Stay dream believing

During lockdown, we dreamed of other skies.

We’ve always been daydreamers. On hot, airless afternoons in school rooms and offices. During interminable commutes and unending traffic jams. Through long, winter nights when we’ve lost track of time. To daydream is to long for something out of reach, to travel in your mind. It is an act of teleportation; of raw, neurochemical magic.  

During the depths of lockdown, that act of daydreaming — of ‘stay dreaming’ — was more important than ever before. When we couldn’t act out our travel dreams, we could indulge them. To ‘stay dream’ was to stay where we are while our minds journey to the edges of the earth. It is a reprieve from isolation; a salve to the same-same. It is the shape of hope; and something that is free in every sense of the word. It costs nothing. It is constrained by nothing. 

So together, let’s stay dream believing.


Maria is stay-dreaming of Dartmoor, England

As the initial novelty of what I naively thought could be a simpler life of cooking, cleaning and working start to wear thin, I’ve taken to daydreaming while on my early morning walk. I imagine myself returning to the place that enables me to feel completely refreshed, with my mind at peace.  That place is DartmoorThe first time I was introduced to the wild heaths and woodlands of the moors (made all the more extraordinary by the wild ponies roaming freely), I found it hard to believe I was only four hours away from London.  I find myself longing to return with my husband who first introduced me, to walk for hours and not bump into another soul, to see the vast expanse of sky and to feel the rain, wind and sun on my skin.  Whilst there are so many other parts of the world that I still haven’t seen and am itching to explore, I’ll be more than content when the day comes – hopefully soon – that I can escape to this magical place. 

Maria Pajares, Managing Director of Mason Rose 

Tom is stay-dreaming of the Galápagos

During lockdown I—like many—have been reflecting on some of my favourite adventures and my mind constantly wanders back to the Galápagos Islands. I had huge expectations for this place. And not only did it deliver – it exceeded them. The islands are full of experiences that will stay with me forever. Everything from snorkelling with a colony of Sea Lions to watching the Marine Iguanas sunbathe before heading into the ocean for the days feed. When you combine volcanic beauty and remoteness, with the incredible guides to bring the wildlife and the history of the islands to life, there really is nowhere like it in the world and I can’t wait to return.

Tom Pyman, Travel Expert at Black Tomato 

Rob is stay-dreaming of . . . a lot of places

I dream of travel anywhere – new or old. It broadens and humbles. It helps us to press reset.

Recently I have been really focussed on sharing moments with my family, and they all revolve around wilderness activities with my three sons. Searching for virgin powder in the North West fjord region of Norway – and ski touring through true wilderness with remote hills all to your own, with Max. sleeping in a hammock in the rainforest of  Borneo with Fred – is something we’ve jointly dreamed of for weeks. And with Ben, we dream together of summiting a peak in the Himalayas. Looking across that vista knowing we have been challenged together and achieved together. Can you imagine experiencing all of this with your family? I dream of it every day.

 P.S. Would love Sophia, my wife, to be there too – in case you were wondering. 

Rob Murray-John, Travel Expert at Black Tomato 

Alys is stay-dreaming of Croatia

Croatia. It feels like home to me now. My fiancé is Croatian and his family have a villa just north of Split. The villa is 50 metres from the sea, and the water is crystal clear where you can see a ton of giant clams and sea urchin. I like to think that somewhere familiar seems comforting at this time as it brings back fond memories but can be a place to start new ones. There are over 1000 islands in Croatia and renting a boat to get to one of them is not a hard challenge. I love to drink a beer called Karlovačko whilst watching the sun set. I don’t think there is anything more wonderful than playing cards, with a beer in hand whilst the sun goes down. 

Alys Colayera, Travel Expert at Black Tomato 

Brett is stay-dreaming of the Maasai Mara

The click of my keyboard and I close my eyes and imagine it is the click of my camera, looking out at the savannahs of the Greater Maasai Mara.  Endless colours that the eye, and the heart, can hardly fathom.  Kenya always provides a sense of discovery—from the prides of lions, to the herds of elephants and most importantly, to rediscover myself.  I love the complete and utter immersion in nature, knowing that we certainly do not rule the planet.  I can almost hear the roar of the lions signalling the night’s hunt or as a wake-up call at dawn. 

