JERALYN GERBA Co-Founder and Editorial Director, Fathom Travel
The kids are down, your work is done - how do you spend your “me” time, when you get it?
At this moment, when we're still keeping to ourselves (though starting to take some calculated risks), there is not a whole lot of downtime. My husband and I have generally restructured our days so that we spend tons of family time together in daylight hours (no babysitters yet!), taking turns giving each other a few hours here and there during the day, but knowing we'll have to get the bulk of work done at nap and bedtime. We're both night owls and find a sense of escape in being up late. We do have a lovely hi-fi system in the living room, and my rabid record-collector of a husband may play me a few selections from his recent record-digging conquests while I lie on the couch surrounded by magazines. That's what quarantine adulting looks like for me.
What is the thing you bought in the last three months that you have most enjoyed?
I have purchased almost nothing outside of epic amounts of groceries and art supplies for my 4-year-old and 1-year-old. But in terms of fun finds, a dear friend introduced me to an LA-brand calledMotherMother, which makes clean, sustainable products for mamas and mamas in the making. I found out I was pregnant again at the beginning of the pandemic and themagnesium oil spray really helped with morning sickness. I don't leave home without the Mother Motherbergamot-lavender hand sanitizer — everyone I spritz loves the scent and feel. I just ordered three more bottles.
What is the quality you most like in yourself as a mother?
I think I'm a good mix of serious and silly, but I act like an absolute clown for them, and they are my best audience.
What’s the quality you most like in one or all of your children that they did not inherit from you?
My son is still a little mush, so I am not sure about him yet. But my daughter, Gemma, is generally extremely communicative about her feelings (she has a lot of them!) and my husband is like this too. She's a very passionate person!
What’s the other career you’d most like to try out, given a second professional life?
In a parallel universe, I would spend most of my life in the great outdoors as an anthropologist. I have definitely fantasized about working with Jane Goodall, living among animals and wild plants, trying to make big connections between where we've been and where we are going and what the human experience is all about.
Is there anything that quarantine forced you to change that you would like to - or will - maintain post quarantine?
I have developed a much deeper appreciation and recognition of my own privilege and luck, including a solid and supportive family and community of friends, who I cannot wait to hug.
What are the nicest things your partner does for you, and you for them?
Our relationship is not perfect, but we really respect each other as individuals, partners, and family, and try to listen and give each other what we need.
How important is routine to you? What parts of your routine are sacrosanct?
I like a routine, but I have to say, I really like breaking my own rules. Quarantine has been interesting because we've tried out lots of schedules and thrown the more rigid ones out and, somehow, it's a lot less stressful even though it means a lot less alone time. I'm pretty flexible about everything, but no matter the crazy hour, I will most certainly take a hot shower before bed. It's where I do some good thinking and ritualistically wash away the day and create some goals for the next.
What are your professional goals and how do you go about achieving them?
I've been thinking a lot about the kinds of changes I want to see in my own life. I have had the chance to pursue work that suited my tastes and passions, and I've carved out a comfortable lifestyle from that. But this moment in time has challenged me to think about big changes that could make a difference not only for myself and my family but the wider community — and even though it can be uncomfortable, I feel like that's the kind of thinking I need to be doing and acting on. I like to research and read, visualize, connect with colleagues I admire, and feel around for solid footing before taking leaps of faith. I am generally optimistic that I'll figure out how to make things work, so I don't mind taking risks.
What are the things that make your home personal to you and your family?
I have minimalist and maximalist impulses that are always competing. I love Scandinavian minimalism and Japanese wabi-sabi, but I also go crazy at the Moroccan souk. I love to travel and often incorporate something I've seen out there in the world in my home; my apartment is a mash-up of colorful textiles, furniture, artwork, ceramics, music, clothes — even kitchen condiments.
How important is community to you, and how do you go about building and nurturing it for your family?
We are always talking about community — on the local and global level. I'm very close to my family, I have friends that I've known for decades, and I love my neighborhood and city and globe which I support by shopping small and volunteering/giving funds, and promoting in my work, mainly through thetravel website, podcast, and books I create with my partner, Pavia Rosati. My husband owns avenue for drinking and eating and dancing that has a big regular crowd and a community-driven ethos. People treat it like church! It's amazing to see the grassroots energy that comes out of that place. Our children are a big part of our work lives — we take them on planes and trains and behind turntables and under disco balls and want them to meet all kinds of people in all kinds of places.
What maternity style or clothing item could you not find this time around that you most wish FH would create?
I would like to start by thanking you for constructing such a beautiful and thoughtful line. It is very difficult to find maternity clothes that don't seem or act like disposable goods and can last multiple pregnancies! Seeing as I already have two little kids, a piece I could fall hard for is a work suit or jumpsuit version of the ribbed knit maxi dress. Something made with a feel-good material that would be great for an active day (or lifestyle!).