Twipper of the Week: Erik Gauger of Notes from the Road.
Current city: Portland, Oregon
What makes you interesting: I was in a diving accident when I was fourteen years old. There was this huge current along a barrier reef and I was quickly sucked up and spit out on the reef. Something happened then; a minor case of the bends or something, but suddenly my synapses just started firing differently. I saw the world as it really was; I could tangle thoughts and alter them. It was just an accident, a twist of fate, but that’s how I became interesting.
Total countries visited: I don’t count, but I just tallied all the birds I have seen and I just reached 1,015, or about 10 percent of all the bird species in the world. This is a more colorful and honest way to get a sense of how much of the world you’ve covered than political boundaries.
Most magical place on Earth: The most magical place does not exist. What’s important in travel is that if you are in good spirits, and open to discomfort and discovery, there are magical places everywhere. A millionaire can jet off to Madagascar and stay in a fabulous jetsetter’s getaway, and in his misery may find no such magic among the Baobabs. Alternatively, a man in a power wheelchair may roll out the door of his apartment, get unexpectedly lost, and suddenly find magic in the people and character of a nearby neighborhood.
What people say when they travel with you: I’ve never really been able to get anybody to travel with me, but I expect they’d say, “Oh my God! This is what travel is supposed to be like! Those all-you-can-eat beach vacations, in retrospect, are really stressful. You’ve shown me how to wear flip-flops, travel light, find beautiful insects, sketch without natural talent, to talk with the locals, to try unusual food, to find joy in travel delays.
#1 thing you must do when traveling: Shave. It’s important to keep up your personal hygiene and cleanliness while traveling. Sometimes, you have none of the comforts of home, and nobody to talk to. Keeping a clean shave is one of the habits that keeps my morale high.