‘Serendipity adds an eclectic spice to my travels’

Celebrated chef and food show host Vicky Ratnani is a self confessed travel junkie, writes Shilpi Madan

I am a very organised traveller, because I am an absolutely incurable travel junkie. As a rule, I always do web check-in to make my journey kickstart on a smooth note.

Of course, I am a rational packer, I neither travel too heavy nor too light, always optimum in terms of baggage allowance.

I always hated paying even a single dollar for excess baggage since my early days when I worked as a chef aboard a cruise liner (and literally lived out of a suitcase for many years, travelling economy class).

Maybe that is the most Sindhi aspect about me, and perhaps that is what makes me adept at packing.

Fitness freak

If it is a two day trip, it takes me as little as ten minutes to pack. Gym gear is a must for me.

In fact, if it is a late night or an early morning flight, then I simply slip into my track pants and a comfortable hoodie with my gym shoes on. Comfort is very important to me.

This way when I land and go to the hotel, I let the luggage go up to my room, and head straight to the gym for my exercise routine.

I am very particular about my workouts as I eat well too.

In my baggage, I make space for a zip up of toiletries, a couple of belts, two pairs of shoes and gym shoes, a pair of formal wear, and a few options in casual wear.

There are always a couple of magazines in my hand bag, usually a cookbook as well. I am very fond of reading and make the most of my time when I am in a cab, stuck in a traffic jam. I carry a notebook and a pen, as I scribble and make my notes, putting down my ideas and observations.

My iPad travels with me all the time and I love watching movies on Netflix and Amazon Prime when I am on the move. I manage my own social media accounts, mail my own invoices, write out my own posts...on my phone too.

As I like eating local, I never carry any food item even as emergency ration with me. The idea of being stuck without food is very remote. Anyway, who needs it when you can enjoy local fare.

When I travel though, being a gadget freak, I love to buy appliances, pots and pans of all kinds.

Believe me, my wife has threatened me, with clear instructions on not to buy even a single spoon now as there is no space in our house.

Cheese & spice

As I like visiting local markets wherever I go, I pick up spices, nuts, cold cuts, cheese...when I sojourn through farmers markets, flea markets...whichever part of the world I am in. I like travelling off the beaten track.

I am off to Goa next with a bunch of bartenders. We will go foraging in South Goa with a historian and a botanist and get back berries and leaves and such stuff for experimenting with food and drinks.

I am looking forward to it. For me, travelling is all about serendipity, discovering local food, music, culture...

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