The gift of adventure


This year, as has been a tradition in previous December issues, we asked people featured in the magazine to tell us the best and worst presents they’ve ever received.

After reading the responses, some of which are featured on this page, others of which will appear on social media throughout December, it got me thinking about gifts I’ve gotten over the years.

Bear with me as I get a bit nostalgic.

When we’re young, all we want are the newest, hippest toys that all our friends had or were also asking for. Among the coolest gifts I can remember getting were a boom box, Cabbage Patch kid, Barbie Corvette and a fishing pole (yes, in a former life, I loved fishing).

In our teens and 20s, we want well, to be totally honest, I can’t remember what I wanted most. I’m going to guess it was something having to do with a trend or fad at the time — something fleeting.

And now, for me, it’s less about getting gifts and more about sharing experiences that matters most. At the risk of sounding like my parents, maybe that has something to do with how much busier life seems to be, and how time seems to disappear before my eyes.

But I don’t seem to be alone here. The desire to trade in everyday life for exploration of new (or familiar) places was echoed by others featured in this month’s magazine.

Blogger Conni Jespersen, who shares some of her top gifts to give on page 52, said her favorite gift was a trip to Paris. Joe Santos, chief operating officer of GBOD, who just opened Havana 1920 (page 66), said his favorite gift was “a planned (paid) vacation.”

And if they hadn’t already received an adventure as a gift, it was at the top of many people’s wish list. Sam Chereskin of Misadventure Vodka (page 82) would like a Caribbean vacation. And, for a different kind of adventurous gift, Chereskin’s business partner Whit Rigali just wants a snow day.

So whether it’s just a short drive to the mountains for apple pie in Julian or something more grand like a week in Cabo, think about giving the gift of time and adventure to your friends and family this holiday season. I guarantee it will be something they remember long after the trendy item of the year disappears.


Leslie Hackett



What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?

A trip to Paris. I’m all about the experiences as gifts. I think they make the best memories. Two years ago, I spent a month in Paris for an International Field Studies course I was taking. I was missing it tremendously. So last year, my husband gifted me a trip back there. I was eternally grateful to get to embrace the city I adore again. Conni Jespersen, Art in the Find

A planned (paid) vacation. Joe Santos, Havana 1920

What do you want this year?

A short Caribbean vacation. Sam Chereskin, Misadventure Vodka

A snow day would be amazing. That way I can drink hot toddies all day in a onsie with friends, guilt free. Whit Rigali, Misadventure Vodka

And if you still need other gift ideas...

Gift guide: Outdoor adventurers

Gift guide: For the spirited cocktail lover

Gift guide: Health conscious goodies

Navigating the holidays when you just started dating someone new

Local shopping experiences in San Diego’s stylish neighborhoods