Pavia Rosati and Jeralyn Gerba, founders of travel website Fathom, are always on-the-go. Fathom, which launched in 2011, sets out to inspire travel lovers with tons of practical advice on trips to take, personal stories and dreamy destinations from Bhutan to L.A.. Here the adventurous duo share their inflight beauty must-haves, tell us the coolest remote hotel located in a tiny medieval village, and where they’ll be heading to this upcoming summer (hint, it involves the Amalfi Coast).
1. What inspired you to start Fathom?
JG: We wanted to create a travel website that served the needs of travelers like ourselves: people curious about the world, interested in local experiences, charmed by great design, excited by a sense of discovery, and always hungry for more. We set out to build an online experience that’s practical and helpful during the trip planning process, but also beautiful to visit and inspirational to read on an everyday basis.
2. How many trips do you take a year?
PR: I can never predict this because a lot of our travel is spontaneous or last minute. I typically go into a year knowing of two or three trips that I’m going to take and by the end the year I’ve taken around 12 to 15.
JG: I have a long and ever-growing list of places to visit. (The more I travel, the more I add to the list.) I try to schedule out at least one big international trip and one domestic adventure per year. Then I add in trips to visit family and friends. And then, always quite randomly, comes the onslaught of work trips usually in late spring and early winter.
3. Do you have a favorite airline?
PR: I flew Air New Zealand (business and coach) between the US, Australia, and New Zealand last year and loved everything about it: the look of the plane, entertainment offerings, the hilarious in-flight videos, the seats-that-turn-into sofas, and their charitable endeavors.
4. Do you have a favorite airport?
JG: JFK’s Terminal 5 is my favorite home base. Hong Kong International Airport gets gold stars for their incredible public transport connection to Hong Kong Island. And there is a great sense of relief every time I touch down at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. It’s so civilized there! Streamlined Dutch design, organic snacks (served on ceramic Dutch blue plates), good WiFi, an amazing whisky shop, a mini library, and—if you can catch it—live piano music in some of the lounges.
5. You both travel so often. Any tried and true packing/planning tips?
JG: We are both big researchers. That’s part of the fun of traveling in the first place. We look up tons of stuff, get in touch with friends of friends of friends, and pre-map recommendations before we hit the road. But we also leave room for lots of spontaneity and serendipity and getting lost.
6. Are there any in-flight items you always bring with you?
JG: My goal is to keep it analog up in the air. Books, magazines, anything I’ve ripped out of newspapers—it all comes with me. As do a bevy of mini spa products, like Caudalie’s grape mist and a bee propolis my friend makes for me from his apiary.
PR: More magazines than I could possibly read, enough food to feed a small village, three cashmere sweaters, noise-reducing headphones, Evian mist, and moisturizer.
7. What about your travel beauty must-haves?
JG: La Prairie makes a sunscreen stick that’s very portable and Earth Tu Face and S.W. Basics of Brooklyn have become my travel staples. Both brands are all about using whole ingredients, mixed in small batches. They are gentle, but pack a real punch.
PR: My beauty essentials are oil and water (so much for not mixing). Water, not only to drink, but also to mist. I’m increasingly addicted to Evian water mists on the plane—yes, the old-fashioned mists that everyone had in the early 2000s. And I’m constantly moisturizing my face and hands with Kahina Giving Beauty’s organic argan oil. I also like to slather coconut oil on my hair for the long flight home at the end of a trip. I’m usually worn out and my hair is too.
8. Have you been to any places in the past year that absolutely blew you away?
PR: I had heard about Eze, a tiny medieval village on the Cote d’Azur, and knew it to be romantic and remote. But I had no idea how tiny the town was or how interesting my hotel, La Chevre d’Or, would be. The hotel is built into the city, so that to get to my room, I had to walk from reception through the cobble stone streets to get to a nearby piazza. It was so charming! Bhutan was also extraordinary—still and peaceful and stunning in majesty, grace, and superstition. I was there for a Gray Malin photo shoot for Le Meridien Hotels. One afternoon while hiking up a mountain to get to a monastery, my friend and I fell into conversation with four young Buddhist monks. They took us on a tour of the monastery and we then asked them to spend the day with us. They accompanied us to the photo location, and Gray was inspired to add them to his shoot. When I landed at JFK two days later, I had Facebook friend requests from the monks. My new wired and virtuous pals!
9. What about summer travel plans? What places are on your list for both work and vacation?
JG: I’m having a baby in September so I am packing in as many trips as I can this summer. We’re shooting a mini documentary about the surf culture in Barbados, so I’ll be chasing the waves there for a few days. And I have a work trip that will take me to several Hawaiian Islands (I’m already getting into the spirit of Aloha). I’m taking my mom to Sicily for her birthday—we’ll roam around Cefalù, Etna, Ortigia, and Noto before meeting Pavia and her family at our favorite little spot on the Amalfi Coast. And finally, just before they refuse to let me on a plane anymore, my husband and I will get out to White Sands, New Mexico. Which basically looks like the moon.
PR: I’m starting the summer with six weeks in Europe. First Munich for a wedding and a wander through the Black Forest, then to my place in London for part two of the wedding and a side trip to The Pig Near Bath, and ending with a week with friends family (including Jeralyn and her mom, whom I adore) on the Amalfi Coast at Lo Scoglio. I love NYC and backyard barbecues in the Hamptons in the summer, so I plan to stay put for July and August. I’m looking at Patagonia for Labor Day and really hope I can plan it before it gets to be August 22 and I have to look at my husband and tell him, “damn. Oh well, next year…”
10. If you were not running Fathom, what would you be doing?
PR: Lately I keep dreaming about running a small hotel in a charming place.
JG: Hey! That’s my ongoing fantasy.