Vacation Architect

Barry Murphy

Member Since: 2005
Age: 64
Home: Napa, California
Just Back From: Antarctica
On the Itinerary: The Galapagos


How many Exclusive Journeys have you gone on?

Eight and we have two more scheduled. The more exotic the destination, the better.


What has been a wow moment from Exclusive Journeys?

We traveled with Exclusive Journeys to Japan. It was our first time visiting the country. One night Exclusive Journeys arranged entertainment and dinner. We all had to where kimonos but you can’t put them on yourself because they are so intricately layered so each of us had a fitter helping us get dressed. It felt like a costume party, but it wasn’t. It was culturally important. With the kimono I realized that you are forced to take little steps and you can’t bend down because of the layers. When you see the Japanese serve tea on their knees it is because they physically can’t bend over and pour standing up. You realize a social norm is enforced by the outfit. A geisha spent the evening with us and we could ask her anything through a translator. If we’d traveled alone we would not have been talking to a geisha during dinner. The inside access Exclusive Resorts provides makes every trip life changing.


As foodies, what has been a culinary highlight from your Exclusive Journeys travels?

In Japan we did an immersive eating tour, hitting both food stalls and high-end spots. We ate delicious kuwayaki donburi, which is fried pork over rice, with beers for lunch. We went to Tokyo’s famous Tsukiji Market where we had private access to a 15-seat counter and the chef served us course after course of sushi and sashimi. Then we went to a ryokan, a country inn, and had an insanely elaborate ten-course meal. I’d never had food so elaborate. It was like artwork.


How has Exclusive Journeys pushed your boundaries?

When we travel with Exclusive Journeys we collect new life experiences. Every trip is full of cultural learning. In Japan we learned when it was appropriate to wear shoes. We learned about the simple, self-denying lifestyle of Buddhist monks in Myanmar.


How has Exclusive Journeys changed your life?

You get to know people on a more profound basis when you travel with them for eight or nine days and are sharing these incredible experiences that only Exclusive Journeys could make happen. We’ve found that each trip we do now, we always know three or four people from past Exclusive Journeys. It feels like a reunion with our Exclusive Resorts tribe. We just booked the Galapagos for next year and a guy we became buddies with on the Myanmar trip who lives in Ft. Lauderdale is going too.


What has Exclusive Resorts checked off your bucket list?

Antarctica was like going to another planet. The landscape was grey and silver with shades of blue. There was no green anywhere. We loved the nothingness of the landscape, but I think you have to be a certain type of person to enjoy that for seven days in a row. We found it stunning. Exclusive Journeys arranged for tons of experts to be onboard the ship with us—there was the penguin guy, the whale guy, the iceburg guy. There was also a National Geographic photographer aboard so every night before dinner he’d do a photo recap for us.