Rashi Rohatgi
Rashi Rohatgi

Want to know how to travel in style, just like the pros? We check in with frequent fliers to find out how often they fly, their favorite destinations and what they never leave home without.

Name: Rashi Rohatgi

Occupation: Writer

Hometown: Easton, PA

Residence: Arctic Norway

College: Georgetown

College major: Foreign Service

Website: rashenka.com

Twitter: @rashirohatgi

Short bio: As a kid I was an armchair explorer, and now I try to leave my armchair whenever possible. At home, I write stories where setting plays a central role. My debut novel, “Where the Sun Will Rise Tomorrow,” is about Indian teenage revolutionaries after the Russo-Japanese War—set in my ancestral hometown and inspired by my time living in St. Petersburg and visiting Japan.

How often do you fly? At least twice a year—my parents live in the States and my in-laws live in the UK, and we try to visit as often as we can.

How many countries have you been to? 35-ish, depending on if you count layovers.

How many continents have you been to? 4

Earliest travel memory: When I was younger, my grandparents used to be able to walk us all the way to the plane in their hometown of Patna. We’d part at the stairs leading up to the plane, as though we were in a movie.

Favorite American city: Baltimore, not only because of The Book Thing, but that’s certainly part of it.

Favorite international city: Tijuana, and I’m not a partier—there’s so much more to the city.

Friendliest people in the world: Jordanians.

Country with the meanest immigration officers: I don’t know this from personal experience, but I used to watch a reality show about Australia’s border security, and they would reduce people to tears on a regular basis.

Favorite World Heritage Site: Kathmandu.

Aisle or window: Window, of course!

Favorite international airport: Oooh, a tie between Amsterdam and New Delhi.

Favorite hotel: I’m very loyal to the Premier Inn hotel chain—cheap and cheerful, but spotless and crucially, they have bathtubs in every room. After a flight, I appreciate a soak.

Favorite island: The main island of Mauritius.

Favorite beach: Mjelle, up near my home, with its red sand.

Favorite National Park: The Indiana Dunes.

Favorite airport restaurant: Max, a burger chain in Stockholm Arlanda (and elsewhere, but nowhere I’ve lived), has an amazing halloumi burger. 

Favorite bar: The Mayflower, in South London—yes, the name refers to the 17th-century ship, which was moored there before its trip across the Atlantic.

Favorite fruit: Jamun (sometimes called Java plum in English): salty and sweet and more-ish.

Favorite travel movie(s): Araby, a 2017 Brazilian film about an itinerant laborer, based in part on the life experiences of its lead actor, Aristides de Sousa.

Favorite travel show(s): The Amazing Race—I’d love to be a participant, but I’m a vegetarian and I can’t drive stick, so there’s no way I’d be able to compete.

Favorite travel book(s): “To The Elephant Graveyard,” by Tarquin Hall—I’d love to travel to Assam.

Right now I am reading: “There Was No Adderall in the Soviet Union,” about young adulthood in Soviet Kazakhstan.

Favorite travel website(s)—besides JohnnyJet.com, of course! seat61.com—climate change is real, plus I love that when you get off a train, you’re generally in the middle of the city.

5 things you bring on a plane: A nursing shawl, an etch-a-sketch, multiple tiny bags of snacks, my Tula carrier, and a mini-fold booster. Did I mention I have a toddler?

What do you like least about travel? Racial profiling.

What do you want your loved one to buy you from an airport Duty Free store? Toblerone!

What’s your dream destination? Angkor Wat.

Best travel tip: Bus stop maps—or even lists of stops—are a good way to navigate in a new city. I hate apps and am never organized enough to bring a map, but am seldom so lost as to be wholly disoriented.

 

Johnny Jet
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