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#mylat56 Winner: Kabir Dhawan

#mylat56 Winning Shot

In the final days of the #mylat56 competition, the team at LAT_56 HQ started sifting through the entries to decide the winner. When Facebook registered a new last-minute entry, the team knew they had found their frontrunner. Kabir Dhawan’s snap of his 2-Wheel Road Warrior Suitcase, taken at the Arche de la Défense in Paris, is expertly composed, aligning his suitcase’s bold edges with the sharp lines of the Grand Arch.

“It was a spur of the moment shot,” Kabir admits over the phone. “I was waiting for my wife near the Arche and realised that it could be a nice shot geometrically.” Having commandeered his wife’s Canon EOS 700D camera, Kabir intuitively lined up his composition and took the shot.

It was the same opportunistic reflex that caused him to pause in the stairwell of the hotel he was staying at nearby. “The entire hotel is filled with mirrors and crystals,” Kabir explains, “It feels very regal.” Having checked in, Kabir didn’t see the lift and instead headed for the stairs. After climbing a few steps and finding himself caught in a geometric maze of unending mirrored reflections, he stopped to line up another shot.

Kabir doesn’t consider himself a photographer, although he says he always tries to take a few good pictures whenever he travels. Considering he’s on the road Monday – Thursday every single week as a finance consultant, he must have a pretty nice collection built up over the past four and a half years!

Working as a consultant is the perfect profession for Kabir who says he gets “itchy feet” if he’s stuck in any one place for too long. As a British national of Indian descent who grew up in the Middle East, went to university in Toronto, resided in Germany and Poland, and who currently lives in London with his wife who is from Mauritius, Kabir is just about as cosmopolitan as you can get.

What he enjoys most about his work is the variety, working in different cultures and being faced with different challenges. “I tried all the usual accountancy roles, but once you’ve mastered the timetable it’s really the same thing. What I love about consultancy is effectively, each new client is a new job.”Carry-on Paris Winning Shot

Specifically, Kabir assists CFO’s who are facing difficulties, whether it’s teams not performing at an optimum rate or assessing a company’s revenues and margins. Bringing a coaching approach to his work, Kabir says his profession requires a mix of calling on experience and on-the-fly problem-solving, as each challenge is unique and different.

In this career, Kabir travels all over the UK and often to the continent for different assignments. This is why he first decided to invest in LAT_56 when he started consulting and travelling away for 1-2 nights. He bought the RE_01 Red Eye Garment Bag and soon after the MS_01 Messenger Bag.

Right away, Kabir says, he was drawn to the material of the garment bag, not just the exterior but the interior as well. In particular, Kabir praises the netting material. “It’s super stretchy and strong and doesn’t deform at all, no matter how much you pack in it.”

The exterior of the bag, which is made with military-grade EVA foam, is not only distinctive but helps with Kabir’s line of work. “I rock up at a client site, and it’s a nice way to break into the team.” Kabir explains to me that as a consultant “you need to be able to get along with your team, especially on projects that are 6-12 months long and you start at 7:30 having breakfast together, work through the day, and then have dinner together.” The importance of having a good ice breaker to start off that relationship, Kabir says, is key.

Since purchasing his 2-Wheel Road Warrior Carry-On Bag, Kabir has used it for travel every single week. He praises its water-resistance, especially as he lives in a country where “as soon as you step outside you’re drenched.”

For international travel, Kabir especially likes the discreet toiletry zip that runs along the handle and allows for quick and easy access when passing through airport security. “It’s a total time saver,” Kabir comments and adds with a laugh, “I’ll be all finished going through security when my wife or my colleagues are still unpacking their things.”

He also admires the telescopic handle of the suitcase, commenting that handles are often one of the first elements that go on a suitcase but that this one is very robust.

As a frequent traveller, Kabir’s light travel habits stay with him even when he’s on holiday. With a two week “dream holiday” coming up, Kabir will be taking nothing more than his Road Warrior suitcase to the Maldives, where he has always wanted to visit. “We’ll just be on the beach, so I don’t need much. My wife, though,” he chuckles, “she’ll probably be bringing a big bag.”

Having grown up in the Middle East and accustomed as he is to “palm trees, sand, water, and sun,” Kabir’s dream is to buy a small island one day. “Even if it’s just 15 metres long,” he laughs, “it’s something I’ve always wanted to do.”

While Kabir is certainly a master of light business travel today, he admits that there is a learning curve. When he decided to get serious about travel and packing, he discovered Flyertalk, an online forum where “all us travel-crazy people like to hang out.” It was there he got some great tips on best packing practices, such as how to pack as many socks in your shoe as possible. “As bizarre as it sounds, it actually helped me to practice how to pack. If you can only pack one pair of socks per shoe, you’re doing something wrong.” He also recommends finding out what toiletries hotels provide so that you don’t pack your razor if they provide you with one.

Currently, Kabir is very happy living in London as he says it’s one of the best places to develop your career. Kabir will continue to travel all over the globe with suitcase and camera in hand, keeping alert for those opportunistic moments to capture the perfect picture.


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