Proust Travel Questionnaire: Tata Harper

- Joy Pecknold, Passport blog editor

On her 12,000 acre farm in Vermont, Colombian-born Tata Harper grows many of the ingredients for 100 percent natural, non-toxic namesake skincare line. When she isn’t home tending the fields and laboratory, she’s jetting hither and thither. On a visit to Vancouver’s BeautyMark, she took our travel questionnaire away with her.

The in-flight film you hope for: I like when recent releases are played on the plane. I’d love to see The Hunger Games again.

The last book you took on holiday: I recently read the book Why by Simon Sinek which takes a look into what makes great leaders great—it’s really inspiring.

You tend to pack too many…: Shoes. I overdo it and try to pack a pair for each occasion, when really I should be better about just bringing staples. It can be difficult to pick when you’re going to different climates.

Your idea of travel happiness: A well-organized trip in a beautiful new place, without too much rushing about so I can have some time to explore and relax. Ideally my family would be with me wherever I go.

Your idea of travel misery: Delays, flight cancellations, poor planning, no sleep, bad weather, or having to pack and drag around such a heavy bag everywhere for two weeks. No fun!

Your favorite quality in a hotel: A relaxing energy. It’s so nice to stay somewhere that realizes that travelers are exhausted and just need a place with comfy furniture, great bed and good food. Plus a room with a beautiful view never hurts!

What do you appreciate most in a travel partner? Positivity, spontaneity and an good attitude that can handle last-minute schedule changes. It can be really exhausting to travel with someone who complains. They just need to be able to go with the flow and make the most of it.

What is your greatest extravagance while abroad? I love to treat myself to amazing food when I’m in a new place to get a real feel for the local cuisine, plus I always seek out a spa where I can get a massage or all-natural facial, which are so essential when you’ve been traveling for days.

What is your favorite journey to take? I love going home to Colombia to visit my family and spend time by the beach. So many great memories!

What is your greatest fear abroad? Probably the ones everybody else has—I try to be careful about theft and keeping a low profile.

Which historical world traveler do you most identify with? What an interesting question! I’m not sure about a historic world traveler, but I respect so much the passion with which female entrepreneurs like Coco Chanel and Estée Lauder pursued their dreams and created such successful companies. I imagine they traveled a lot, and managed to keep their head above water in the craziness of being an entrepreneur. It’s both always exciting and always overwhelming.

What is the travel habit you most deplore in yourself? I sometimes feel that my head is always buried in work when I am traveling, which makes sense because I’m traveling for my business. But I wish I took a little more time to learn more about and appreciate where I am, because every new place is so interesting.

What is the travel habit you most deplore in others? This isn’t really a habit but I don’t like it when travelers become grouchy and take out their tiredness on the people around them. Patience and kindness are so important when you’re in an airport and everybody’s tired—that one negative passenger can really wreck everybody’s day.

In what travel situations do you lie? I don’t think that’s something I do very often! I can’t think of a travel situation that would require me to lie. Maybe if someone asked how I was doing when I was really tired, I might say “great” when really I was feeling far from it.

When and where were you last happiest? At home on my farm in Vermont. It’s a beautiful time of year there now, the last real month of summer, and I can’t get enough of the natural beauty all around me.

What is your most treasured take-along? I’d have to say my iPhone. It allows me to stay in touch with my family and on top of my schedule.

What is your travel motto? There are probably a lot of mottos that would fit my approach to travel, but I’ll say “don’t sweat the small stuff”. You have to be prepared for little challenges and unexpected obstacles that come along when you’re traveling and you just need to keep an open mind and good attitude, and remember that everything will be fine in the end.

Follow Tata on Twitter: @tataharper

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