Irreverent responses from our favourite travel ninjas.
Name: Vivek Wagle
Title/bio: Head of content at Airbnb
Born in: Mumbai, India
living in: San Francisco, United States
1. Where would you rather be right now?
Aires. I’ve always wanted to visit Argentina, and the southern hemisphere
summer would be the perfect time to stock up on grilled meat, red wine and some
2. Famous person (dead or alive, real or
ﬁctional) you’d most like to go on a trip with:
from Doctor Who. Being able to visit any place at any time would be the obvious
draw, but an additional beneﬁt would be the ability to experience the world
through the eyes of an alien.
3. Tourist must-see you think is actually a
Marco, Venice. It’s one of the least interesting parts of a very interesting
city. It’s crowded, stinky (in summer) and utterly underwhelming.
4. Everyone asks what’s #1 on your list of
places you want to go before you die. But what’s your #3?
Beautiful, but not exotic enough to be #1.
5. You’d be mortiﬁed if people knew you did
what when you travelled?
went to see blockbuster Hollywood movies by myself.
6. Your most stranded, “oh-my-[deity]” travel
driving in the Australian outback in a rented 4WD. We were using the spare tyre,
as we had punctured a regular tyre driving off-road. Suddenly, there was a “bang”
and the car lurched to the side. We smelled burning rubber. We pulled over, and
the spare tyre was absolutely shredded. We were in the middle of the outback,
at least 200 miles from the nearest settlement, with no spare water and no way
of getting anywhere. We hunkered down in the shade and contemplated driving
back on the rim. Finally, after two hours, a rig with a satellite phone passed
us. We were able to ﬂag down the driver and use the phone to get help.
7. Best (or worst) person/people you’ve had to
sit next to while travelling:
on a nine-hour Greyhound ride who told me that the fail rates for two hitches
on big rigs were way higher than I
thought. I now never drive behind big rigs.
8. Strangest meal abroad:
with bull testicles and skinned lizard in Nicaragua. The balls were spongy; the
lizard was rubbery. Not recommended.
9. If someone was visiting your town, what’s
the one thing you’d show them?
salted-caramel ice cream at Bi-Rite
Creamery, a San Francisco institution. It’s best enjoyed on a sunny day in
adjacent Dolores Park.
10. Travel-related invention you wish existed:
bag that packs up into wallet size.
11. Material thing you miss the most when away
my espresso machine.
12. Coolest mode of transport you’ve taken:
Nothing quite beats that rush.
13. The place you don’t want anyone to know
about but are willing to divulge here:
a bizarre concrete jungle maze near Xilitla, Mexico. It’s full of headless
sculptures, stairways that go nowhere and baffling “shelters”. Wandering
through it, you feel as though you’ve discovered the remnants of an ancient
civilization – an insane one.
14. Travel-related ﬁlm or book that inspires
you to pack your bags:
Travels With Charley. A classic that really makes you want to get out there and
experience the world ﬁrst-hand.
15. The travel story you’ll never stop bragging
in Sikkim (in the Indian Himalaya), I was getting on board a crowded truck.
They threw my backpack on the roof and were ready to leave, but I insisted that
they tie it down. That extra minute saved all of our
lives. The earth started
shaking and the entire side of the mountain in front of us collapsed. A few
hundred yards further, and we’d have been caught in the landslide.
16. Lay on us a priceless bit of travel advice
is incredibly useful, no matter whether you’re a luxury traveller or a backpacker.
It instantly turns you into MacGyver.