Deputy Online Country Manager for the UK: Deepesh Patel
For our third #HistoryofmyVacation staff interview here on the Travelex Hub, we sat down with Deputy Online Country Manager for the UK, Deepesh Patel.
Deepesh lives in supercool Shoreditch and spends his days working in our London office.
Read on to find out all about his vacation memories, top travel tips and insider currency knowledge.
What kind of vacationer are you? Relaxing breach break, culture vulture, foodie trip, backpacker etc
A mixture. I quite enjoy jumping on a short haul flight to Prague or Milan for a weekend away, but I also love planning for a longer trip to somewhere more adventurous.
Last year, I spent the summer visiting the tech scene in Silicon Valley, living like a local resident, tasting the great food, and meeting amazing, driven entrepreneurs.
What’s your earliest vacation memory?
Probably India with my family. I remember waking up to peacocks strutting around my grandma’s garden, and reading Harry Potter and Prisoner of Azkaban in a record-breaking two days.
It was great to go back to my family village in Gujarat; to see the way my ancestors lived was pretty incredible.
I remember going to the farm, which also happened to be our back garden, and picking the fresh vegetables with my parents which would be our evening meal that day! It was also very peaceful being surrounded by just grassland, without a road or house in sight for miles around. It was quite incredible.
What’s the furthest you’ve ever been from home?
I went to Hong Kong a few years ago – unfortunately our flight was delayed due to a tropical storm and we went via Doha Airport, so I was traveling for around 24 hours!
Nonetheless, Hong Kong was a beautiful, futuristic city.
What’s the longest you’ve ever been away from home?
I received a Winston Churchill Fellowship to do some scientific research in the Amazon Rainforest in 2012. It was probably the most adventurous and best experience I’ve ever had on vacation.
From small caimen to tailless whip scorpions, indigenous tribes and tamarind monkeys, I was in a tropical paradise far from home, surviving on local Amazonian foods and researching medicinal plants.
I led an expedition with a team of around 10 people. We were interviewing locals, filming the expedition, and conducting a series of transects to analyse levels of biodiversity in different areas of rainforest.
How many countries have you visited? Do you have a favorite?
I've visited 17 countries and don’t really have a favorite. I can pick specific parts of each which I would consider favorite moments, including:
- Visiting Tsavo East National Park in Kenya
- Touring Delhi in India
- Seeing the July 4th Fireworks in New York
- Walking through Prague at night
- Seeing a DJ playing at Faust, in Paris
- Wandering along the canal system in Amsterdam
How far in advance do you pick up your foreign currency?
If I need an exotic currency, then I’d normally order my currency online a week or so before. More recently though, Supercard (only available in UK right now) has been a bit of a savior (biases aside), and it’s been the most convenient travel money solution for me.
Do you budget your spending money or are you a vacation splurger?
I tend to splurge when I’m on vacation – it’s a special treat!
Do you like to research before you go or discover it all after you arrive?
I never research before going on vacation. I tend to ask locals, ask a few mates what the ‘must see’ places are, and discover places for myself. I also read about places I visit when I’m actually there. When I visited Mount Vesuvius with my aunt last year, Wikipedia was a savior and I considered myself to be the best local tour guide around!
Top pick destination for 2016
I will be heading back to India later on this year which I’m really excited about. I’m torn between North and South India, but I’ll definitely spend some time traveling as well as visiting my home town.
Top travel tip
It’s not the most exciting tip but: take plastic bags – they’re incredibly useful and versatile!