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Sporadically Nomadic

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I love to travel.

I have been traveling since I was born. My mother is Spanish and my father is Irish, so in order to meet half of my extended family I had to be put on a plane as early as possible*.

Since then, I’ve been busy trying to visit as many new places as I can.

Unfortunately, I’m not one of those golden-haired, anklet-wearing, hostel-loving free spirits who go traveling barefoot for months on end and post pictures on instagram that make you want to claw your eyes out with jealousy. I’m more of a Dora the Explorer type. Not the new stylised version with the pearl earrings who looks like she owns a Burn Book. No, I’m the OG short dumpy Dora with the bowl haircut that looks like she’d be annoyingly upbeat about everything.

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That’s me! I keep a Canon 60D in that backpack. Una cámara!

I love everything about the actual verb part of traveling. I have no fear of flying – I actually enjoy turbulence – and even when it’s exhausting, arriving in a place where everything is a blank slate gives me the sort of rush people usually get from drinking five double espressos back-to-back. The usual annoyances of long-distance travel (limited legroom, for example) don’t really apply, since I am like human origami; I can stiffly crease myself into an astonishingly small arrangement of limbs when necessary.

My only real travel struggle is my ongoing difficulty with packing. Despite many years of practice, every suitcase successfully checked in continues to be a Pyrrhic victory. I rarely remember everything I need and, since the first items to be flung into my suitcase are usually things like my fins or my inflatable donut, it’s difficult to find space for more practical items.

Packing for the return leg of the journey is no less onerous. After finally stuffing my suitcase to the brim with non-essential essentials, I run into real problems on the way back when I want to bring home every kind of portable food. Trust me when I say that it is a true challenge to fit five boxes of tea, a 50oz bag of peanut butter M&Ms and a bear-shaped honey container into a suitcase that is already bursting at the seams; some sock sacrifices often have to be made.

Priorities!

Anything I think is delicious that I can’t find at home goes in the bag. I collect all sorts of delicious edible items when I travel; rainbow sprinkles, pastries, fried tomato sauce, tea, aniseed tortas, rice… I also collect other things. I collect tiny pebbles that catch my eye. I collect business cards from restaurants. I collect train tickets and hotel keycards and cinema stubs and pack all of these things away in my travel box.

… And I collect experiences. I collect memories.

I watched goat brains boil in their skulls in Marrakech, Morocco, and steered a horse-drawn carriage over the cobblestoned streets of Vienna, Austria. I unwittingly joined a pilgrimage in Jaipur, India, and reluctantly visited an onsen in Yamanakako, Japan. I discovered the limitations of air conditioning in Death Valley, USA, and did a drunken good deed in Paris, France. I got lost in thigh-high snow in Bansko, Bulgaria, and galloped past the pyramids in Cairo, Egypt. I’d like to write all of these memories down somewhere, and what better place than here?

This is basically my Pensieve, after all.

So I just wanted to check in with you, see how you would feel about occasionally odd, mildly mortifying stories from my pitter-pattering across continents. I even made a poll!

Thanks! Now go. Have a great weekend. Yes, you. You deserve it.

Even you with the heart of stone.

See you on Monday!

*I’m sure the rest of the poor unfortunate souls on that flight were delighted to have a two month old companion.

0 thoughts on “Sporadically Nomadic

    1. I think in Ireland people are used to traveling, mostly because Ireland is so small. It’s an island, so going abroad means getting on a plane, and if you’re already taking that step, why not go somewhere far away?

      I also feel very lucky to have seen the places I’ve seen. I hope that if you want to travel, you one day get the chance to go wherever you want to go!

  1. I share your packing dilemma. My case always teeters on the cusp of the baggage allowance. I say teeters, but I really mean steadily a kg or two over. Why are clothes so heavy?!

  2. This post gave me such a dose of wanderlust, I can’t actually deal! Can I join you on your next travels?!!? Please?! I’ll be good!

    We, turbulence lovers, are few and far between! I love it! and I love long flights with the snazzy planes and the inline movies! ARGHH…

    Write about it all – please! and if you could throw in some advice for us wannabe-travellers that would be great! <3 xx

    1. Hahaha next trip is to find sunshine so pack your swimsuit and your snorkel mask! I was about to say I’ll fit you into my suitcase but then I remembered my issues with packing…….

