Occupation: Founder of Gentedimontagna.
Favorite destinations: Lo Scoglio on the Amalfi Coast, a certain backyard in Sagaponack, Taprobane Island in Sri Lanka.
Dying to visit: Chile from top to tail (especially Tierra del Fuego), South Island in New Zealand, Botswana, the Turkish Islands, the Canadian Rockies, the fjords of Norway (since 1990).
Bizarre travel rituals: I pack a ridiculously compact carry-on, but don't unpack for weeks when I get home. I can't book a plane ticket until I've read the details aloud to someone else. And I'm obsessed with getting a bulkhead seat. It's how I do business class on a budget.
In-flight relaxation regime: Very bad movies and 22-minute naps.
Always in carry-on: Snacks for the journey, iPhone and Macbook Air, unread New Yorkers, La Pasticca del Re Sole Italian licorice.
Concierge or DIY? DIY, because, well, it's pretty much what I do for a living. That said, I'm amazed at how good the results can be when I let someone else take charge. It just happens way too rarely.
See it all or take it easy? See it all, then see some more.
Drive or be driven? Drive. Really, really fast.
Travel hero: Paul Bowles and H. V. Morton wrote brilliantly about the places they'd been and had such romantic notions about history.
Weirdest thing seen on travels: It wasn't weird, but it was magical to carry a newborn baby goat down the Atlas Mountains in Morocco.
Best hotel amenity: Elaborate silver servingware for breakfast and tea, free WiFi, oversized bathtubs, and never having to sign for anything.
Favorite childhood travel memory: I was six years old with my family in the Italian Alps. We had picked up supplies for lunch for a mountainside picnic. My father put a bottle of wine in a running stream to chill it, and I was shocked. My father is a totally unpractical man, and I was amazed to see vacation bring out his inner MacGuyver, a side I never once saw again.
I dream about my meals at under Yannick Alleno, , and .
Everywhere I go, I check out the supermarkets.
When I arrive in a new place, I learn the lay of the land by walking everywhere. I have a crazy internal compass and I can't get lost. In Lebanon, my friends called me "the pigeon" and cooed when I walked by.
I always bring home contraband salumi, ceramics, chili peppers, and honey or vodka for my father.
If I never return to Dubai or Cyprus, it'll be too soon because both were just awful. I had low expectations of Dubai, and it met them. I had high expectations of Cyprus, and it dashed them.
I travel for the four-hour lunches.
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