Written by Destination Luxury contributor Andrea Thompson.
As the new football season gets underway, Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald is focusing on having a great year, but he is also keeping a close eye on his new company, Nomad Hill. The “travel design” company based in Houston, TX, develops “handcrafted itineraries and experiences in some of the most wondrous and awe-inspiring places on the planet.”
Fitzgerald co-founded the company with David Jones, a former vice president of a competing luxury travel company. The two met nearly seven years ago but decided to go into business together in 2016. “The idea of creating Nomad Hill took shape while Larry and I were traveling over a year ago,” says Jones. “We both saw a gap in the market from what was being offered, so we decided to take advantage of that opportunity and form our own travel company.”
Fitzgerald, who’s been with the Cardinals since being drafted by the team in 2004, has been an avid traveler since childhood when his parents would take the family on adventures around America. “Travel has been a part of my life since I was little,” he explains. “My parents didn’t have much money, but they still managed to take my family around the US for sightseeing and exploring.” The travel bug took hold of him then and has never let go. To date, he’s visited 96 countries and is still itching to explore more, including Cuba, Greenland, Iceland, Mongolia and others. They’re all on his bucket list.
In the meantime, he and Jones have ambitious plans for Nomad Hill. Fitzgerald says, “We’re ahead of the curve. I hope that we’ll be able to show many people that travel is more than just a luxury, but a way of life.” The company is currently developing what they say is an algorithm tool that will be able to assess and craft truly unique and very specific itineraries for clients based on their past travel experiences. They didn’t indicate when or how that tool will be utilized.
Visiting the Nomad Hill website, clients are now able to book a customized trip based on lifestyle preferences or passions. For instance, travelers can join a private group of photographers into Botswana’s Okavango Delta, one of Africa’s best wildlife areas, for a safari and workshop combining wildlife photography and a stay at two of Botswana’s best safari camps. The private safari is geared specifically toward serious photography and game viewing. The cost is $11,895 per person.
Another trip available is a New Zealand culinary tour for $11,850 per person. It includes a range of activities and ventures like exploring Waiheke Island, visiting Rangihoua Olive Oil Estate, touring the Zealong Tea Estate, kayaking on the Waikato River, enjoying Geothermal Hot Springs, tasting NZ’s world-famous wines, seeing Milford Sound by air and sea, and visiting a local sheep farm.
A Nomad Hill client – who Jones describes as a “young, affluent millennial that wants to do more than just travel, but see the remarkable in each destination” – can join one of these trips or have the company design a personalized, customized plan for them. Jones elaborates, “We focus on the client’s interests and needs, build strong relationships with each of them, and then go beyond what any other travel company can do to create journeys that are transformational.”
In his role as co-founder and travel ambassador for Nomad Hill, Fitzgerald is working to encourage his teammates and other NFL players to take that trip (or two) of a lifetime, booking through his company, of course. He adds, “I think everyone should travel, rather than spending money on expensive cars or personal items. Travel is the only thing that will make you grow richer. Outside of football, travel is my passion and I want to share that with everyone I can.”