At the time of year when crowds swarm department stores and people line up for hours to get the latest gadget, at The Slow Road we find ourselves especially grateful for those things that can’t be bought in stores: the experiences we’ve had in our travels, the people who have welcomed us into their worlds and the wine we’ve tasted along the way. (OK, maybe that last one can be bought in stores—some stores, anyway.)

If you’re looking to give the special person in your life a gift as unique as they are, allow us to present a few ideas for an experience they’ll never forget.

Our Travel Gift Guide

Give Them an Experience They’ll Never Forget!

Sip Barbaresco in its Natural Habitat
In Piemonte, Angelo Gaja revolutionized Barbaresco winemaking (and with it, winemaking across all of Italy). Today his daughter Gaia carries his torch with inimitable style. They say the Guinness tastes better in Ireland—as it turns out, the Barbaresco tastes better in Gaja’s cellar.

Time Travel
“It’s the Southeast Asia that everybody thinks about when they go to Vietnam or Cambodia, but that doesn’t exist there anymore.” That’s how our friend Tyler Dillon describes Myanmar, a place that will transport you back in time. (And you don’t have to take our word for it when we say he would know.)

Fence in Medieval Castles
Those who think chivalry is dead have never been to France’s Loire Valley. There, our friend Ruby van Oeveren offers private fencing lessons that will transport your brood to a chivalrous age. Spend the afternoon in sanctioned battle with your siblings or en garde with your mom.

Stand with the Gods
It’s impossible to say for sure what function Peru‘s Machu Picchu played in its heyday. Whether it was a religious outpost, a defensive site, a convent of Incan nuns or an observatory to the heavens remains an unsolved mystery, but one word describes it regardless its purpose: transcendent.

Find Your Roots
While only 4.5 million people occupy the Emerald Isle, it’s estimated that upwards of 100 million people across the globe claim Irish descent. (Why else would Guinness be a staple of pubs around the world?) But it’s one thing to drink green beer on St. Patty’s day and declare yourself Irish; it’s another to feel your lineage come to life.

Gaja photo courtesy Mark Mitchell

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