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How to ace disasters and keep alive the joie de vivre of a trip

  • Let spontaneity fuel your adventure spirit.
  • Leave something to chance without planning. It might be best part of your trip.

Priyank Sukhija and Natasha Jain fit their travel around work.
Priyank Sukhija and Natasha Jain fit their travel around work. (Manoj Verma/ Mint)

Leaving your well-packed bags at home when you’re heading for an international trip can either be a deal-breaking romantic holiday, or an incredible memory that tickles you through life. Fortunately for Natasha Jain, 30, and Priyank Sukhija, 39, its a favourite travel story. Over years of counting miles together, Jain and Sukhija have managed to turn around every possible situation that could have spelt doom into memories that trigger loud embarrassed laughs. If you are wondering what happened to the luggage and if they did get on the flight, the answer is “yes". Their friends brought the luggage just in time.

As CEO and MD of First Fiddle F&B Pvt. Ltd, the brand behind a dozen restaurants and pubs in the country, Sukhija is used to blurred boundaries between work and relaxation. The same goes for Jain, CEO and co-founder of an international contemporary interior design studio, Bent Chair. Despite work hours spilling on to meals and families, the duo manage to take four holidays in a year, each a week long to re-energize.

While their first trip together in 2015 was to Hong Kong, Jain likes to remember Europe as the mega-holiday that got them addicted to travelling together as a couple, who are engaged and plan on getting married this year. It’s no surprise that it came with a disaster story. Jain was travelling from Hong Kong and Sukhija was to join her in Italy. Sukhija asked his house help to ready his suitcase—he packed everything for a beach holiday, complete with flip flops and shorts. “We arrived in a freezing Italy and when Priyank opened his bag, we couldn’t help but double up laughing. It was a long trip of three weeks and the first thing we had to do was shop for weather-appropriate clothes," says Jain giggling. The trip was full of new experiences, so the little shopping speed breaker was soon forgotten.

In fact, that has been the tenor of most of their trips since then. Both Jain and Sukhija find themselves drawn to cities but seldom find themselves museum-hopping or queuing up for sights. Their trips are generally food-centric. “The last time we went to London, we ended up going to the same restaurant every single day for four days," remembers Jain.

If it’s not food, their trips are about sampling beaches across the world, their two favourite destinations being Koh Samui and Ibiza.

Jain and Sukhija have returned to Koh Samui and Ibiza repeatedly. Koh Samui’s endless golden ribbons of sand are ideal to view surreal sunsets that jolt you from a relaxed stupor. On the other hand, Ibiza is anything but the perfect place to unwind with new music, undiscovered deejays and a giant party where no night looks the same. Sukhija’s preference for music-heavy destinations, including festivals, has added a new dimension to their travels in recent times. The Tomorrowland UNITE Spain in Santa Coloma de Gramenet in Spain is a favourite. But it’s food that really makes a destination tick for both. “Luckily, we tend to have the same opinion on dishes and restaurants, so it’s always our safe theme to go with," says Sukhija.

As a couple, they have never worked to travel, instead fitting their travel around work. Last-minute bookings, unplanned days and half-done itineraries make room for surprises during the trip. And even though their phones ping with work messages frequently, it doesn’t mean that they don’t have fun.

The next destination that makes an excellent culinary case for itself? “Has to be Japan," both Jain and Sukhija agree. They’re sure of the cuisines they want to try, the cities they want to explore and the restaurants they want to book. The only thing that is left to see is what travel disaster comes with this.

Travel for Two is a series in which couples walk us through their favourite trips, measuring their travels in most memorable moments and not miles.

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