Meet the Traveler: Julia Lake
Hometown: Napa Valley, California.
Occupation: Professional party thrower.
Favorite destinations: India!! Buenos Aires, Turkey, Brazil, Bavaria, Morocco, and Mexico.
Dying to visit: I’d love to revisit Brazil in depth.
Bizarre travel rituals: Pack completely, unpack, eliminate, and repack.
In-flight relaxation regime: Pop two Lunestas with a glass of red wine. Put on my sleeping mask and wrap myself up in a silk scarf.
Always in carry-on: Silk scarf and usually all my luggage. I avoid checking like the plague. Not because it's a bother to check, but because it ensures I don't overpack.
Concierge or DIY? DIY. I don't trust anyone to plan a trip for me.
See it all or take it easy? Pretend to try to see it all, but let go of plans easily and be flexible to change, especially if I find somewhere I love.
Drive or be driven? Driven. Always. I loathe driving.
Travel hero: My neighbor, Joan Crowley. She’s in her 70s and continues to gallivant all over the world in crazy places. She just did a road trip through Africa with her sister. Picture it: Two elderly ladies driving themselves around various African countries.
Weirdest thing seen on travels: The dabbawala lunch delivery system in Bombay. I can’t wrap my head around it.
My favorite hotel is Maca Kizi on the Bodrum peninsula in Turkey because it effortlessly chic, simple, and glamorous beyond measure. (And you don't have to hold your breath to float in the ocean because of the high salinity of the Aegean Sea.)
I dream about my meal at Chhatra Saagar, a luxury tent complex in the Rajasthani desert. You would eat a four-course home-cooked Indian dinner by candlelight in open-air tents.
Best hotel amenity: Room service. Simply fabulous. Key word: simple.
Favorite childhood travel memory: I’m a big horse nerd, so I loved watching the Lipizzaner ponies' training sessions at the Spanische Hofreitschule, the Spanish Riding School in Vienna. They elegantly prance around a beautiful palace hall while listening to blasting classical music. It's a sight to be seen.
Everywhere I go, I check out the local textiles. I love collecting pieces from different countries.
When I arrive in a new place, I learn the lay of the land by getting lost, wandering around, and asking for directions if I need to, which is always, because I have a lousy sense of direction.
I always bring home treasures for my home. My house is packed with various objects from around the world: a stuffed tiger from Vietnam, a blanket from Santa Fe, Moroccan rugs, a charcoal drawing of Napoleon I found on the banks of the Seine in Paris, old photos from the Bavarian Alps.
If I never return to China, it'll be too soon because it’s awful. Period.
I travel for the discovery and the perspective that comes with it.