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Women to Watch  June 20, 2017

These Globe-Trotting BFFs Will Pull You Out of a Travel Rut


by Larkin Clark

Given the current political climate, it is more important than ever that we – men and women alike – continue to move forward and not be held back by fear or antiquated ideas about women, movement, and freedom.

 

Over many journeys, I’ve found that around three days is the ideal amount of time to get a proper introduction to a new place. Setting an intentionally short amount of time to explore sharpens your focus and shows you just enough to leave wanting more – kind of like a great first date (or a bad one, in which case you can get the hell out of there and wipe it from your memory).

My friends Ana Tiwathia and Kirstin (Kiki) Winkler share the same mindset – in fact, they’ve built an entire website, 3 Days*, devoted to three-day travel experiences.

While I consider myself to be fairly well-traveled, these women are next-level masters who have lived all over the place. Ana, a content creator and strategist, splits her time between Brooklyn and Israel; Kiki grew up in Europe and, as a film producer, jet-sets frequently around the globe. I’ve traveled with Ana before and she is one of the wisest and most adventurous companions I’ve ever encountered. Were I to travel with both of these ladies at the same time, I’d just let them call all the shots and put myself in complete auto-pilot mode.

Luckily, 3 Days* gives me a taste of that experience virtually. Though focused on three-day stints, the duo’s guides go deep, giving you a play-by-play of what to see, eat, do, read, and wear during hyper-focused stays in hotspots around the world. So if you’re charged with planning a trip, consider these guides your ultimate cheat sheets.

I’ve been stalking 3 Days* on Instagram since its launch (and have been pinging Ana and Kiki for their travel advice for years), so I thought I’d become an official fangirl with a Q&A.

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LARKIN: Before we start talking 3 Days*, can you recap how you became travel BFFs? I love a great backstory and I know you two have one.

Ana: Kiki and I met while we were working in L.A. for a big Hollywood action star. Some of our everyday tasks could be described as … unusual. We found solace and humor in each other, which really helped to put daily stresses in perspective. I remember the first time we met: I was bringing our boss’s morning frap up to his house and Kiki opened the gate for me, all 5’2’’ of her, hanging onto a 200 lb. Italian Mastiff in one hand who looked like he was contemplating how my jugular would taste. She gave him a good yank and he sat down obediently, I was impressed! Who is this girl?

We became fast friends basically immediately, and found we were both travel junkies. First, we started traveling around California together – Palm Springs, Joshua Tree, Ojai, Sonoma – then, once we started making more money, we expanded our adventures to London, Barcelona, Israel, Jordan, Nicaragua, Mexico, Thailand … and more on the books!

Kirstin: I’m 5’3”!

LARKIN: I have so many questions about your Hollywood years, but I’ll save those for the next time we drink too much rosé on your back patio. Let’s move on to your new baby, 3 Days*. What inspired you to start the site?

Kirstin: Both Ana and I have been a consistent source for travel tips for friends and family. I used to spend hours putting together lists, compiling my favorite travel finds, and sharing them with fellow travelers. The idea to turn it into a website only came up about two years ago when the urge for a creative outlet couldn’t be ignored any longer. I wanted to create something that would inspire stuck explorers to start wandering again. And who better to do this with than Ana, whom I adore? She has lived in places many people can’t find on a map and shares my insatiable urge to explore. We realized that work, family, and life in general prevent many from taking a long vacation, but a long weekend trip (a.k.a. 3 Days*) can be a recharging getaway that fits most schedules and budget restraints.

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LARKIN: Something I think a lot about when I’m traveling is why people travel in the first place and, more broadly, what it means to travel as a woman. Do those thoughts also cross your mind as you jaunt around the world?

Ana: Given the current political climate, it is more important than ever that we – men and women alike – continue to move forward and not be held back by fear or antiquated ideas about women, movement, and freedom. Exploring the world is a natural desire for curious minds and can be a form of self-discovery or even self-expression. I love traveling with Kiki because she has exactly the right mix of curiosity and common sense – this is a hard balance to strike. She manages to be open-hearted while being neither naïve or cynical.

Kirstin: Thanks, Ana. That sentiment is mutual. Plus … I love that you are always up for sharing your meals with me and I get to borrow your fabulous new clothes. I think we are both seekers (rather than runners), meaning we enjoy diving into a new location with a seeking spirit of inquiry and appreciate the difference and commonalities we find in each new destination. Which is also one of the biggest lessons traveling taught me: As different as we are, in the end we are all the same. We crave community and family, find joy in food, music, art, and culture. As Mark Twain said: “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness.” And it puts life into perspective!

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LARKIN: Out of all the places you’ve traveled together, what was your most memorable experience? It can be good or bad, I won’t judge.

Ana: I think Thailand. We met up in Bangkok and spent a wild few days and nights there, zipping around on death-defying motorcycle taxis–sometimes three people deep! We ate some insane food, everything from simple street food at 3 a.m. to super-opulent Sunday hotel brunch buffets (the Thai do not mess around when it comes to a brunch buffet). The shopping was great, the nightlife was … also death-defying. But the energy of the city is totally infectious. Then, we flew down to Phuket, where we were fortunate enough to have the use of a stunning four-bedroom, perfectly restored classic yacht for a week (I know, I know).

LARKIN: Yeah, I remember you told me about that trip and the FOMO was so real I couldn’t handle it. I was refreshing Instagram hourly to see what you were doing. 

Kirstin: Yes, Bangkok was wild, fun and adventurous – as opposed to the week that followed on the Maid Marian II, which was serene, nourishing and absolutely spoiling. We decided to start cocktail hour at noon, and ate our body weight in pad thai, coconut shrimp, fresh grilled fish, and mango sticky rice. We snorkeled with a million Nemos, explored a submerged shipwreck, and went scuba diving wherever we felt like it. We kayaked through pristine caves and woke up anchored in front of white sandy beaches with not another soul in sight. Long story short … we were spoiled for life. Four people and a crew of eight. It was a glorious week living like the one percent.

LARKIN: That being said, you clearly don’t need to be balling to have a great time in Thailand. I loved your recent 3 Days* guide to Bangkok, which literally made my mouth water as I was reading it! But spending a few days as a guest on a luxury yacht? I suppose there are worse things you could do.

Feeling that BFF love? I am. Check out my tips for planning romantic getaways with your lady friends over on 3 Days*. Then, check out Ana and Kiki’s recs for where to book your next trip with your chick clique.
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Words and interview: Larkin Clark
Photography: Courtesy of Kirstin Winkler and Ana Tiwathia, 3 Days* 

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