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Stuck on Travel: Nick Cope

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Cope with his wife and business partner, Rachel

Cope with his wife and business partner, Rachel

Co-founder, Calico Wallpaper

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Cope, who launched the Brooklyn-based Calico wallpaper atelier with his wife, Rachel, in 2013, prefers to stay plugged in when he’s traveling, and makes sure he never misses his daily coffee fix while on the road.

Let’s play spin the globe—name the one place you’ve always wanted to go.
I have always wanted to visit Morocco. My father took a long hiatus from his studies at Harvard in 1969 and moved to Marrakesh to import garments and furnishings. When I was younger, he would spin tales from the Atlas Mountains where he may or may not have posed as an English lord to create close ties with a group of Berbers. If I visit I would probably sit by the pool with Rachel and our daughter, Willow, but there is something mysterious that has always drawn me there.

What’s your spirit city? (Where do you want to return to over and over?)
Barring New York, where I live, I would have to say Copenhagen. There is something so clean, organized, and wonderful about that place. It’s a bunch of super-happy Vikings. Love the food too!

Do you have a travel ritual?
I hope this doesn’t sound pretentious, but I like booking a smart hotel in advance. Finding a place with an excellent concierge is really key to help you navigate the logistical surprises of being in a new place. Once the foundation of your experience is sorted then it’s really easy to explore.

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Do you maintain any routines from home while traveling or does it all go out the window?
I always try to remember to take my vitamins and hit the gym, but to be honest who can do really do that? Usually I’m out too late and out of the hotel too early to keep on a regular schedule.

Cope never tires of visiting Copenhagen

Sorry, you only get to eat one regional cuisine for the rest of your life. What is it?
Easy. Thai.

 What one piece of advice would you give to someone traveling abroad for the first time?
Try not to prepare too extensively. Travel is about searching and home is what’s been found (think: Bjork’s “Hunter”). Therefore, try to have an open mind and allow the experience of a new way of life to really get inside and shake things up a bit.

Describe your travel personality in three words.
Never not excited.

Are your trips very planned, or very spontaneous?
I like to have a hit list of things to see and do. However I’m quite open to making decisions on the fly. If a local friend gives a recommendation, then I’m all over it.

What's the one travel souvenir you'd save in a fire?
I have a Ganesh statue that is really special, which I picked up when visiting Bali. However, it was made from volcanic stone so it might be impervious to fire.

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What book/movie most inspired you to travel?
For travel inspiration it’s all about Hemingway. The drama of The Snows of Kilimanjaro really inspired me. The Sheltering Sky by Paul Bowles was also moving, minus the tragedy.

Who’s your ideal travel partner?
I had one of the best trips of my life with my mother. We went to the temples of Angkor in Siem Reap, Cambodia together for her 50th birthday. We just always seemed to be on the same wavelength and were finding ourselves in the most interesting situations, meeting great people, and pacing ourselves perfectly.

Which travel experience do you prefer: plugged in or unplugged?
For better or worse I’m always plugged in while traveling. There is something nice and modern about being able to keep your studio moving seamlessly from a smartphone in a Bangkok tuk-tuk at 2am.

What’s a custom from another culture that you’d love to implement in your life back home?
The Japanese really got it right with keeping shoes out of the living space. When you really think about it, our western habit of trudging around our homes with muddy treads is pretty barbaric.

What’s the first thing you seek out in a new place?
Probably a good cup of coffee, which depending on the location, excepting Italy, can be a real challenge.

What’s the one thing you indulge in on a trip that you don’t at home?

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What’s your first travel memory?
This probably couldn’t be much more American, but I went to the Alamo when I was very little with my parents. My father was from Texas and loved San Antonio for its peaceful canals.

>>NEXT: AFAR Insider Edie Rodriguez

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