, completely spent from the days’ adventures. It was all wondrous.
The Sonoran desert is special. I’ve been fortunate to spend a good amount of time there the last few years. I love it, especially the mountain trails just down the road from the Inspirato residences at The Rocks. Running through the desert mountains between thousand year old Saguaro cactus feels primal. The desert sun and dry heat are so good for the soul, as are the post run jacuzzi soaks with iced adult beverages in hand.
Just over a year ago, our family was blessed to spend Thanksgiving week in Scottsdale with my dad. We enjoyed meals together, toured colleges together, sat by the fire together. We’d lost my mom just a few months prior and this proved to be a beautiful time together as a family. It was a time of needed rest and togetherness for all of us. Our Inspirato residence at The Rocks proved to be the perfect spot for this family time. We had much to be thankful for.
Deer Valley, UT
I’ve been able to do dad/daughter trips the last two winters with my girls at Stein Eriksen Residences. They have been nothing short of perfection. It’s not always the easiest thing for a dad to connect with his teenage daughters, and even tougher to experience any type of wonder. But, our trips have been just that. Riding chairlifts together in the driving snow. Tree skiing in areas that mom would in no way be okay with. Laughing together at the insane level of service at Stein Eriksen Residences. Having dinner at Wasatch Brew Pub on Main Street where I’d eaten so many times with my own parents growing up. Sushi dinner at the Montage as blizzard conditions made it nearly impossible to get back down to our residence. Following my girls onto ski jumps that my surgically repaired knees had no business contemplating. All things to simply cherish. Man, I hope we can make it back there this winter.
Los Cabos, Mexico
Last August we hosted my wife’s family in Los Cabos and our girls got to spend a full week at Casa Ola with their four girl cousins that they love lots but all too rarely see. We deep sea fished and hauled in some beautiful tuna which we then enjoyed as sashimi, ceviche, and tuna steaks. We ate street tacos at the best dang place in all of Los Cabos. The Al Pastor tacos that they sliced right of the rack were the best I’ve ever tasted, and Lord knows I’ve tasted a lot of tacos in my life. Our family had one evening out together just the four of us at Flora Farms. We still talk about that dinner and experience on a regular basis. It was that fun.
Casa Ola is enormous, with six bedrooms, one of which is a detached casita. Realizing that our family would likely not utilize this space, we were able to invite some dear life-long friends of my wife as well. And as fortune would have it, one of them is a fabulous professional photographer who was kind enough to shoot tons of photos of us and our activities throughout the week.
Perhaps the most wondrous times of this trip were when the entire group would naturally migrate to the jacuzzi late each evening and end up talking and laughing for hours and hours. There’s so much to catch up on when you live long flights away from some of your closest family and friends. Sometimes these most simple times are the most wonderful.
During the height of the COVID lockdowns, we did a few Inspirato cooking classes together. I particularly remember the four of us working together to whip up some delicious empanadas. It was simple. We were together. it was a bright spot during online school, work from home, isolation. And we crushed those empanadas! Things don’t need to be overly complex to deliver wonder sometimes.
Luxury Suite Staples Center – Lakers Game
Just a couple of months back, three life-long friends and I enjoyed an evening in the Inspirato suite at Staples center watching the Lakers home opener against the Warriors. We’ve been best of friends since kindergarten but see each other on very rare occasions these days. We caught up on life. We laughed about the old days. We watched Steph Curry drain 3’s like they were nothing. We watched Lebron just be Lebron. We drank some beers. Dang, that was a good night.
Avis Rental Car
What? Am I seriously contending that a rental car company can deliver wonder? Yes, yes I am. It’s remarkable how much we’ve enjoyed the Inspirato partner benefits with Avis as President’s and Chairman’s Club members. We now use Avis with all of our Inspirato and non-Inspirato trips alike. Just last month we were in Dallas and Waco visiting our daughter for the Baylor/Oklahoma football game (Baylor upset OU, students rushed the field, best game ever!). We had this brand new, giant Ford Expedition XL that we packed full of college students all weekend. We got to know our daughter’s new friends. We took them out to meals. They’re all freshman without cars so this was a big deal. And last year in Deer Valley, we had a 4-wheel drive Cadillac Escalade which allowed us to drive up and down the mountain roads with ease in the middle of snow storms as so many other cars were stuck on the roadside. We had a brand new Suburban in Dallas back in August that allowed us to pack in the exorbitant amount of items that my daughter had to move into her college dorm room. These travel details mean a lot and have been surprisingly wonderful.
So, there you have it. Inspirato Pass is a subscription to wonder. There is real existential value to being an Inspirato Pass subscriber. Does this all seem a bit too sappy and exaggerated? Sappy, maybe. I’m pushing 50 and sappy seems to be coming with the territory. But exaggerated, absolutely not. Inspirato Pass has been that great for us, and I’m not even coming close to capturing all that we’ve experienced with Inspirato Pass.
Don’t get me wrong, Inspirato Pass is by no means required to live a life filled with wonder. Anyone can make the above type of experiences happen with extensive creativity, planning, intentionality, and diligence. For most of us though, the reality is that we just won’t do all of that on our own. We don’t have the time, energy, or even the know how. And that’s okay.
Inspirato Pass does all of that for us. It provides the perfect context to live and experience a life of wonder all year round alongside those you love most. All that’s left for us to do is keep our eyes, ears, hands, and taste buds open.
I’m not sure what could possibly be more rewarding than investing in wonder…in experiences that will create life-long and life-giving memories and bonds. Wonder changes us. It expands our minds and souls. It is a direct affront to anxiety and stress. Wonder is that place we just want to sit in as often as possible, for as long as possible. It’s not the norm. it’s not the grind. It’s all the moments that will mean the most when we reflect on life.
So that’s what Inspirato Pass is. It started as a luxury travel subscription and continues to evolve into a subscription to wonder. Luxury travel will remain the driving component, but to leave it at that does not do it justice.
So, let’s get out there and experience the most wonderful time of the year all year round in 2022!
Okay, for the moment I gotta get back to the grind and wrap up my real world work for 2021. May you all be blessed and experience wonder this holiday season and into the new year!
And feel free to explore here to read more about all of our wonderful experiences with Inspirato Pass. After two years, it feels like we’re still just getting started!
Credit to this article for helping to define wonder – https://humanparts.medium.com/how-to-experience-wonder-as-a-grown-up-753904635456
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