Fathom Questionnaire

Meet The Culture-ist's Maria Russo

by Maria Russo

Maria lounging at The Chedi in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Hometown: Princeton, New Jersey.

Occupation: Writer/editor.

Favorite destinations: South Africa, Guatemala, and Thailand.

Dying to visit: Bali.

Bizarre travel rituals: I pack in a way that I can remember where everything is, so if I take something from a bag I make sure I put it back exactly where I got it.

In-flight relaxation regime: Read, watch a movie or two (if it's a long flight), and then slide on my eye mask and doze for as long as I can.

Always in carry-on: Eco-Lips organic coconut-ginger lip balm and a pair of thick fuzzy socks.

Concierge or DIY? It depends on my mood.

See it all or take it easy? See it all.

Drive or be driven? Be driven. I have a pathetic sense of direction.

Travel hero: My great-grandfather. He traveled back and forth from Italy to the United States by ship just so my family could eventually make their home in America. 

Weirdest thing seen on travels: A mosque cloaked in neon flashing lights at a rest stop in Turkey. 

Best hotel amenity: A fully functioning hair dryer. 

I dream about my meal at a tiny, family-run B&B located on a hilltop in Cappadocia, Turkey.

Everywhere I go, I check out the cafes.

When I arrive in a new place, I learn the lay of the land by going on a walking tour of local neighborhoods and attractions.

I always bring home chocolate or some kind of sweet dessert typically eaten in the country.

I travel for the raw experiences.

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.