Fathom Questionnaire

Meet the Travel Enthusiast: Kate Thorman

by Kate Thorman

Hometown: San Francisco Bay Area (yep, all of it).

Occupation: Writer, editor, media producer.

Favorite destinations: Paris, Turkey, Cuba, Spain.

Dying to visit: Morocco, Burma/Myanmar, Vietnam, Sweden, Iran.

Bizarre travel rituals: I'm a nervous flyer, so I have a little mantra I repeat to myself before takeoff, but I'd bet that's not quite as bizarre as I think it is. I also definitely OD on candy on flights — something I never normally buy.

In-flight relaxation regime: The best flight I ever took was thanks to half an Ambien.

Always in carry-on: As much as possible. I never check a bag if I can help it, and am an expert at sneaking bigger-than-allowed carry-ons on. Otherwise, a good book and my Moleskine.

Concierge or DIY? DIY, all the way, but if a concierge wanted to offer me some insider tips for free, I wouldn't say no.

See it all or take it easy? I am not a beach-bum traveler. I want to do, see, and eat everything. That said, when I traveled around the world in 2009, I learned the value of relaxing on a trip — you can't travel for ten months straight without needing to just chill out in a hammock sometimes.

Drive or be driven? Take the bus or the train. Unless it's a US road-trip, in which case we can share driving duties. I also have a travel dream of road-tripping around Cuba.

Travel hero: Ella K Maillart. I just read her book, The Cruel Way, which chronicles the trip she and a female friend took in 1939, driving from Geneva to Kabul. I wish I could take that trip! I wish I were that brave and adventurous, and could visit those places at that time.

Weirdest thing seen on travels: You think I can pick one? For starters, I saw more men whipping it out to urinate on the street in India than I ever could have imagined...

My favorite hotel is the Raffles Singapore. I never stayed there but I fell madly in love with it over afternoon tea in its colonial-era café one tropical afternoon.

I dream about my meal at my Parisian host family's house. I lived with them for a year, and every single meal was wonderful, whether it was a simple salad and tarte àl'oignon or a full spread of veal, gratin dauphinois, green beans, homemade fois gras (an Easter specialty!), plenty of cheese, and a gooey gâteau au chocolat. And don't forget the requisite baguette à l'ancienne with every meal. 

Best hotel amenity: Homemade chocolate chip cookies.

Favorite childhood travel memory: When I was 11, my dad's entire family went to Italy for a few weeks to celebrate my grandparents' 50th anniversary. Not only did I get to spend a week in a villa in Tuscany with my cousins (elaborate games of hide-and-seek, getting thrown in the pool, walks in the vineyards, gelato every afternoon, watching the sun rise over the hills), but I tried coffee and fresh mozzarella for the first time, fell in love with cathedrals, and discovered just how tightly stories and places could be bound.

Everywhere I go, I check out food markets and cafés.

When I arrive in a new place, I learn the lay of the land by getting lost.

I always bring home a purse overflowing with subway, bus and train tickets.

If I never return to Kuala Lumpur, it'll be too soon because that city feels like it's out of a Kafka story.

I travel for the stories (mine and theirs) and the challenges.


Website: smithhotels.comkatethorman.com, abbottandwest.com
Twitter: @katethorman
Stories on Fathom

We make every effort to ensure the information in our articles is accurate at the time of publication. But the world moves fast, and even we double-check important details before hitting the road.