Dedicated to showcasing the most fascinating stories from around the globe, TRUNK magazine embraces what is foreign and unique about a place, and at the same time explores what is universal and familiar from one culture to the next.
1. Looking back, which place in the world is most unique to you and why?
I do really believe that every place is unique in some - or lots! - of ways. I?m from central New Jersey, which of course lots of people would say is as generic as it gets. Of course, that?s not true - there are loads of things in it to treasure and to come home to. So in that sense, I quibble with the question - in the Jed Barlett sense of ?unique,? everything is, because every place is singular. (Except for the inside of a Home Depot, maybe.)
That (annoyingly) said, in terms of experiencing a system of government, physical beauty, and social upheaval, I?ve never been anywhere quite like Zimbabwe.
2. Which other culture(s) felt familiar to you and why?
In a funny way I?ve always felt more at home - in the sense of being in American - in South Africa than anywhere else, even though I?ve spent lots of times in Europe - particularly in London. In a lot of ways, London and New York really are two sides of the same coin. But South Africans - black, white, rich, poor - strike me as open and friendly the same way Americans are. They also deal with issues - of crime, race, history, and class - that are, sadly, familiar as well.
3. They also say that travel broadens one?s mind. How has travel and other cultures have broadened your mind?
That?s hard to answer, because I can?t measure the distance between having traveled and not having traveled. I do think that travel is good for people - good in way that vacation is not, and usually much much cheaper and easier to do than people think.
4. What draws you to a travel destination? How do you decide where you want to go?
Mainly I just look for places I haven?t been before. I?m dying to go to Iceland, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Japan, and a million other places.
5. If you would have to put together a photo collage of your travels, what would be the most memorable moment?
Definitely the most memorable moment would be a picture I took with my traveling partner and friends we met along the way as we reached Ulaan Baatar on the Mongol Raly.
6. In 2007 you drove from London to Ulaan Baatar, the capital of Mongolia, as part of the Mongol Rally. What inspired you to such an adventure?
I?d read about it in the Daily News and just thought it sounded like the best adventure ever. I?m still not sure if I can think of a better way to spend four weeks.
7. What are three items everyone should have in their trunk when traveling?
Back-up ATM card, toothbrush/toothpaste, contact lens solution. It?s always the practical ones that really ruin your day if you don?t have them.
8. What is your preferred travel style? Backpacking, Five star hotels, a combination of both?
I like a mix. When I?m doing a long trip, I try to mix in hotel writing back home, which means super super nice hotels. A couple years ago I traveled by land from Hanoi to Luang Prabang - it was a complete nightmare, exacerbated by the fact that I got food poisoning midway through (and spent Thanksgiving Day throwing up. It was gross.) There was one train ride, like three buses, and a fantail boat. Also: a lot of tedium, and many boxes of Ritz crackers. It almost sounds fun, but it was an absolute slog, and I think I cried with relief when I checked into the Aman resort in LP, which I was reviewing for NYLON.
9. What is the best shopping find you've ever made while traveling and where did you find it?
So many. I mean honestly - the things I love most came from far away, and I always tried to bring back one great thing - this was especially true when I was traveling the U.S. and Canada to write the City Guides for Lucky magazine. So two things, and they?re both for home: a teak ?60s couch from Toronto, that I got during a City Guide and shipped home, and a hot-pink African feather cap that I bought in and carried back from Cape Town.
10. What are your top three picks from L-atitude?
I?m dying for a Lem Lem scarf
If this rug were bigger I would have already bought it:
And this necklace:
11. What is one destination you've never been to that you're dying to visit?
Those are my international picks above, but in the U.S. I?ve never been to New Orleans. So definitely that.
12. If you were to embark on a trip today, where would you go and why?
Ha - tricky question! The only place I want to go tonight is home - to Park Slope. In March, though, I want to go to Turkey.