I am returning to one of my favorite travel interviews, taken from the UK’s Independent newspaper. In our last interview we sat down with EF Tour Director Vanessa de Smet. Here’s a chance to hear from one of our EF Tours Operations staff in Europe, Tommaso Caselli.
When did you join EF?
I started working with EF in 2005 as a Tour Director for the Rome Office. Two years later I moved to Lucerne and joined the Operations department. I have now been In Lucerne for six years and currently I’m responsible for coordinating railway and cruise arrangements.
First travel memory?
I think I was 4 years old and was having fun on the sandy beaches of Rimini, a well know city on the Adriatic coast of Italy. At the time it used to be one of the most popular destinations for Italian families. All I remember is building sand castles and eating chilled watermelon.
When I was 18, I went with my father to a small Island in the Caribbean called Cayo Bolivar. It was no larger than an average roundabout in London, a dozen palm trees and the clearest blue water I have ever seen. It took us two hours to get there with a small motor boat, and the “Bonitos” we were fishing for from the boat were not for sport, they were our lunch!
Favorite place in Europe?
Probably Barcelona. Perfect mixture of tradition and modernity, great multicultural vibe and seafood to die for!
What have you learned from your travels?
How cultural differences can enrich you and make you a more eclectic person. And it happens every time. Unlike home or academic studies, as years go by you still absorb the experience like a teenager.
Who would be your ideal traveling companion?
Definitely my wife. I thought I was the most passionate traveler in Europe until I met her! She is always enthusiastic about a new destination, anywhere we go. Plus, she is really laid back and takes the unexpected with a good sense of humor, which really helps since I’m always the one organizing the trip!
Greatest travel luxury?
Two years ago I found an amazing deal for one of the best rated hotels in Dubai. Normally I don’t choose luxury hotels but for that price I couldn’t say no. I went with my wife and the experience was far beyond our highest expectations. Quality was superb and the attention to detail was impressive.
Which EF tour would you choose to take?
Rome, Tuscany and the Riviera. I like short tours that focus on regions. Tuscany in particular has that unique combination of colors, people and food.
Better to travel or arrive?
Better to plan your next trip while traveling.
Most amusing travel experience?
One of the most exhilarating ones was rafting in Costa Rica with my EF colleagues. What a crazy group. By the time we got to the bottom the raft was a party boat.
Favorite Tourist Attraction?
The most impressive site that I’ve visited is definitely Angkor Wat in Cambodia. I went there two years ago on an EF convention and it is the most unique place I have ever visited. Usually I’m not a big fan of sites like this, I prefer to observe people in their everyday life and try to explore their culture and traditions. But this site is just incredible, the size is overwhelming and at the same time the level of detail it was built with is amazing.
Best meal abroad?
In a Spanish restaurant in Quito (Ecuador) called “el Meson de la Pradera”. When food is served you go to your table and as you’re enjoying a selection of delicious starters, you watch the chef preparing your main course. Finally, a flamenco guitarist creates the perfect atmosphere. Definitely number one.
My dream trip is a suborbital spaceflight. Reach 360,000ft, see the curvature of the Earth, and then gently glide back to the spaceport. It might seem a little crazy, but until five years ago it was a privilege for very few billionaires but presently you can do it for $200,000. By the time I reach retirement it might be affordable!
What do you never travel without?
Cash! At least a few dollars and/or euros in my pocket, depending on where I’m going. I obviously travel with credit cards, debit cards etc., but I have learned that a bit of cash can be surprisingly useful to get you through the most unexpected situations wherever you are.
Where are you going next?
I’m going to Montreal, Canada. I have never been but I’ve heard great things about the city. If time allows I would also like to visit Quebec City. I’m really looking forward to it.