Twipper of the Week: Robert Reid form Reid on Travel and Natural Geographic Traveler’s Digital Nomad.


Current city: Portland, Oregon

Age: 47

What makes you interesting: Usually when I have an idea for a travel story or video, I hear “that’s not travel.” That’s why I ended up using Billy Joel lyrics as a guidebook to Long Island, trained with the Mounties in Saskatchewan, counted mustaches across Russia, and threw the 100th birthday for the Manhattan Bridge in New York.

Total countries visited: I don’t know. A few dozen? I really am to the point of being destination-agnostic, so I don’t keep track. Where there’s people, there’s a way to like it loads — and probably get some fudge.

Most magical place on Earth: Home after a long trip. You see it anew. Like a traveler. I think, in the end, that’s the ultimate point of it all: understanding where you’re from better.

Who is the most interesting person you have met while traveling: I really have a hard time answering this. Last year I met a Wyoming geologist with triumphant sideburns who sputtered out more off-the-cuff travel creeds than you could get in a book of inspirational quotes. Like “if you don’t like where you are, look at your feet.” He taught me so much about the dips in landscapes, the pebbles we pass. Plus he made me a tuna sandwich.

What is the most interesting food you have ever tried and where: A Stalinist Yakut woman in Siberia handed me a goblet of horse milk and a skewer of cold horse meat at a sun festival. Then she bear-hugged me. The horse meat didn’t taste good. I didn’t say that, nor did I confess that I’m not a Stalinist.

Do you have any recommendations to help battle jet lag:  I got to fly with Bruce Dickinson, lead singer of Iron Maiden, to Iceland once. And I asked him this question. He said, “ignore it.” Just ignore it.

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from traveling: It’s an adult’s last chance at “playing.” Like we did when we were kids? Playing? Just creating our own fun? So I think I try to tap into the things I dreamed of at age 10 or 12, and let trips make them real. It’s built-in wonder, personalized wonder. Like hanging with Civil War reenactors, playing hockey with kids in Gretzky’s old town Edmonton, trying out as a Mountie, using a Monopoly board as a guidebook to seeing its namesakes around Atlantic City. That’s how travel can patch our punctured dreams.

Next travel destination: St Lucia. And I’m packing a clarinet. I’ll try to get clarinet lessons in the hopes I can better understand how local life goes there. And maybe learn some scales.