Continent-cruising with Chand & Zul

Our friends at Nicobar dabble in all sorts of things and these particular friends, Chand Nirankari and Zul Atmosudirdjo are our travel, fitness and general vibe goals personified, living a life of continual motion. Between them, they have the States (well, almost all of it, you’d be surprised), Germany, Mexico, India and a large chunk of the Caribbean, ticked off of their bucket lists, but they stopped for a second to answer Nico’s Q&A.
Tell us a bit about yourselves?
Chand: I work in web development, design, and digital media with a background in film, photography and social justice/activism. I was born and raised in Baltimore (near DC), and have been living in NYC for the past 15 years. School brought me to NYC, but I've always wanted to live here since as long as I can remember so once I made it here, I knew I was not going to leave for a long time, if ever.
Zul: I was born in Amsterdam but raised in Konstanz, Germany until I was 10 years old; lived in Jakarta until I was 16; did a year exchange program in Nashville, Tennessee; finished high school in Yogyakarta in Central Java, Indonesia; went to college in Burlington, Vermont; then finally moved to NYC. I came here to "live the dream in the big city." I studied Sociology, German and Film in school, and I've been working at New York University's Film School for over 10 years.

What does your day usually look like?
Chand: Most days I wake up around 6am to workout in the morning, to start the day on a high note. It helps me stay focused and energised throughout the day. I have several freelance projects I'm working on, but I am also looking for full-time employment right now, so I spend the day at a co-working space or a coffee shop to stay focused on working and job hunting. In the evenings I'll either go to networking meet-ups, hang out with friends or if I didn't go in the morning, I'll workout in the evening.
Zul: I work as the Manager for the Teaching Soundstage for New York University's Film Program. This is a classroom that includes a lecture area and a working set where all camera and lighting classes are taught. I have to get to work before classes start for the day, at 9am. My assistant works until late in the evenings, so the first thing I do is check his report from the previous evening to see if there's anything I need to attend to right away. Most of my days at work are spent coordinating camera gear and lighting equipment for classes, managing Teaching Assistant's, balancing our budget, making sure payroll for my team is taken care of - but overall making sure all classes are run smoothly so teachers and students have what they need to run their classes as efficiently as possible. If all goes well, I finish work around 5 and I usually head to the gym right after. Then it's a simple, healthy dinner of roast chicken, rice and greens at home while catching up on the latest MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) news and fights.
You'd leave NYC for?
Chand: A place that is 30 degrees C / 85 degrees F year round.
Zul: Bali or Hawaii - after all, I'm a pacific islander!

Words for the avid traveller?
Chand: Eat where the locals eat.
Zul: Trust your instincts.

A fitness regimen you could swear by?
Chand: Working out is really important to me - it helps me sleep, stay balanced and gives me energy. I am most productive and focused when I am regularly working out, but I am terrible at working out on my own, so I go to classes. I'm really into boxing-I've been learning it for 6 years and I love how there is still so much to learn even after all these years. I also love dance and step aerobics classes. Anything that is high energy and actively engages my mind is essential - for me it's an active meditation, the only time my mind gets clear and I can focus. I also try to mix in some hot vinyasa yoga in there once a week to balance out all the high intensity cardio I do the rest of the week.
Zul: I have been on a life long quest to find a martial art where I can express myself honestly. I feel that I've finally found that in boxing, and have been a student of the game for about 6 years. Right now I'm training hard for an amateur bout taking place this November. Most of my training and conditioning is geared towards the sweet science of boxing.

A music festival you could peg a tent at for a good number of your days?
Chand: I am not the tent pegging type, but a really fun music festival I went to for many years was Rock the Bells. Performers I've seen there over the years include Lauryn Hill, Snoop Dogg, Tribe Called Quest, Busta Rhymes, Salt n' Pepa, Nas, Wu Tang Clan, KRS-One, Immortal Technique, Common, Ice Cube. I love old school hip hop and r&b.
Zul: A music festival I really wanted to go to and missed was the Orion Music+More Festival, which was created by Metallica. They are my favourite band, and though I missed this festival the two years it was held, I've been lucky to see Metallica in concert several times.

A podcast/song you're listening to right now?
Chand: I'm a huge podcast listener. I subscribe to so many, but I'll try and narrow it down… I love serial (though I'm behind right now!) I also love Politically Reactive with W. Kamau Bell & Hari Kondabolu, 2 Dope Queens, The Read, Code Newbie, This American Life, The New Yorker Radio Hour, Wait Wait… Don't Tell Me, and so many others. As for music - I am always all over the place, I like so many genres. As for music - right now I am stuck on a playlist of my favourite reggaeton, dancehall and soca music.
Zul: I listen to mostly MMA Podcasts - the ones I like are The Joe Rogen Experience, Rutten and Ranallo, and The Fighter and the Kid. We recently saw Radiohead and The Cure in concert (separately) so I've been listening to a lot of both of those bands again.

Favourite blend of coffee/tea?
Chand: I gave up drinking caffeine regularly a few years ago, but I like fresh mint and fresh ginger tea. Once in awhile I'll have green tea if it's a really good roasted brown rice green tea (Genmai-Cha) or Matcha.
Zul: I take my coffee black - no milk, no sugar, full taste! I'm not particular about the brand.

A thing on your bucket list you'd like to strike off at the earliest?
Chand: Eat at Sukiyabashi Jiro in Tokyo (the restaurant of famed sushi chef Jiro, featured in the documentary film, Jiro Dreams of Sushi)
Zul: Fight in a boxing bout
What're you reading right now?
Chand: A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James is a fantastic book I'm currently in the middle of reading. I'm a political junkie so I'm always reading news sites like The New Yorker, The Nation, The Guardian, The New York Times, and blogs like Black Girl Dangerous, Colorlines, and This is White Privilege.
Zul: I am re-reading for nth time, Musashi by Eiji Yoshikawa. It's my favourite book of all time and I've been re-reading it every few years since I was 11 years old.

An Indian city you'd like to get to know more about?
Chand: Bombay. My grandmother lives there and my mum grew up there, so it's my home base whenever I visit (which is every other year or so) - but there is still so much I want to explore there.
Zul: Bangalore. I've only been there once, and I was sick with the flu while I was there so I didn't really get to see much. I've heard that there are so many great things to do there.

A fictional character you'd much rather be in real life?
Chand: Cookie Lyon from the TV Show Empire.
Zul: Lee, Bruce Lee's character from the film Enter the Dragon

Cherry is to pie, like Nicobar is to…
Chand: …forward thinking style with Indian cultural expression
Zul: ...modern Indian fashion

In another life, you'd be?
Chand: A veterinarian. I love animals!
Zul: A custom motorcycle fabricator

Chand & Zul give us a tour of on Havana, here.