Early last year I flipped through my crisp Delfonics 2006 diary and told myself it was going to be a quieter, more stationary 12 months. There would be quarterly trips to New York, bimonthly trips to Tokyo, and summer weekend commutes to my house in Sweden, but beyond that I was staying put.
How wrong I was—2006 turned out to be a record year for travel. There were 13 trips to Japan, four round-the-world road shows, a tour through Libya, whirlwind speaking engagements in Singapore, Helsinki, and Kohler, Wisconsin, and more missed, delayed, or canceled flights than I care to remember. If my math is correct, I spent 258 days on the move. While tallying that number, I also transcribed the notes I took upon encountering particularly good experiences, brands, and products throughout my journeys. The following are my top ten.
1. Airport: Munich International and Tokyo’s Haneda
Helsinki and Copenhagen used to take the prize, but these two have moved into first place—the former for its range of flights and the latter for its user-friendliness.
2. Airline: Lufthansa
The long-haul business class is Germanically efficient, and the pick-up service for premium passengers in Frankfurt and Munich—you’re chauffeured directly to the aircraft in a Mercedes or a Porsche—is a concept that leaves other European carriers on the tarmac. 800-399-5838; lufthansa.com
3. Accessory line: Valextra
At last, no tiresome logos. From the com-pany’s wallets and notebooks to its carryalls and handbags, precision craftsmanship abounds, making anything by Valextra a terrific investment for male and female travelers alike. valextra.it
4. Getting there:
Hitachi’s shinkansen railcars Given the chance, I would ditch all the trains in the UK and replace them with Hitachi’s sleek Shinkansen railcars.
5. CD: Koop Islands by Koop
I’m totally addicted to this Swedish duo’s soulful take on thirties and forties dinner jazz. $20; amazon.co.uk
6. Wardrobe Addition: Loro Piana’s Baby-Cashmere Sweaters
The company’s new knitwear line, made using the undercoat of goats aged three to 12 months (don’t worry—the process is painless!), is impossibly soft. From $875; loropiana.com
7 Convenience store: Seijo Ishii This Japanese chain should be in better neighborhoods everywhere. The selection is outstanding, the decor welcoming, and the packaging luxurious.
8. Camera: Ricoh’s GR Digital
It looks properly old-school but functions in a thoroughly mod- ern way. $700; ricoh.com
9. Quirky design: Trekanten-Hestbæk A/S shelving
Made in Denmark, it’s one of the best storage systems out there, and I continue to add to my library using its building-block concept. trekanten.as
10. Soul mates: Tabio Socks
A pair in earthy stripes is just the thing for padding around a hotel room. $24; tabio.co.uk for store locations
Journalist and media entrepreneur Tyler Brûlé is the founding editor of Wallpaper and will launch his new magazine, Monocle, this spring.