Andrea Oschetti is a man of many passions who can speak just as vibrantly about reincarnation as he can reminisce about his grandmother’s warm kitchen back home in Milan.
Last month, Oschetti founded Blueflower in Hong Kong, a luxury travel start-up offering clients a rotation of six “beyond bespoke” itineraries in Bhutan, Cambodia, the Dolomites, Namibia, Venice and Yunnan.
In a previous incarnation, Oschetti was a senior manager at PricewaterhouseCoopers, where he had no complaints — just itchy feet and a kind of alertness to the passing of time that seems rare, plus a genuine “carpe diem” desire that launched him out of the corporate sphere and into a world where the title on his name card now says “dream maker.”
“I help people dream about their travels,” he clarifies, over a home-cooked lunch (another incarnation: private chef) at his studio apartment which doubles as a travel salon replete with artifacts from his wanderings, and a handful of exotic plants.
Oschetti believes the market for sophisticated travelers is ripe — in Hong Kong he is competing with established global luxury tour operators such as Jacada Travel and Lighfoot Travel who have offices in the city.
What distinguishes these companies is their network of sources, the contacts they use to achieve access to places and setting their itineraries apart from the usual. The mainstream travel industry makes the task easier than it sounds, being itself “often so unimaginative as to be a bit stupid,” says Oschetti.
One of his objectives, for example, is to “reclaim the beautiful touristy things.” He explains that there is good reason why the places that well-traveled people tend to avoid nowadays — Angkor Wat, the Venice Carnival — were so attractive to begin with.
It is possible, he says, to “get lost intelligently” and discover an untouched Venice, even in August. And he can get you tickets to the Doge’s Ball, described by Vanity Fair as “one of the most exclusive parties in the world.’
As for Cambodia’s famous temple complex, visitors can imagine being like the intrepid European explorers of old, experiencing the wonders of Angkor through the jungle rather than on the well-worn tourist paths. Oschetti even had a young associate stand with a tally counter to monitor the ebb and flow of tourists to determine the ideal time to visit each monument.
I know that I can travel forever, and that is a never-ending source of joy
Oschetti’s approach to his enterprise is so infectious that an afternoon among the artifacts that decorate his apartment is easily passed.
“It’s amazing what I have been allowed to bring on planes,” he says, showing off a tribal shield “from Papua” that is about the height of a man. He also takes care to point out that he has not employed a single “travel professional,” but rather populates his company with “journalists, filmmakers, musicians, poets and dreamers.”
Naturally, then, Blueflower’s brochure takes the form of a travel-themed parlor game. It is a set of conversation cards bound into a booklet, with an inspiring photograph on one side and a question printed on the other.
We ask him one. Oschetti’s response could be his manifesto.
“The bucket list is infinite,” he says. “There will not be enough time in my life to visit all the beautiful places in the world, the places that are life-making and energy-creating. I know that I can travel forever, and that is a never-ending source of joy.”