For anyone who thinks planning a vacation is the worst part of a vacation, luxury tour operator Black Tomato has a new service called Get Lost. The service matches travelers with a travel consultant who crafts an under-wraps expedition to an exotic destination based on the client’s personality and travel desires. Travelers can chime in on the environment (polar, desert, jungle, coastal, or mountain) but they will not know where they are traveling to – or through.
“We want to create a sense of unknowing,” says Black Tomato co-founder Tom Marchant. “We’re always looking beyond just a destination and at what makes people tick when it comes to traveling. Why do people travel and what they are looking for? Increasingly, it occurred to us that people were looking for an escape when they travel – but not in terms of the conventional way, of just going somewhere far away – it’s actually like disconnecting from the real world.”
Disconnecting indeed. Beyond environment, all travelers will know ahead of time is the length of the experience and flight times. Everything else is a roll of the dice. Some might find that kind of ambiguity anxiety-producing, but for others, the unpredictable elements will be what make them feel alive. The experience is meant to be immersive, engaging, and immediate.
Get Lost is not just about going deep into foreign countries and seeing breathtaking landscapes, but challenging oneself physically and mentally. From the first “mind-blowing moment” when the traveler is dropped into the middle of a surprise destination by private jet or helicopter, “the focus is on you, among the elements, traversing through these landscapes,” Marchant says. If that sounds arduous, well, it might be. But it won’t be more than travelers can handle. Much of travel in-country will be on foot. At the end of the day, some travelers will be greeted by campsites that have been set up for them; others will arrive in local villages. Alternate accommodations can be arranged during the consultation.
Early research revealed that there isn’t a target demographic for Get Lost in the traditional marketing sense, but rather an attitude that lends itself to this kind of adventure. Curious people, couples seeking novelty, retirees stuck in a rut, or those with demanding careers looking to surrender the present moment will likely be drawn to Get Lost. Marchant also feels that both solo travelers and groups will benefit from these bespoke experiences. Those seeking solitude and an off-the-grid getaway will be alone and unreachable, while groups will enjoy bonding. “It’s about people having a shared experience with their friends or with their colleagues,” Marchant says. “I think we will see groups of people, at the end of a tough day at work, saying, ‘We need to go and get lost and have this adventure together and cool our wits.’”
Given that you’re going into this experience metaphorically blindfolded, one might wonder if it’s dangerous. “Safety is paramount,” reassures Marchant. Expert guides will always keep travelers within the line of sight and are available for constant support. “We are creating a framework to get lost within but all around it is the absolute top level of safety and support to make sure all risks are mitigated,” he says.
And at the end of it all, you will be rewarded. Get Lost is meant to be an “earned experience,” meaning Black Tomato sweetens the culmination of your journey with a luxury surprise, incredible event, or beautiful dinner to honor travelers’ triumphs before a personalized send-off.
It’s hard to pin down a price range on such a personalized travel package, but travelers can expect these Get Lost adventures to cost around $30,000 per person for a ten-day journey. The more production involved, the higher the price tag.
Expense aside, what have you got to lose? Only yourself – and your WiFi connection – it would seem.