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.