Interview with Ryan Bifulco of jouneyPod

Ryan BifulcoRyan Bifulco is Executive Producer of journeyPod, a luxury lifestyle brand that fuses music, fashion, and travel with a pinch of style. He has previously worked for the likes of Lufthansa, Marriott and the Tourist Office of Spain through his consulting firm, Travel Spike.

What is it that  you do exactly?

Since we say at journeyPod that we fuse together luxury travel, entertainment, music, and fashion with a pinch of style, I guess I spend my day fusing.   I might spend part of the day writing or editing our destination guides where we list out our journeyPod picks of the hottest bars and restaurants.   Or an hour recording or editing our weekly luxury lifestyle podcast.   Or an hour planning our schedule with the team as we prepare to attend special events or festivals like the Sundance Film Festival.

What do you enjoy most about what you do?

Most enjoyable would be that we don’t have a typical day around here.   There is always a new destination or restaurant or nightclub to explore.   I love traveling and experiencing new cultures whether it is in Spain or San Diego.   Any place, even domestic locations, can have a unique culture or vibe.

What would you say are the 3 best places you’ve ever stayed?

Hmm, that will be tough with only three…

1. Raffles Le Montreux Palace in Switzerland because it was a beautiful place that maintained its old world charm.
2. We stayed in an amazing monastery in Tuscany (Cortona) that had perfect views of the hillside.   This was back when it was unspoiled (before the Diane Lane movie “Under the Tuscan Sun” caught fire).
3. We were lucky enough to stay in the Presidential Suite at the Dream Hotel in NY where President Clinton previously stayed.   It was super cool and more of a 1 bedroom apartment than a basic hotel room.   We had a full bar with bar stools, dining room table, two couches, big screen TV, electronic blinds, and a rustic 4 poster canopy bed right out of the 1920s.   The hotel also has a top-notch spa on the first floor.

What’s been your most memorable dining experience to date?

Well, since I listed 3 hotels above, I have to list 3 restaurants:

We were trapped in a riot in the Basque region of Spain in San Sebastian.   We were not allowed to leave the main plaza, so we decided to grab some tapas and wait it out till things calmed down.   Those were the best tapas I have ever had.   Fresh from the sea and quintessential Spain.
 
Also lunch at Maroma in Playa del Carmen, Mexico was fabulous.   Maroma overlooks the #1 beach in the world (Travel Channel report) and has tremendous service and great flavors.
 
Dinner at Charleston Grill in South Carolina.   The hotel restaurant at the charming Charleston Place Hotel is not your typical dining experience.   We were pampered with champagne, scallops, and lobster.

Have you rubbed shoulders with the rich and famous, either through your work or your travels?

Good things come in sets of three…

Remember back in the Internet boom days when Web companies threw lavish parties just because they wanted to burn through investor money?   Well the company I was at threw a celebrity tennis tournament in Central Park NY and I got to meet Bjorn Borg, Jimmy Connors, and British star John Lloyd.   I even got to play in the tournament against Henri Leconte and others.
 
My favorite band is LIVE from tiny York, Pennsylvania and my brother and I got to meet them and drink some beers backstage with them.
 
Bob Russell from the Boston Celtics once sat in the seat behind me on a Midwest Airlines flight.

What currently ranks highest on your travel wishlist?

Sydney, New Zealand and Cape Town.

Thanks, Ryan.

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