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Fathom Questionnaire: Adam H. Graham

by Adam H. Graham

Hometown Brooklyn, yo! (But born in Marblehead, MA.)

Occupation: Travel writer.

Favorite destinations: Zurich, Norway, Mexico, Rajasthan, Maine, Mendocino and California Redwoods, Valparaiso in Chile, Buenos Aires, Newfoundland, The Skelligs.

Dying to visit: Iran, Greenland, Bhutan, and Vanuatu. 

Bizarre travel rituals: I collect honey and travel with an atlas. I also have a 10-10-10 approach: I learn at least ten foreign phrases, taste ten dishes, and see and memorize the names of ten cultural sights in every place I visit. 

In-flight relaxation regime: Said atlas. Going without wireless access is sublime, too. 

Always in carry-on: A can of water spray/mist, Airborne tablets, and my iPod Touch. 

Concierge or DIY? I'm always looking for a deeper cut of a destination, and 90 percent of the concierges — great as they may be — will send you someplace where other tourists are. Let's face it, concierges are very often old men. But Asian hotel concierges are AMAZING and more like personal assistants. 

See it all or take it easy? I don't know how to take it easy. Unlike most travelers, my brain doesn't shut off when I see a beach. (I sometimes wish it did.) 

Drive or be driven? Being driven is almost as good as business class, but only if you have navigational control of the vehicle. 

Travel hero: Diana Vreeland and TinTin. 

Weirdest thing seen on travels: A village buried in lava near Uruapan, Mexico; the tame, boat-basking seals in Puerto Ayora, Galapagos; the ocean hot springs in the Azores; and the giant, several thousand-year-old sleeping cave Buddhas in Dhambula, Sri Lanka. 

Best hotel amenity: Concierge text service at Andaz Wall Street

I dream about eating huevos divorciados in Campeche, steak, and malbec in Buenos Aires; oeufs en gelée in Lyon; and fish chowder in Ballyvaughan, Ireland. 

Everywhere I go, I check out the grocery stores, because it's important to see people running errands. Cemeteries are VERY telling. And I always swim in a local body of natural water if possible. If it's not possible, something's deeply wrong. 

When I arrive in a new place, I learn the lay of the land by biking to the highest point to survey the landscape. 

I always bring home honey and local salt and a children's book in the language of my destination for my niece Sloane. 

If I never return to Rome it'll be too soon because it's loud, ugly, overrated, and near impossible to avoid obnoxious first-time tourists. 

I travel for the food, snorkeling, and undiscovered mysteries. It's really important to me that I connect and don't have the same touristy experience everyone else does. This makes planning travel extra difficult. But the results are better and the education is more original than anything you'd learn in the world's best institutions.

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FATHOM Postcards
Twitter: @adamhgraham
Facebook: Adam H. Graham

Adam is a Brooklyn-based freelance food and travel writer for the New York Times, Conde Nast Traveler, National Geographic Traveler, Travel + Leisure, and others. He travels to solve mysteries.

Get to know him better: Read Adam's FATHOM Questionnaire.

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