Brett Armitage is chief commercial officer for Kerzner International 

Sunil is stay-dreaming of Switzerland

This time has been a period to reflect and I cant help but think back to 2019 when I was lucky enough to visit Switzerland on a few occasions all part of the dedicated research a Black Tomato Travel Expert must begrudgingly undertake. Peaceful, calm, quaint but forever breathtaking this country is never rushed and always elegant. I’ve always been a train enthusiast so to be in the land they run like clockwork is an addiction! A trip to Gstaad and Verbier, across to summit the Matterhorn, the clean fresh air still lingering in my nose as are a few bruises from sledding back down a chunk of it! The opulent 5 course spring experience on the Glacier Express from Zermatt to St Moritz trialling the new Excellence Class (topped even the VSOE London-Venice for me!) and boating on the lake at Montreux for some old fashioned charm on shores which have been home to Charlie Chaplin, Audrey Hepburn, Albert Einstein, Winston Churchill, Coco Chanel, Freddie Mercury- with the dramatic mountain backdrop and crystal clear water – you can see why. The descent into Montreux on the Golden Pass from Gstaad will take your breath away and why not make it this spring you give it a try?

Sunil Metcalfe, Travel Expert at Black Tomato

Carolyn is stay-dreaming of an East African safari

Living a continent away from my extended family, I’m dreaming of the next time we’ll be travelling as an entourage of ten – two parents, two daughters, two husbands, four grandchildren.  To celebrate my parents’ upcoming 50th wedding anniversary, we’ve got an East African safari in our sights – right now we’re thinking of starting at Giraffe Manor for my giraffe-obsessed six-year-old, then on to Angama Mara or Singita Grumeti for the wildlife lovers, and finishing up on the beach at Alfajiri for the water babies.  We did a similar trip to Southern Africa celebrating my parents’ 35th anniversary, which was magical – we can’t wait to be back in the bush seeing the incredible animals and landscapes; plus this time, with kids in tow, we know the sense of wonder will only be heightened. 

Carolyn is our head of product at Black Tomato  

Tanya is stay-dreaming of LA Colombe D’or

I am dreaming of going to La Colombe D’or in St Paul de Vence; a destination we’ve shared as a family for 25 years. 

We always have room 37 which has a huge private terrace and it is overlooking the iconic pool.  I am dreaming of the Hors d’oeuvres at lunch with a bottle of Rose sitting on Table number 1 with our back against the wall so we can see everyone that comes in and out of the hotel and the restaurant.   This was the table that Simone de Signori and Yves Montange had every day for lunch and dinner when they lived at the hotel in the 1950’s.   

This is a hotel with a soul – and it encapsulates everything I love.  The welcome is legendary, the food beyond delicious (but very simple) and the location as near perfect as you can get in Provence.  

Tanya Rose CEO & Founder of Mason Rose 

Valerie is stay-dreaming of Peru

Even though I have lost count of the amount times I’ve been to the northern beaches of Peru, it is one of the only places in the world I would go back every year. There is something really special about that place, it might not have the crystal clear waters and white sands that beaches at Costa Rica or Australia might have, but the good, happy and peaceful vibes I’ve found along the north shore, I have not felt anywhere else. I dream about being at Señora Manuela’s humble home at Organos beach, laying in a hammock and zipping on an ice cold Pilsen while indulging in a good old traditional seafood ceviche, watching the whales dance and jump in the deep blue waters close to the shore of Punta Sal, swimming at Vichayito’s beautiful and warm waters, or maybe at Lobitos, surfing and meeting amazing souls that are changing the world with their NGO initiatives.  

I am a big fan of solo travel, however, if there is a destination I like sharing with loved ones is the northern coast of my beautiful country, Peru. Especially now, such a dreamy and perfect escape to share after being separated of our friends and family for so long. 

Valerie is our on the ground partner in Peru 

Ignacio is stay-dreaming of Spain

My number one thing to do after this is over is to travel again. I miss it so muchIf I had to blink my eyes and wake up in any place, it would clearly be in Formentera . . . chilling on Ses Palmador beach, watching the sunset, walking barefoot. I travel to Formentera every year. Its our best-kept secret here in Spain, with its turquoise waters, the absence of tourismand best sunsets ever. It’s probably one of the best places in the world simply to be lazy in. 

After all, you don’t need many things here. Just a Mehari (traditional car in Formentera). You’ll need to remember to forget your shoes in your villa (this is all about barefoot living). And then, a traditional wooden boat – with a cold rosé waiting for you to chill and wait for the sunset. 

