Fathom Questionnaire

Meet the Traveler: Meghana Gandhi

by Meghana Gandhi

Meghana likes to fly.

Hometown: Houston, Texas, where I grew up, and New York City, where I've lived for the past five years.

Occupation: I work for the NYC Economic Development Corporation, the business development arm of City Hall, to help develop and manage initiatives focused on growing New York City as a global fashion capital.

Favorite destinations: The Prada Marfa in Marfa, Texas. Café Marly, the Tuileries, and the Crillon in Paris. Louis Boston in Boston. 10 Corso Como in Milan. The Imperial Hotel in Delhi. The Miró Foundation in Barcelona. That restaurant in the midst of a garage flea market in Buenos Aires and that hotel in Switzerland that gave me my own dollhouse-sized room adjoining my parents' when I was eight. Pretty much anywhere in Seoul and Tokyo.

Dying to visit: Anywhere I can go on a glamping safari and anywhere I can cage dive. Burning Man. The World Cup and Carnaval in Rio. The Balenciaga, Ferragamo, and Gucci museums. And The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios in Orlando. (Go ahead, judge.)

Bizarre travel rituals: I make an itemized list of outfits and cross off each piece as I place it in my suitcase. Despite this apparent level of organization, it still takes me hours to pack.

In-flight relaxation regime: After the inevitable mad dash to the airport, the airplane might as well be The Spa at the Mandarin Oriental — I'm that relaxed.

Always in carry-on: Everything — no check-ins ever!

Concierge or DIY? I find the places I want to go. I use concierge to help get me there.

See it all or take it easy? See it all. If I went into more detail, no one reading this would ever travel with me.  

Drive or be driven? Ideally, I'd rent Vespas everywhere. Otherwise, be driven, until I learn to operate a stick shift. At that point, prepare yourselves, drivers of the world.

Travel hero: My friends Alia and Carol, who are unfailingly adventurous and curious. They've lived/worked in Dubai, Geneva, and Kabul, and traveled to Jordan, Moldova, and Oman, among many other places. Peter Dundas, the artistic director of Pucci, is my road warrior hero: He commutes from Florence to Paris.

Weirdest thing seen on travels: In Bhubaneswar, India, I stayed at a ten-acre hotel that housed solely the Indian and Sri Lankan cricket teams, my family, my friend Zach, and a vast number of rifle-toting security guards. It was surreal to see the players — who are practically considered demigods — at breakfast, the gym, and the spa. (The kicker: The Sri Lankan coach asked my father about the identity of the white guy who was with us.)

Best hotel amenity: The murky, stingray-filled pool at the Four Seasons Hualalai on Hawaii's Big Island. I felt pretty hardcore swimming in it until I learned that the stingers had been removed.

I dream about my meal at Cookies Cream, a hidden vegetarian restaurant in Berlin. To reach it, you have to follow bronze footprints in the sidewalk, which lead to a massive chandelier hanging in a parking garage.

Everywhere I go, I check out the fashion retailers. High-end, high street...I'm equal opportunity. I'm fascinated by store design and merchandising and love discovering new designers.

When I arrive in a new place, I learn the lay of the land by studying a map. It's not particularly exciting, but it works.

I always bring home drugstore beauty products from foreign countries. A very kind duty-free shop clerk recently stood with me at the Seoul airport and translated the directions on a pack of strawberry yogurt face masks.

If I never return to Tijuana, it'll be too soon because I'm still not entirely sure why we went in the first place.

I travel for the ability to immerse myself in a totally new lifestyle.


Twitter: @mvgandhi 
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