Sabine Heller, President of ASMALLWORLD?the jet-set social network for travelers?defines well traveled. She not only speaks four languages, but is one of the most well traveled women we know. Sabine, half-Indian and half French-Austrain, grew up between New York, Bombay and New Delhi. She?s also lived in Paris and Costa Rica. Sabine gives us a glimpse into her favorite destinations in some of her favorite countries:
Given you grew up in two cities, what are some of your favorite shopping destinations in Bombay and New York?
India is in a gold rush, which translates into a fabulously bling-tastic aesthetic that I sometimes find difficult to escape. For a younger and cooler taste, I love the bohemian chic-inspired lifestyle store Bungalow Eight and Bombay Electric, which offers a modern take on tradition. Also not to be missed, Bandit Queen, for lovely crisp white linens, pillows and pajamas. Fabindia and Anokhi are great shops for Indian basics, and so is Chor Bazaar, the Marches aux Puces of Bombay, where you?ll find everything from gramophones to chandeliers.
Alternatively, New York has thousands of incredible options. I can?t live without Zero + Maria Cornejo?s simple but borderline genius geometric designs; Roberta Freymann?s Indian-inspired resort wear; Resurrection?s vintage; Fenton Fallon?s ?80s glam jewelry; and Opening Ceremony?s mix of cutting edge designers like Suno and Joseph Altuzarra.
What are some of your eating destinations in Bombay and New York City?
Historically India has not been an eating out culture. By far, the best meals I have ever had have taken place in people?s homes. That said, 10 years ago Rahul Akerkar hippified the restaurant experience when he opened Indigo, and it remains a wonderful place. I also adore Trishna (try the mouth-watering butter pepper garlic king crab) and Soam, for its unusual Gujarati fare.
In New York my favorite restaurant is Omen, which serves rustic Kyoto-style food. For sushi I love Blue Ribbon Sushi, Soto and Sushi Yasuda. I also frequent Bobo (incredible d?cor), Bar Pitti (delicious simple fare), Blue Ribbon Bakery (for the bone marrow and fried chicken), Tamarind (solid Indian food) and Joe?s Pizza on Bleecker (best slice of pizza in town)
While residing in NYC, are you an uptown or downtown girl, and what do you find special about where you live?
I grew up uptown, but I?m more of a downtown girl. I live in Union Square, which is super convenient.
What do you never leave home without?
My blackberry, Rosebud lip balm and Nars multi-purpose stick.
What advice would you give to our readers who are planning a trip to India?
Curturally speaking there is no ?one? India. It?s comprised of many languages, dialects, religions and cuisines. It?s also a country of extremes, binary oppositions and contradictions. You cannot attempt to impose order on it, or make sense of it. You have to submit to its rhythms and learn its subtleties.
What should we avoid?
1) A short trip. The jet lag is difficult and you?ll likely experience major culture shock when you arrive. It takes time to adjust as well as a few weeks to get a real feel for the place.
2) Don?t rush. You?ll only frustrate yourself and dream of Japan where silent trains run on schedule. Nothing in India goes fast and nothing is efficient.
3) Avoid focusing just on major tourist destinations. There is more to India than the Delhi-Agra-Jaipur circuit.
What should we partake in?
Ahilya Fort, a palace that quietly and perfectly captures the soul of India. It?s the ancestral home of my godfather, Richard Holkar, the maharajah of Indore. It?s open to guests. It?s my favorite place on earth! You should also experience a houseboat in the backwaters of Kerala, the erotic temples of Khajuraho, trekking in the foothills of the Himalayas and some time in a rural village.
Do you have a travel regime?
The words travel and regime don?t fit together for me. As much as possible I like to see where my travels take me.
Does it include certain must-have items?
Yes, my Canon G11 camera, a journal, a caftan from Fabindia or Anokhi and a scarf from Women Weave (my godmother?s non-profit weaving cooperative).
What?s your favorite destination you have traveled to and why?
Annapurna base camp because it?s breathtaking to be so close to the top of the world, and because I worked so damn hard to get there!
What are your favorite L-atitude items?
Fallon, Veruca XL Bib Necklace, $230
Kimberly Ovitz, Icarus Sweater Jacket, $435
Kotur, Fane Pleated Snakeskin Clutch, $589
Amba, Window Scarf, $125