Ignacio is our on the ground partner in Spain  

Aldo is stay-dreaming of Cuba

While reading my book and enjoying a glass of wine in the Mediterranean garden here at Borgo Egnazia, I’m travelling with my eyes open and my mind flies to my best holiday memories with my family. So, I teleport myself with the same glass of wine in front of a sunset in the south-west coast of Cuba aboard Imagine, the fascinating sailboat which is part of our collection. There are no other boats in sight for days, across this incredible and pristine sea and beaches. In the evening there are no lights onshore, only the moon and the stars. I feel alive and free. Sailing in remote places is the ultimate and best social distancing for me! 

Aldo Melpignano, Co-founder of Borgo Egnazia in Puglia, Italy 

Jos is stay-dreaming of Kenya

I have so many and all for different reasons. Am I allowed to blend them all into one ‘super-dream’?  Ok, probably not.  In that case, I pick Kenya – because it has a little bit of everything.  I dream from my memories – of Ol Lentille sitting on the rocks meeting a family of hyraxes as the sunset over the peak we’d just climbed.  I dream of all the amazing people we met.  I dream of the sun hitting my skin as I horse-rode alongside giraffes and elephants.  I dream of the space and the views from Angama Mara’s where you feel like you’re looking down on the whole world.  And I dream of swimming, feeling the cold currents of the Indian Ocean along Diani – beach before collapsing into the heavenly Alfajiri Villa to be welcomed by Ephraim’s smile and Fabrizio’s cooking. 

Jos is our global head of marketing and PR


Alex is stay-dreaming of Sicily

I’d begun to plan our family vacation to Sicily this summer, and as happens when you start saving links and dropping pins onto maps, a destination coalesces: the hidden passageways and shabby grandeur of the cathedrals of Palermo. Strolling around the sun-baked, honey-colored tufo of Noto while licking one more gelato. The market in Ortigia, with its piles of ripe tomatoes and peaches. Plates of scampi pasta and platters of sardines washed down with Vermentino overlooking piercingly blue grottoes. I wish we could get there, but I’ll have to hold these phantasmal almost-memories in my mind’s eye for another year. 

Alex Postman, Editor at Large Conde Nast Traveler 

Nora is stay-dreaming of New Zealand

When the pandemic hit, I was in the middle of planning a trip to New Zealand. For the past two years, I’ve written about Paparoa National Park for the New York Times, Christchurch and The Lindis for AFAR and the South Island’s Coastal Pacific train for Travel + Leisure. However, I am still yet to visit; 2020 was the year to take me there. I fantasize of fly-fishing for trophy trout in the Southern Alps, trekking outsized bluffs on the Paparoa Track, waking up to stillness in the glassy Kahutara PurePod, and exploring Christchurch’s Māori culture I’ve read so much about. As I do, I’m delighting in one of the most exciting aspects of travel that has been getting lost in our instant-gratification culture: anticipation. I know I’ll get there one day, but I’m savouring the dreaming in the meantime.

Nora Walsh, freelance writer

Missy and Drew are stay-dreaming of African safari and the Seychelles

Our family of five have been dreaming of an African safari. Two years ago we visited Botswana, South Africa and the Seychelles, and from the moment we hit the dirt landing strip in the prop plane (stirring up sleeping zebra and a flock of birds), we were in awe at its beauty.  You could almost hear the Circle of Life playingThe entire experience – the camps, the game drives and getting to know the people was amazing. As we plan our 50th birthdays trip, we can’t wait to return.

Missy and Drew are clients of Black Tomato 

Cary and Fay are stay-dreaming of Kenya

Cary dreams of a game drive in the African bush, smelling wild sage and listening to a ring-necked dove advising him to “work harder” or “drink lager” (depending on the time of day) and anticipating what creatures we’ll discover next. 

Fay dreams of lying by a fire under the stars in the hills of Kenya, listening to the sounds of the nearby lions as she nestles into her sleeping bag. 

We have a trips to Madagascar and Namibia planned for September. And we will return to Africa. 

