While it’s very nice to live in New York, sometimes we can’t help but fantasize about packing a carry-on and whizzing off to some exotic locale. Since that’s not an option, we live vicariously through others—specifically reporters like Christine Ajudua, our new contributing editor. The veteran travel writer and editor (you can find her work in Travel + Leisure, Food & Wine, and The New York Times, to name a few) is now in London but rarely sits still. She’ll be keeping us up-to-date on product discoveries, up-and-coming destinations, and more. But first, here’s a little bit about our globetrotting new addition.
What do you always bring with you when you travel?
Mood reading—fiction or non-fiction, as long as it’s related to my destination.
Any pre-flight rituals?
I’d love to say I pack days in advance and spend an hour meditating before departure, but the truth is, I usually end up making a mad dash to the airport. Does that count?
The best packing tip you’ve picked up over the years?
It’s far from a secret and I don’t always do it, but rolling your clothing really does save space. Plus, it makes for a great way to smuggle (and protect) jars of jam, bottles of liquor, and other fragile finds.
What’s the one destination that you think everyone should visit?
Tanzania’s Serengeti. Being surrounded by prehistoric wildlife on such an old, vast landscape is pretty surreal. I was lucky enough to safari there last year. We stayed in a few amazing properties in the middle of the bush that weren’t fenced off, so there was always this underlying, incredibly thrilling sense of danger—as if, while you’re lounging by the pool, a lion could charge and have you for lunch.
What’s your latest discovery in beauty, fashion, or food?
My latest would be from China (see below), but I’ll get into that later. Recently, at the multi-culti shopping-slash-eating mecca that is London’s Brixton Market, I discovered Brixi Bee Balm. It saved my lips this winter. I love the minimalist, vintage-style packaging, and the fact that it’s made using pure beeswax by the shop owner’s mother—who is allergic to bees.
Where’s next on your must-go list?
I’m just back from China—Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong, Macau, Hangzhou, and the bamboo forests of Moganshan, to be specific. I promised myself I’d get to Tibet and Mongolia next time. Otherwise, it’s a tossup between Iceland and Montenegro…and Wales. As you can see, I’m pretty indecisive about such things. Wherever the wind (or work) takes me!
What’s the first thing you do when you arrive in a new destination?
Usually, these three: drop bags, shower, find something delicious to eat.