Attending graduate school to study luxury travel sounds like a fantasy—or a joke. But four years ago, Ashley Isaacs Ganz enrolled at the London School of Economics to do exactly that, and even began a dissertation titled Luxury Tour Operators as Tastemakers. She has yet to finish it. "I realized I wanted to create a company instead of a thesis," she says. Now 30, Ganz has launched Artisans of Leisure, which specializes in custom trips to Asia, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. Itineraries focus on a theme—art or food, for example—or offer a bit of everything. The 16-day, $6,880-per-person culinary tour of Southeast Asia, for instance, includes a stroll through a colonial-era spice garden in Singapore, a cooking class at the Blue Elephant school in Bangkok, a trip to the fish market in the Vietnamese town of Hoi An (known for its exceptional food) and a visit to the 11th-century Temple of Literature in Hanoi. DETAILS 800-214-8144 or