Contributors - The Escapist 2024 - Magazine | Monocle

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Dave Seminara

Buffalo native turned Florida man Seminara is a writer, diplomat, tennis addict and keen traveller. As he details in a column on the joys of cruises, Seminara would rather board a beautiful ship bound for a hell hole than a plane headed to paradise. “People who want to ban cruise ships are no friends of mine,” he says.

Where do you go for a little R&R?
I’m too curious and hyperactive to be relaxed while on holiday but near my home, I can go to the beach bar at the Don Cesar Hotel, aka the Pink Palace, on St Pete Beach in Florida and take a one-hour holiday that’s often more relaxing than a real one.

Stefan Dotter

Dotter was born in a small town in southern Germany. With an architect father and an art-school graduate mother, creativity was an ever-present force in his formative years. With a few stops in between, he ended up settling in Tokyo. We asked him to travel to Nagasaki. “To meet the owner of kite shop Ogawa Hata-ten, I decided to hike and ended up getting lost in a very old cemetery full of ancient Buddha statues,” he tells us. “It felt like stepping into another world. It is my favourite place that I have been to this year.”

What do you do to relax and get away from it all?
I go on hikes, explore hidden villages that are tucked away in the mountains of Japan and, once there, have long, relaxing soaks in an onsen.

Sara Meinz

Meinz is a Spanish photographer who is now based in Amsterdam. She seeks stillness and hidden meanings in the ordinary, often exploring how we interact with each other and with the environment. For this issue of The Escapist, she captured the quiet beauty of Marbella. “Since I live abroad, the highlight of my trip was being back in my homeland and eating as much tapas and Spanish food as I could,” she says. “Everything was so tasty...”

Where is your favourite place to unwind?
My favourite place to unwind is the Cíes Islands in Spain. It’s a place that is so close to where I grew up yet feels very exotic. It’s my summer ritual to spend a day there, swim in the freezing ocean and finish with a hike to watch the sun set over the Atlantic before taking the boat back home.

Noor Amylia Hilda

We dispatched Malaysian journalist Hilda to try the tasting menu at restaurant Potager in Kuala Lumpur’s latest dining enclave, Bamboo Hills. “The restaurant has a tradition of quizzing diners to see whether they can guess the local ingredients in the palate cleanser sorbet dish,” she says of her assignment. “This resulted in a fun and very competitive guessing game between our group at the table.” 

Where do you go for a little R&R?
I love the RuMa Hotel in Kuala Lumpur. It has a relaxed atmosphere that’s such a stark contrast to its urban surroundings. The cantilevered infinity pool that juts from the sixth floor is not to be missed.

Antonio Sortino

The Milan-based, Sicilian-born illustrator’s work is characterised by vibrant colours and a welcome dash of humour. No wonder he’s been published by the likes of the New Yorker, The Guardian and, of course, Monocle. For The Escapist, Sortino created a series of drawings of private jets and commercial flights. “This commission was perfectly on point as I’m preparing to fly to Mexico in a couple of weeks – but not on a private jet – this time,” he tells us. 

Where is your favourite place to unwind?
During the summer, I love to spend time on this very small island in the Mediterranean called Linosa. It is basically a rock and it is this huge sense of isolation that helps me to relax and enjoy the time without any worries. In winter, snowy mountains have the same effect.

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