Fathom Questionnaire: Suzanne Weinert
Hometown: Austin, Texas, via New York City.
Favorite destinations: Homer, Alaska; Pangkalan Bun, Borneo; Gobi Desert, Mongolia.
Dying to visit: Ayers Rock, Australia.
Bizarre travel rituals: Even before airlines did away with meals, I always carried around a ton of snacks. One time, while searching for a pen in my oversized tote, I emptied out a small mountain of plastic bags full of treats onto my tray table. An older Polish woman leaned across the aisle, put her hand on my arm and asked lovingly, "Ooh, poor chilt, did ju haf family in da var?" She explained her older sister had survived the Nazis by hiding in caves and foraging for food at night. For the rest of her life, the sister refused to leave the house unless she carried enough food for three days. I felt terrible explaining to this kind loving woman whose family had suffered such tragedy that my only problem was I hate to be away from Cheez-Its and Kit-Kats.
In-flight relaxation regime: A few dabs of Kiehl's lavender oil on the solar plexus. For flights longer than three hours, a neck pillow stuffed with birdseed and a long scarf to wrap around my face to keep out the light and any smells from the other passengers. (Who thinks it's okay to spray themselves with perfume on an airplane?)
Always in carry-on: For under three hour flights, always a snack (see above), my iPod, and gossip magazines (at 35,000 feet I become profoundly fascinated by Zac Efron's love life). For longer flights, I add a small atomizer for misting and more snacks.
Concierge or DIY? DIY except in China and Greece, two places where I couldn't make sense of the street map.
See it all or take it easy? For beach trips, I take it easy. Everywhere else, I try and see as much as possible.
Drive or be driven? Be driven. I like to look out the window and see what I'm passing. The other passengers hate when I do that while driving.
Travel heroes: Bob and Leslie Bell, my team leaders at Habitat for Humanity.
Weirdest thing seen on travels: Cooking goat in Mongolia. They take hot stones, insert them under the animal's skin, then sew it back up to cook the meat.
Best hotel amenity: There is nothing in the world like a Four Seasons bed.
I dream about my meal at some place in Seattle, can't remember the name, but I had lobster stuffed with crab meat and covered in hollandaise sauce. The only time I have ever eaten my entrée and immediately ordered another one.
Everywhere I go, I check out the local markets in search of that country's version of the donut.
When I arrive in a new place, I learn the lay of the land by buying maps and charting out three walking tours.
I always bring home hotel stationery, scarves, and local spices for my friends who cook (my hope is they will invite me over for dinner).
If I never return to the Korean Airlines terminal in Seoul it'll be too soon because the staff there was flat-out rude. The term "customer service" does not translate.
I travel for the fried dough.