Entrepreneurs are natural-born travelers and Seat 3A takes you along for the globetrotting ride, delivering travel tips, insights and candid photos from self-made men and women.
Name: Daniel Galhardo
Home Town: Curitiba, Brazil
Home Base: Boulder, Colorado
Occupation: Founder and CEO of Tenkara USA
Daniel Galhardo is the founder and CEO of Tenkara USA and the first person to introduce the Japanese method of fly-fishing, tenkara, outside of Japan. After discovering this very simple method of fly-fishing on a visit to Japan, Galhardo set out to create a business spreading the method and telling the story of tenkara. He's also cultivated friendships with the most renowned tenkara masters of Japan and visits the country often.
Q: Most visited destination for business
A: Japan, particularly mountain areas.
Q: Local knowledge tip
A: While you'd expect to be able to use credit cards everywhere in Japan, you can't really use them in the smaller villages, and most ATMs don't work either. If you need cash, use the ATMs located at the Japanese Post Offices.
Q: DIY vs. travel agent
A: DIY, sometimes with the help of my assistant and contacts in the country. I like having freedom and my visits are not usually just in-and-out trips; rather I tend to stay longer and need lots of flexibility to find the stories and connect with people.
Q: Most impressive airport
A: I like the Narita International Airport and I always look forward to this great Ochazuki restaurant they have at the terminal.
Q: Preferred luggage
A: Ogio Ascender 26" Expandable Upright Duffel. After much research and trying all kinds of bags, I have found this to be my favourite. It is well designed, durable, and has space for all I need. I can separate my main items: waders, fishing boots and fishing rods in one side, clothes and some camera equipment in another.
Q: Preferred airline
A: United. I like their lounges, and have been accumulating miles with them for some time.
Q: Aisle or window
A: Aisle. I hate bothering people if I need to get up.
Q: What three things are on your must-pack-or-will-suffer-a-meltdown list?
A: A good camera or two . . . or three (usually my iPhone, a GoPro, and a Canon 7D). Earphones, and an eye mask to help me sleep when I really need to.
Q: Jet lag strategy
A: Meditation! Seriously, there have been a few flights when I was able to really focus on my breathing and meditation for most of the flight. Upon arrival in Japan, as far on the time zones as it gets, I felt super fresh and unaffected by the time difference. I typically cannot sleep well in planes, so breathing and meditating have helped. Of course, it also helps that I usually get to Japan toward the evening, and can go to sleep at the correct time. However, I have not yet found a strategy, not even meditation, that has helped me on the return flight. Regardless of what I do, I suffer miserably when I return home.
Q: Staying in shape on the road
A: On most of my trips I'm super active with fishing in remote mountain streams, which requires lots of walking around difficult terrain, and often climbing too. If I'm going places for tradeshows, I like being able to roll off the bed and go to the hotel gym first thing in the morning (though I have also been known to sleep in as much as I can more often than not).
Q: Preferred in-flight activity
A: I so wish I could sleep well on flights. Unfortunately, my mind keeps going at 500 miles an hour when the plane is moving and I have a hard time sleeping. I try to meditate when I can, but often resort to reading, and occasionally watching a movie to slow down.
Q: Time & money saving tips
A: TSA pre-check! By far the best thing I have done when it comes to traveling. Only about $100 for 5 years, and I zip through airport security in 30 seconds instead of 30 minutes! Also, find a good airline and stick with it, or get their credit card to achieve preferred status. This can often save lots of time when checking in, and if they have a good airport lounge it will save you money on snacks, coffee and beers!
Q: What hotel has truly lived up to the hype?
A: Largely by necessity and the type of business traveling I do, I stay in very low-profile but quaint hotels that are largely unknown throughout Japan. My travels usually make me stay at the Japanese ryokan, a type of Japanese inn with tatami mats. My favourite has to be the ryokan Sengakukan in the town of Osaka in Gifu prefecture (not to be confused with the more famous and larger city of Ōsaka). The area around it is famous for its waterfalls – there are well over 300 in the region. The fishing was also not bad. The rooms were beautifully done – I had a view of the gorgeous river below – there is a natural hot-spring pool that can be used privately, and a natural cold spring that delivers water to a fountain inside the ryokan. The whole time I stayed there felt magical.
Q: On the flip side, a hotel that has been a crashing disappointment?
A: Any hotel that still charges for Wi-Fi nowadays is a crashing disappointment!
Q: What do you enjoy finding most in a mini-bar?
A: Not so much of a mini-bar person, but by far my favorite thing in Japan is when the hotel (ryokans in particular) has very good quality loose-leaf green tea in the room. Many ryokans in Japan have a deep tray with a can of green tea, a teapot and some cups plus a water boiler. I'm always thrilled when the tea is of high quality and I make myself a nice cup in the morning. I cherish that very much.
Q: Describe your guilty pleasure when traveling
A: Ignoring work emails, because now I have a good excuse and an auto-responder.
Q: What foreign phrase do you most enjoy tossing about?
A: Besides the universal "Thank you" in whatever country I'm visiting (I know how to say thank you in over 15 languages), it has to be Daijobu. Daijobu is the Japanese term for "OK," but perhaps under-appreciated by the visiting foreigner. It can be thrown around in a variety of ways: Show them a credit card while asking "Daijobu?" and it means, is it okay to use a credit card. Or, say Daijobu if someone is showing you something that looks like it could be fermented fish guts and asking if you have the courage to try it, you will thus be accepting the challenge.
Q: Tell us about a great little place you recommend to friends
A: Besides the Sengakukan ryokan, I also like to tell friends to visit the Maruhachi ryokan, in the village of Maze in Gifu prefecture. Their food is simply and truly amazing.
Q: Confess to one thing you’ve nicked from your hotel room
A: I admit it: I once took a bit of green tea from one of the ryokans I stayed in, just in case the next one had bad tea. I'm glad I did it.
Q: Favourite island
A: Ilha do Mel (or "Honey Island), in southern Brazil. I'm originally from Southern Brazil, and that island brings back some terrific memories. It's absolutely gorgeous there too.
Q: UNESCO World Heritage Site that blows your mind
A: The Shrines and Temples of Nikko (and the Nikko waterfall), Japan. The whole area blows my mind; it's a magical place.
Q: The coolest hotel you’ve ever stayed in
A: I’ll stray off the trail a little bit here. On my last visit to Japan I spent 3 days camping with a renowned tenkara fisherman, Mr. Yuzo Sebata. We fished, foraged for mushrooms and wild edibles and slept outside by a stream. My favourite stays usually involve a sleeping bag and fresh air, and this was one of my top experiences.
Q: A travel themed film that has really moved you
A: Seven Years in Tibet, it's a classic story.
Q: A beloved travel book, fiction or non-fiction
A: The River of Doubt, which documents Theodore Roosevelt's exploration of a never-before navigated river in Brazil's Amazon region. It is inspiring to think of someone who held the position of President of the United States embarking on a journey that was so perilous and full of adventure.