Cary and Fay are clients of Black Tomato


Rosie is stay-dreaming of Mexico

In lockdown, I’ve been creating photo albums I’d never had time for – and it’s made me extremely nostalgic about my travels. It got me dreaming of an incredible trip to Mexico which I took with a group of friends two years ago. I feel lucky recalling memories of the time we spent on Isla Holbox – lazy days exploring the island by bike to catch sight of the flamingos, paddle boarding in the idyllic waters and swimming with whale sharks (something which had been on my bucket list for years). Fresh ceviche, empanadas, and the very best frozen margaritas on the beach with friends. Being taught how to salsa in the local bar at night – these are things I’ll never take for granted again. I can’t wait for a time when we can return. But, for now, In lieu of that, attempts to recreate the frozen margaritas and happily reminiscing over a zoom call with those friends is as close as we’ll get.

Rosie is Head of Client Relations at Black Tomato.


Maggie is stay-dreaming of Nimmo Bay

My dream is of our sea plane landing in Nimmo Bay and the wonderful greeting we received …suddenly feeling like we were part of the family – a family with the most amazing hospitality, scenery and wildlife.  And what wildlife … whales, dolphins, orcas and bears. To have the privilege of watching a mother bear feed her three cubs is something dreams are made of. Seldom do we return to a place, but we know that we will return to Nimmo Bay, and once again sit by the campfire at the end of the day, sipping on incredible wine and enjoying the serenity of an evening under the stars.

Maggie and her family are
clients of Black Tomato.


Carrie is stay-dreaming of Lake Como, Italy

It’s the last place I travelled to before quarantine, and rightly so—it’s my happy place. Each time I’m there I learn something new about myself, reframe my priorities and find more things to love on the lake. While most go to Italy to indulge, for me it’s a mix. I love going for long walks along the lake and in the mountains, sitting in quaint cafes, and enjoying aperitivo with friends in town as much as I love enjoying cocktails on the terrace of Grand Hotel Tremezzo, and enjoying leisurely dinners at some of my favorite restaurants, like Al Veluu and La Tirlindana. My absolute favorite activity is taking a boat out and scouting all the stunning villas along the lake, which I tend to do with my dear friends Rachel and Taimar of The Lake Como Wedding Planner, who are based there year-round.

Carrie Goldberg, weddings & travel director at 



Dan is stay-dreaming of Thailand

I find myself dreaming of the remote mountain roads in Mae Hong Son Province, in Northern Thailand. Last rainy season my girlfriend and I bicycled roads that straddled the rainforests of the Thai-Myanmar border. In the morning, when the rains stop, there’s a coolness to the air, and a silver glimmer in the skies. On two wheels this is heaven, especially passing rice paddies, water buffalo ploughing fields, small wooden homes and the quiet riverside villages that Thailand is famous for. We count those three days on the road as one of our best vacations ever. 

Dan is our on-the-ground partner in Thailand.

Matt is stay-dreaming of the Maldives

More than anywhere else, my dreams have been turning to the islands and atolls of the Maldives. In fact, we should be there now – the pandemic having scuppered our plans, as they have for so many others. As a family, we’d been steadily building our excitement with maps and charts of these incredibly mysterious little island worlds; accessed by seaplane and sailed between by boat. And because it would be my first time, my dreams have been those of pure and joyous speculation. Fed by the stories of other travellers, of photos and (ever more frequent) internet searches. Needless to say, we’ve already rebooked it for Easter 2021.

Matt is a co-founder of Black Tomato.

Tom is stay-dreaming of Iceland

Sat at my desk, looking at my blue screen, I close my eyes and dream of a different blue. The crashing, roaring, refreshing blue of the waterfalls you come across as you explore the coast and interior of my favourite place on earth – Iceland. And it’s not just the blue that I dream of. It’s the freshness of the air, the wonder of the landscape, the sense of freedom to explore, the deep immersion in the best of nature’s offerings. I will return but for now, and whilst I exist in a far more restricted, digital and superficial environment I will settle for dreaming of this special place.

Tom is a co-founder of Black Tomato.

James is stay-dreaming of Jordan

Over the past few weeks, my dreams have turned to Wadi Rum in Jordan; that legendary valley of ancient granite and towering sandstone. I travelled there only last November with my brother to celebrate his 50th; a place I’d dreamed of going since I was young. Sometimes, places fail to live up to the intensity of our expectations. It happens. But this did not happen with Wadi Rum. No. It was vast, epic, monumental. You could feel the ages in the stone and the sand and the earth around you. But what really made it were the people; sharing that time with my brother and our guides, sleeping under canvas and waking to those sharply clear desert mornings. So this is where I think of when I close my eyes.

James is a co-founder of Black Tomato.