Travel: Bring your kids on safari means you will enjoy it more, too

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on August 28, 2019.

Thomson’s Gazelle, wildebeest, and zebra gathering by the waterhole at the Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania. Photos by Bloomberg

North shore of Oahu in the winter is just non-stop exciting.

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Linden Pride is founding partner of Dante in New York’s Greenwich Village, which took top honours 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 US 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 favourite airline, of course, is Qantas 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 is 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 is a red flag if you ask for it wet, and they do not know what that is. Then there is the size of the pour; I love it aperitif-style, rather than four ounces of frozen vodka; I do not need to fall off my stool and hyperventilate when I am jet-lagged. I have always been a twist fan, but recently we have 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 is 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 two years old. (Our other daughter, Millie, was not yet born.) We had resisted travelling 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 during the dry season, when there are fewer mosquitoes, and the risk of exposing ourselves was very low. And we did not do anything where she was not 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. It elevated our experience.

 

Always record things — but do not do it with ink or a keyboard

I am someone that needs to write things down to remember them. And when I lived in Bangkok and travelled across Southeast Asia for work for a while, there were so many times I would throw my hand into my bag 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. It never runs out of ink, and if you need to sharpen it, just go old school; I have used steak knives or the back end of a bottle opener in a hotel room.

You can mix your own martini on a flight — here is how

My go-to cocktail on a plane is a 50/50 martini. You are in control of mixing it yourself, so it is 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, stir it with a plastic stirrer, then pour it back into a second plastic cup and add a rind of the lemon they would otherwise serve you with a soft drink. There is 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 Sao Paulo, which is one of my favourite cities on Earth, in a very safe, wealthy neighbourhood 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. It has taught me to always travel with a cheap travel watch that is easily expendable and to leave my nice watch at home.

 

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 did not 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.

 

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 travelling: 6am when I was leaving home and a red-eye, 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 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 have seen the value in paying attention to maximising that time on the ground. Now, when I book a flight at a different time of day, I feel like I have 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.

 

Hit the best beach in Hawaii, off season

I love Hawaii, especially Oahu, because there is just something about being in the middle of the Pacific Ocean with the largest major city six hours’ flight away: The air, climate, incredible produce from the volcanic soil. You feel so much more engaged with both the land and ocean. If you go to the north shore of Oahu in the winter, as a spectator, it is just non-stop exciting, because you are looking at the waves which show Mother Nature at her most extreme, surging or not. It is not busy on the beaches, and you can go snorkelling up and down the coast. I love Shark’s Cove which is heritage listed. — Bloomberg