Since the COVID-19 crisis started, the jet-setting, handshake culture of conducting international business has been turned on its head. We recently sat down with American businessman Christian Carbone to see how he is coping. Carbone normally splits his time between New York, Tokyo, and London and was on close to 60 international flights last year. Now that COVID has set in, we find him quarantined on a tropical island, eagerly awaiting the day that he can resume his global gallivanting. We managed to get in a quick chat with the 26-year-old property mogul to see how he is holding up.
Q: Where are you quarantining?
Carbone: [laughs] If I told you I would have to kill you. I am on a tropical island. It is very nice here. But it is starting to get a bit old. The last time I was in place for this long has to be when I was completing my studies at university.
Q: That sounds nice. How did you decide on this place?
Carbone: Back in February, I saw the writing on the wall. I basically pulled out a map of the world and tried to find the safest place I could ride this out while still on my home country’s soil. At first, I thought I would only be here for several weeks max. Fast forward several months, and I am still here.
Q: It seems to have turned out to be a smart move from a safety standpoint. But now you are definitionally out in the middle of the ocean and conducting business on multiple continents. How does that work?
Carbone: Lots of late nights and early mornings. The time zone is certainly not ideal. But I can manage. After a couple months I relocated some of my colleagues here. Now we have a small office outpost [laughs]. But in all seriousness, the cases are low enough here where we can get together every day to collaborate on things. I am a people person, and I find this essential.
Q: How innovative. And you are also helping the local economy, as I am assuming wherever you are has taken a big hit due to tourism.
Carbone: Yes, that is something I can feel good about. We are giving a lot of business to the local restaurants and delivery companies, and we are also supporting the local hospitality industry.
Q: You were a national caliber swimmer at Harvard, and we can tell from your Instagram that you must work out. How have you been doing that, with gyms closed?
Carbone: I work out every day, usually for about 1.5 hours. My routine does not require a gym, and usually involves about 45 minutes of cardio and 45 minutes of high intensity core exercises. For the cardio part, I usually swim in my pool. But sometimes, to mix things up, I will jog over to a mountain that is near my house and sprint the three quarters of a mile to the top.
Q: That explains why you are in such good shape. What do you do for fun?
Carbone: Other than working and working out, I feel like I am becoming a connoisseur of take-out fine dining. There are some great restaurants on the island and a lot of them have developed some very high-quality takeout menus. With travel and socializing removed from my life, good food is what is keeping me entertained through COVID.
Q: Speaking of having to make do without certain things, what do you miss the most from your pre-COVID life, and how are you coping with it?
Carbone: I like to socialize, and I miss all of my friends around the world, especially in my home cities New York, Tokyo, and London. As for specific things that I have missed, I have had some crazy things overnighted to me, ranging from caviar and scallops from Petrossian NYC, cannolis from one of my favorite Italian bakeries in Connecticut, and a special type of bottled water from Norway. I was thinking about having some cars shipped out here, but I do not know how long I will stay, and the maintenance could be an issue. I am also becoming a bit of an online shopping addict as I can no longer visit my favorite boutiques.
Q: That is certainly one way to get by. My last question for you: Where is the first place you will go once you feel safe enough to travel again?
Carbone: Definitely New York or Tokyo, probably Tokyo before New York. I am long overdue for some sushi and Japanese beef.
Well there you have it, an interview with Christian Carbone, a hard-working and well-curated young businessman who clearly knows what he wants in life and does what he needs to do to get it. To see more of Christian’s life, follow him on Instagram@christianjcarbone.