It was in Ecuador’s Galápagos Islands where Francesco Galli Zugaro found his calling. Surrounded by the unspoiled beauty of nature, Zugaro was astounded by the sights he saw and explored, and all the more eager to share its wonders with adventurous travellers.
In 2008, he struck out with his partner Fred Brown to found and run Aqua Expeditions, a boutique cruise firm currently headquartered in Singapore, a city that Zugaro and his family now call home. The travel specialist will soon unveil an updated itinerary for its Indochina tour, which was first launched in 2014—a journey that will take travellers through Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand, in partnership with luxury resort Soneva Kiri and The Siam Hotel in Bangkok.
Here, the itinerant traveller reveals more about his sojourns.
What was your last trip?
Francesco Galli Zugaro (FGZ) In the last three months, I have been in Indonesia, Montenegro and Sicily. They are all amazing in their own right: Indonesia provides the equivalent of the Galapagos Islands in Southeast Asia; Montenegro’s Aman Sveti Stefan is a private island for only 100 guests, set in a 600 year-old village; and Sicily (in particular Capofaro, on Salina in the Aeolian Islands) is truly Italy at its best.
FGZ Mongolia, for the Golden Eagle Festival—to experience three days on horseback while living amongst the eagle hunters in Mongolia in their yurt. It’s something that I want to do with my wife and kids. It’s going to be cold but worth it.
What do you love most about travelling?
FGZ Getting out of my comfort zone and trying something new.
Most memorable travel experience?
FGZ Visiting the Galápagos Islands for the first time—I love how we were swimming with hammerhead sharks in the morning and then with the penguins in the afternoon.
And the worst?
FGZ To be honest, I have not had one bad trip. I keep an open mind and always look to the adventurous upside of any journey, even if it did not turn out as planned.
(Related: Mekong My Dreams Come True)
One place you’d visit over and over again?
FGZ Rome. It’s where my heart is.
Three things you always travel with?
FGZ I always change into my comfort wear when on a long flight. My Lululemon sweatpants, my Aqua Expeditions Peruvian pima long sleeve t-shirt, and a good book.
What do you normally read on the plane?
FGZ Luxury travel magazines, so that I stay current on the latest trends and openings.
Favourite travel companion?
FGZ My Macbook Air with the TwelveSouth cover.
Aisle or window seat?
FGZ Centre aisle, so I don’t need to step over anyone.
Favourite travel app?
Your best travel tip?
Drink lots of water and don’t drink alcohol during the flight. And keep your meals light.
Any tips on overcoming jet lag?
FGZ Set your watch upon boarding to the time of the final destination.
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