INTERNATIONAL - At Bloomberg Pursuits, we love to travel. And we always want to make sure we’re doing it right.
So we’re talking to globe-trotters in all of our luxury fields—food, wine, fashion, cars, real estate—to learn about their high-end hacks, tips, and off-the-wall experiences. These are the Distinguished Travel Hackers.
Linden Pride is founding partner of Dante in New York’s Greenwich Village, which took top honors at this year’s Tales of the Cocktail, the mixology world’s answer to the Oscars. A second outpost of the bar-restaurant will open this fall in the West Village.
Pride began his career in Sydney, where he was named Australian Bartender of the Year, before hopscotching across the world with stints in Southeast Asia and Europe. He arrived in the U.S. in 2011, working with AvroKo Hospitality Group, a design and restaurant-management firm. Four years later, he formed his own company, Figure of 8 Hospitality, with partners Naren Young and Natalie Hudson, and opened Dante.
The expat Australian’s favorite airline, of course, is Qantas—“it feels like home every time you get on board”—and he logs around 150,000 miles in the air each year.
Pride lives in New York with his wife and two daughters. Here are his travel secrets.
When you walk into a hotel bar, one drink is a simple test of any bartender’s skills.
There are so many ways to make a martini acceptably, and so many aspects that can make it exceptional, it’s the one drink that shows whether they have paid sufficient levels of care to their task. It sounds simple and obvious, but ice shards or a warm glass? Not a good thing. And it’s a red flag if you ask for it wet [heavy on vermouth], and they don’t know what that is. Then there’s the size of the pour; I love it aperitif-style, rather than four ounces of frozen vodka; I don’t need to fall off my stool and hyperventilate when I’m jet-lagged. I’ve always been a twist fan, but recently we’ve been playing with olive oil—just a drop on the top of the drink to add viscosity and salinity. Put three to four drops of Ravida olive oil from Sicily; that’s fragrant, almost spicy, and it will change your life.
Yes, you should take your kids on safari—and not just for their sake.
I recently took a trip to Zambia and Tanzania with our daughter, Grace, who was just 2 years old. (Our other daughter, Millie, wasn’t yet born.)
We had resisted traveling to Africa for so long; we thought it was perhaps too far away, unsafe, or just too difficult to get to. What we had not expected was how thrilling each part of the trip would be. There are considerations around malaria and so forth, but we went in dry season, when there are fewer mosquitoes, and the risk of exposing ourselves was very low. And we didn’t do anything where she wasn’t with us the entire time.
We skipped fly fishing or a canoe ride up the Lower Zambezi. But Gracie became almost like an extra guide, who helped us look at everything with an extra sense of wonder.
Seeing beautiful elephants by myself, for example, I don’t think I would be as engaged or as mesmerized by it as I was when seeing them with her. It elevated our experience.
Always record things—but don’t do it with ink or a keyboard.
I’m someone that needs to write things down to remember them. And when I lived in Bangkok and traveled across Southeast Asia for work for a while, there were so many times I would throw my hand into my bag (or even worse, into my pocket) and discover the tragedy of a blown biro [ballpoint pen]. It may have been due to the heat and insane humidity that meant the ink just ran so easily. Blue ink painting my fingers, notebook, and often my laptop, usually right as I was about to start a meeting. Since that time, I never travel without a pencil—well, a couple, in case I lose one. It never runs out of ink, and if you need to sharpen it, just go old school; I’ve used steak knives or the back end of a bottle opener in a hotel room. I’m constantly sketching, too, so there’s a touch and feel I love that you don’t get with a biro.
You can mix your own martini on a flight—here’s how.
My go-to cocktail on a plane is a 50/50 martini. You’re in control of mixing it yourself, so it’s so easy controlling the ice dilution. Take a full cup of ice in one plastic cup, then pour equal parts vodka and vermouth over the ice [on long haul flights, the air team will have vermouth], stir it with a plastic stirrer, then pour it back into a second plastic cup and add a rind of the lemon they’d otherwise serve you with a soft drink. There’s nothing better after racing to get to an airport than relaxing into a simple, cold, crisp martini like this.
When in doubt, wear that Swatch.
I travel a lot, especially in big cities, and I was robbed at gunpoint in Brazil recently. I was in Sâo Paulo, which is one of my favorite cities on Earth, in a very safe, wealthy neighborhood in the middle of the day.
A guy on a motorbike pulled up in front of me, started yelling at me, and stuck a gun in my chest. Another guy pulled up behind, to box me in. I thought they wanted my wallet, but they wanted my watch, a vintage Rolex, kinda beat up, that no one would look twice at in London or New York.
They took it, and disappeared. I walked away, feeling very grateful my family wasn’t with me and I didn’t get hurt. It’s taught me to always travel with a cheap travel watch that’s easily expendable and to leave my nice watch at home. You can never let your guard down in a big city.
Keep two things on you at all times if you need to make an emergency exit.
I lived in Moscow, opening a restaurant over there, and I always had my passport and one credit card on me at all times. I wanted to make sure I had enough money on me to get out of a situation at all times and could flee the country at a moment’s notice; I wanted to make sure I didn’t even have to go home.
I could feel the underbelly of life there. And now, there are certain cities in the world where I do that still, so I have a safety net in a precarious area: my passport in my front [pants] pocket and a spare credit card.
I do that in Jakarta, without question, and Moscow, still, and now in Istanbul. It’s a place I grew to love so much, but in recent times, with the rising up of the students against the increasingly Islamic law and unrest. The food is still great, but it’s a little unsafe at the moment.
The “first in, last out” rule applies to flying, too.
When I started a small business with a colleague in Hong Kong, he would always have me on the first or last flight out when I was traveling: 6 a.m. when I was leaving home and a redeye, or the last flight out, on the way back, even if that was on the same day. It would save on a night’s accommodation—this was in 2008, just as the global economy was tanking—and I could get a client dinner in before I left the country. I hated it at the time, as it nearly killed me, but over the years I’ve seen the value in paying attention to maximizing that time on the ground. Now, when I book a flight at a different time of day, I feel like I’ve lost an entire day to travel, which I could have used getting to know a city, or having a meeting, or even having a great meal. On a plane, I just pull my hoodie over my eyes, or maybe a cap, and listen to some slow Saudi Arabian mystical music, which drowns out any other noise. It’s very calming and relaxing.
Hit the best beach in Hawaii, off season.
I love Hawaii, especially Oahu, because there’s just something about being in the middle of the Pacific Ocean with the largest major city six hours’ flight away: the air, the climate, the incredible produce from the volcanic soil. You feel so much more engaged with both the land and the ocean. If you go to the north shore of Oahu in the winter, as a spectator, it’s just nonstop exciting, because you’re looking at the waves which show Mother Nature at her most extreme, surging or not. When my daughter went there, after we went to Africa, she said, “Papa, it sounds like a lion.” But I love going in summer, when there isn’t a single wave and the water is like a pond. It’s not busy on the beaches, and you can go snorkeling up and down the coast. I love Shark’s Cove—this small rocky bay—which is heritage listed.