Fashion designer Wendell Rodricks and his partner Jerome Marrel have visited 150 countries. And they don’t intend to slow down. They talk to us about their dream destinations, travel quirks, and the art of dealing with fans on a holiday. By Shikha Pushpan
How many countries have you two travelled to together?
W&J: Between us, we have visited 140-150 countries of the UN’s 193 countries. We desire to see the rest of the countries too.
Which was the last trip you took together?
W&J: The recent trip was to Chennai. Anybody visiting the city should definitely plan to vist Kalakshetra. We love India and are trying to explore as much as we can of this large, diverse country. Overseas, we went to Croatia last summer. Zagreb, Hvar, Split, and Dubrovnik are fabulous, as are other islands and cities of the Dalmatian Coast. We went beyond Croatia to explore Paris, Reims, Épernay, Champagne, Milan, and Lake Como. The fact that we went around on private jets and stayed at the famed Villa d’Este in Lake Como made the holiday splendidly luxurious.
How are you two different as travellers?
W&J: We are twins as far as travelling is concerned. Every year, we strike a balance of holidays: cultural, sportive, and relaxing.
The one travel destination you’ve been eyeing for long.
W&J: Ethiopia. The other inward journey is the opening of the Moda Goa Museum and Research Centre, India’s first costume museum, this summer.
A destination you visit often or most closely identify with?
W: All of India, especially Goa. But also, Singapore, Turkey, South America, Canada, China, UK, USA, and Europe.
J: Turkey. We spent six years in Istanbul and have driven all over the country.
How do you feel about sharing your travels on social media?
W&J: I share every travel on social media because I want my friends and fans to explore the world. I post daily so that people can get inspired.
What is a typical holiday like? Are you explorers?
W&J: ‘Explorers’ is putting it mildly. We go where others don’t dare. Everyone said, ‘Don’t go to Iran’. But we did travel to that fabulous country. Syria, Libya, and Mongolia were equally stunning. We now want to see Ur in Iraq and Lahore in Pakistan.
How do you deal with fans while on a holiday?
J: I just walk ahead till the selfies [with Wendell] are over. And it happens even in the remotest parts of the world.
Five things you don’t travel without.
W: iPad, a book on the country, toilet bag, shawl, and sturdy shoes.
J: My Samsung tab (for e-books) and phone (for a great camera), my shahtoosh shawl (bought when it was legal), travel adaptor, and Tod’s shoes for comfort.
Any bizarre flight experiences?
W: When I first went to the Maldives in 1984, they singled me out for an AIDS test. Bizarre!
The first thing you look for while checking into a hotel room?
W&J: Whether the bathroom is clean, and the bed is soft and comfy.
Which countries are the most LGBTQ-friendly?
W&J: No modern country cares about [your] LGBTQ [identity]. And those that care to penalise are hypocrites. There are LGBTQ communities everywhere in the world, whether a government chooses to believe it or not.