Get Up and Go
Traveling is liberating, and I do my fair share of it. I enjoy the independence and the sensation of being in transit. I’ve met some interesting people (the most memorable: a quirky chemistry professor) and some unexpected friends (a pair of toddlers in Nagoya used me as base for a game of tag). Travel requires flexibility and an open mind. When I visit N while he’s on the road, I ferret out places to see. The usual requirements: brevity and close proximity. I enjoy planning itineraries, but for the most part I’ve learned to stumble on places based on conversations with locals and a pick-up-and-go attitude.
Last year I rode in maybe 20 planes; 20 stiff polyester seats and 20 views from scratched plastic windows. I also traveled in cars, boats, and N’s relentless 15-passenger van, Shawn. From tropical forests in the Pacific to music venues in the Northeast, I have packing down to a simplistic task.
When I’m packing and prepping, I try to remember that I have to carry all this junk. I think light and minimal—it makes everything easier. I tend to wear neutrals so it’s easy to throw in a couple gray shirts, sweaters, and jeans—everything matches, exciting, I know. If I plan to hike, I grab a pair of barefoot running shoes because they take up little space.
Things I’ve found useful for all types of travel: a camping spork because you never know when an avocado will materialize, a collapsible/reusable water bottle, cliff bars, a pashmina (doubles as a blanket/glorified napkin), and something to read.
I’ve been asked a couple times why I like to travel alone or why I don’t wait for N. I think to Kira Salak, my hero through high school and college. She traveled through some of the most dangerous places in the world and exuded this tough curiosity that I found/find profoundly inspiring. Although I’m not trekking Papua New Guinea solo, I find traveling alone as a woman not only propelling, but also necessary for my growth. I enjoy it and like to stress that perceived fear shouldn’t hinder people from new experiences.