In our latest travel series, we journey the world with some of our favourite frequent fliers — from Abu Dhabi to Zurich, Changi to Heathrow — to find out what they’re like on the go.
Warning: travel envy ensues.
Name: Ellie Furuya
Profession: Programmer & Social Media Manager at National Geographic Asia
Countries Visited: 31
Where was your last destination?
Skukuza, Cape Town and Stellenbosch in South Africa! Skukuza first for safari, Cape Town for food, and Stellenbosch for wine.
What was the best and worst thing about it?
The best – my birthday. My boyfriend surprised me with a treehouse staycation in the middle of the bush. Staying for one night in the solar-powered treehouse was incredible, being surrounded by wildlife on all sides, and of course no wifi. A 3-course fine dining meal was waiting for us, as well as a bottle of champagne, and iPads with stargazing apps for when the sun went down. Never felt so far from home, in a good way!
The worst – miscalculating my outfit for a freezing morning game drive (it was 4 degrees!), and getting a fever as a result. I was destroyed in bed for an entire day and missed out on a precious evening game drive.
What do you never travel without?
My portable charger. I don’t remember the last time my phone ran out of battery.
What’s your favourite travel ensemble?
I like to appear more presentable whilst travelling. I’ll throw an oversized blazer on over a comfortable top, and always prefer my versatile Celine luggage bag for a classic look.
Where is your favourite hotel?
Delaire Graff in Stellenbosch, a Relais & Chateaux property owned by diamond magnate Laurence Graff. It’s located in its own little enclave in the beautiful Cape wine lands, surrounded by lush greenery and rolling vineyards. Each room comes with a complimentary wine-tasting session, some of the best wines I’ve ever had. The suites are interior design heaven, with terrace and private heated infinity pool, as well as amenities by Aromatherapy Associates.
What’s your favourite airline and why?
Cathay Pacific. I’ve never really had issues flying with them, and service is always great. I also look forward to their various chef collaborations for the long-haul in-flight dining menus.
Tell us your most memorable travel story.
In Skukuza on safari. It was our first day there and we had no idea what to expect. The aim was to see the big 5, but we ended up seeing all five on the first drive – and then some. The most incredible moment was my first time seeing a large male leopard close enough to touch from our open vehicle. He had just successfully killed an impala and dragged it up into a low-lying branch on a tree to protect it from hyenas. I’ve screened endless hours of leopard kills on wildlife documentaries over four years working at Nat Geo, and it was something else to see it all in real life.
Show us your favourite travel photo.
This is a picture of me having breakfast at San Antonio Hotel in Santorini, Greece. The pristine view of the Aegean sea and volcanic caldera in the distance turned my favourite meal of the day into an incredible experience every morning. Favourite hotel breakfast of all time!
Where is your favourite airport and why?
JFK. It seems random but every memory I’ve associated with being there is brimming excitement. I just love New York so much, and it’s one of my favourite places in the entire world. Especially feels good being there after a killer 16-hour flight from the other side of the world.
Share your top travel tip(s) with us!
- How to deal with jet lag: power through it. Never nap. I’ve lost so many precious hours of daylight from my own terrible willpower and food coma-induced midday naps. Funnily enough, after bingeing on the Chip NYC cookies and Prince St Pizza from the below photo, I fell asleep for four hours and missed dinner!
- What items to carry on and use in-flight: for long-haul flights, I always carry makeup removal pads and Laura Mercier illuminating tinted moisturizer so I can clean and refresh my skin before landing. It’s infused with SPF+++ and micro-pearls so gives your skin a nice dewy look, instead of ashy and dried out after a flight.
Where are you off to next?
I’m flying off to London for a few days next week, and Tokyo after that for Christmas.