Fathom Questionnaire: Ali Rickards
by Ali Rickards
Hometown: Manhattan, by way of Darien, Connecticut.
Occupation: Right Hand of Real-Life Superhero Tracy Anderson.
Favorite destinations: Havana, Austin, Prague, San Sebastian, and the lavender fields of France.
Dying to visit: Giraffe Manor in Nairobi, Montenegro, Bhutan.
Bizarre travel rituals: Always removing at least three articles of clothing from my suitcase before heading out the door.
In-flight relaxation regime: Taking one hour of peace before even thinking about if there is WiFi in-flight.
Always in carry-on: Active Silver Spray. (Puts Airborne to shame!)
Concierge or DIY? DIY. Who knows what I'm looking for more than I?
See it all or take it easy? See it all during the day, take it easy at night.
Drive or be driven? Drive! Or bike, swim, grab a horse….
Travel hero: Hemingway, a guy who spent all of the right seasons in all the right places and seemed to have as many lives as his cats.
Weirdest thing seen on travels: Giant sea turtles laying their eggs at 2 a.m. on a Costa Rican beach. They were in a trance, making these primal sounds, it smelled terrible, and it was all very confusing.
My favorite hotel is Hotel Erwin because the rooftop is my second home and a great place to write.
I dream about my meal at La Zucca Magica in Nice. Between the language barrier and the dimly lit dining room, I had no idea what was in the five-course prix fixe menu, and the animated chef wouldn't let me go to the next course until I cleared my plate each time. A wonderful experiment that I recommend to all!
Best hotel amenity: Pillow menus. I have only seen this in places I have been for work, but I'm glad I know now that I prefer goose down, medium firmness.
Favorite childhood travel memory: Family summer road trip from Seattle to San Francisco, taking only back roads. I was 10 year old, cell phones weren't around yet, and, from the Redwood Forrest to Fisherman's Wharf, it was magical.
Everywhere I go I sample the local take on ice cream trucks.
When I arrive in a new place, I learn the lay of the land by asking bartenders their favorite spots. They're more trustworthy than a cab driver, but not as prearranged as the front desk/concierge.
I always bring home something I can put on my walls that makes me smile. And packs of gum with funny labels.
If I never return to Prairie Dog Manor in Oakley, Kansas, it'll be too soon because after driving halfway across the country, the last thing anyone needs is to be chased by rat-like prairie dogs in an enclosed area.
I travel for the everything.