If time is money, then the team behind luxury travel service Black Tomato spends every second of theirs ensuring yours is well-spent. And if you fancy dreamy getaways unwinding in the pools of private beachfront studios in the Maldives or the “pampered escapism” touted on extravagant South African safaris that make ‘glamping’ look like roughing it, you’ll definitely get along with this week’s featured traveler, Tom Marchant. Black Tomato’s debonair co-founder, Tom often culls inspiration for the company’s vacation packages from his personal travels. He’s hitched rides from fishing boats in the South China Sea and fled alligators in Brazil, but don’t let that scare you—Black Tomato’s trips are more exotic in location than in itinerary. For travelers who seek luxury with a wild streak, Black Tomato is the ideal resource. All you have to do is show up.
Right now I’m in: London
Though I would much prefer to be in: Turku, Finland. The white nights are arriving and I’d spend my days hanging out on and travelling across the archipelago that links it to Sweden.
Occupation: Co-Founder of the Black Tomato Travel Group
My next trip is to: New York
My last trip took me to: Kazakhstan
My Russian ushanka (winter hat) is my most treasured travel souvenir. A year in Moscow when I was 22 was one of the most formative experiences of my life.
Favorite restaurant: Jamonal de Ramonet. Tiny, locals’ tapas bar in the back streets of Denia on the Costa Blanca.
Backpack, wheelie, or trunk? None – battered, mahogany leather holdall. Equally at home on the backs of tuk-tuks or the lobby of Le Royal Monceau.
Live music is the best way to connect with locals.
What’s the one hometown place you miss most while traveling? It’s people I miss more than places, often finding that it’s the people that make a place, but places I always can’t wait to get back to are: Broadway Market in London Fields, walks with my wife and our dog in Victoria Park, late nights in dive bars in Shoreditch and Hackney.
Where do you always take out-of-town friends? During the day: Walks along Regents Canal, lunch at Moro or Morito in Exmouth Market, early evening sunset drinks on Primrose Hill. At night: Brawn on Columbia Road for dinner, Casita on Ravey St in Shoreditch for cocktails. Then wander and get lost amongst the regular pop-ups and hidden bars of east London.
Fly solo or travel with family/friends/tour group? Best travel companion is my wife. Love of travel is one of the reasons we first connected. Love traveling solo also. Time out and time with your own thoughts is very important to me and I like to do it when I can.
Biggest travel mistake? Competitive tanning with my brother on a vacation in my early twenties. Turns out he had some lotion on. I didn’t. I lost. And didn’t see sunlight for a week. Thinking about it still makes me wince.
Favorite foreign word or phrase: kippis. Means cheers in Finnish and brings back memories of summers spent with my mother’s family in Finland and recent experiences of being there. Every time your hear kippis it is accompanied by a laugh and you know that good times are upon you.
Travel has taught me: To always be open-minded and embrace every opportunity to explore that comes your way. In exploring the world, you are exploring yourself and that, in my book, is a very good thing. If you’re always traveling, you’re always learning.
Photo courtesy of Tom Marchant