Fathom Questionnaire: Christine Muhlke
Hometown: Racine, Wisconsin.
Occupation: Executive editor, Bon Appétit.
Favorite destinations: Paris, Point Reyes, Andalusia, Sicily, driving anywhere in the South.
Dying to visit: As much of Japan as possible, Vietnam, Marseille.
Bizarre travel rituals: Travel pants (loose, wide, soft) have been joined by travel socks (warm, yet no elastic at the top). Can I be saved?
In-flight relaxation regime: Wheels up = Ambien with a melatonin chaser.
Always in carry-on: Lunch/dinner/snack/protein shake for breakfast; notebook and Muji pen for in-flight ideas; iPod; bag with earplugs, eye mask, hand cream, shea butter, toothbrush, silly face mist; Bach's Sleep Remedy; face-cleansing wipes; almonds; chocolate; water bottle; travel mug for tea, which some attendants say they aren't allowed to touch (!); long-haul reading (The Paris Review, The Economist, a New Yorker or two, and The New York Review of Books will get you anywhere and back); a note that my husband snuck in.
Concierge or DIY? Super DIY with an occasional concierge ask.
See it all or take it easy? Two lunches, two dinners, three museums, one nap.
Drive or be driven? Manual transmission, please.
Travel hero: Martha Gellhorn, Sybille Bedford, W.G. Sebald, Anthony Bourdain, my friend Lithe.
Weirdest thing seen on travels: Americans in McDonald's.
Best hotel amenity: Complimentary mini-bar.
I dream about my meal at Manka's in Inverness.
Everywhere I go, I check out the farmers market. A great farmer will tell you all the best places to eat, high and low.
When I arrive in a new place, I learn the lay of the land by taking the bus. Sometimes I'll even take a touristy double-decker so I can hop on and off all day and get to see the key neighborhoods.
I always bring home spices, jams, olive oil, cured meats (I learned how to say "shrink-wrap" in French, Italian, and Spanish), cheese, Pain des Amis from Du Pain et Des Idées in Paris (it keeps for four days), sad postcards, and, if I'm lucky/have time, a new pair of shoes.
If I never return to Las Vegas, it'll be too soon. My soul broke after 20 minutes.
I travel for the context, while hoping for a life-changing experience.