  3. I have a two week scuba trip to Mexico planned this summer. It’s going to be my first major vacation in years. If Donald Trump’s stupid wall gets erected and (literally) stands in the way of me spending two weeks in the sun and sand and water, I will scream. Outside the White House or the Trump Tower, I will scream wherever I feel will be most effective. Because ohhh have I been looking forward to this trip.

    I envy sporadic nomads like you. Somehow I’ve tied myself down with dogs and a demanding job and a mortgage and I think my time/money needs to be spent on what I’ve deemed as responsible (practical, necessary, whatever word makes sense). One of my best friends is from Switzerland, she says that is “so American” of me. And I think she’s right! It does seem like Americans spend their time in this strange rat race they signed themselves up for while people from other countries understand the importance of travel and actually engage in it.

    Does this comment have a point? Eh not really? Maybe just to let you know that I’m jealous of your brain-boiling, carriage-filled pilgrimages and that I hope to have some of my own soon.

    Oh! And damn girl, look at you pulling out all the stops and making a poll. I’ll cast my vote now!

    1. Hahaha! Well I know it’s not always easy to find the time but if not now, when? I do think Irish people are particularly inclined to travel because four hours in the car will get you as far as you can go in any one direction on this island. We like to stretch our legs in other parts of the world! America is so huge and varied that you could travel for days and still stay in the same country, so I can see why people might not travel as much!

      Also, dogs are a good trade-off. Dogs are the best.

  4. Ok so what I loved about this post:
    1) Dora who is obviously awesome even though my daughter likes the older too happy, preteen version
    2) I am a die hard traveler. And i intend on doing a lot more traveling in the next few years.
    3) your love of food. My main reason for traveling is food. Like just bags and bags of food wherever I go. I wanna travel till I’m fat.
    Great read and would love individual posts on your travel shingdings. Thanks

  5. Ha! I can picture you trying to pack, and repack, and DE-pack in prep for the next destination. I’m more of a minimalist (not quite barefoot, or anklet wearing, but I love me a good hostel).

    Happy travels Quinn -and it sounds like you’re already off to an amazing start!

        1. Just wait until she’s screaming that she hates you (TE ODIO!) and you’ve ruined her life before eloping with a guy you’re reasonably certain makes meth in his basement.

  6. So Quinn, when you arrive at the airport and depart from the airport… I imagine you with a caravan of toting camels of “non-essential essentials”, right? Or perhaps a miniature toyland train (since you easily fit into small spaces) with 4-5 box-cars behind you driving about in an engineer’s bowler hat, yes? 😉

    1. Sadly I look more like a pack mule, but now that you’ve suggested the toy train guess what I’ll be using next time I go to the airport….?

        1. Maybe a button that plays ‘La Bamba’ every time I press it? Or ‘It’s a Small World.’ There’s nothing as irritating to some people as ‘It’s a Small World’ on repeat and honestly it amuses me greatly!

  7. Can’t wait to read all about your travels, and gain the tips and tricks from a fellow non-essential essentials packer. Any ideas of your next trip?

  8. This is me af:

    “Unfortunately, I’m not one of those golden-haired, anklet-wearing, hostel-loving free spirits who go traveling barefoot for months on end and post pictures on instagram that make you want to claw your eyes out with jealousy. I’m more of a Dora the Explorer type. Not the new stylised version with the pearl earrings who looks like she owns a Burn Book. No, I’m the OG short dumpy Dora with the bowl haircut that looks like she’d be annoyingly upbeat about everything.”

    I travel a lot, almost constantly. But I’m no free spirit. I ain’t graceful. I need roots and motion simultaneously, which is quite problematic. I also freaking HATE airplanes. But I do love long drives, so it all balances out.

    This was a hysterical read for me, but also quite an astute one. As is always the case with you, Quinn! I hope you’ll plan some future travels to the States, there’s a lot more to this wild country than California (though there’s a lot going on there, too). Hank would enjoy showing you around.

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