Welcome to round 80 of ‘Meet a Random Traveller’. The series dedicated to bring attention to fantastic people all around the world doing their thing.
Random Traveller 80
Who are you & what’s the deal?
I’ve been a traveler all my life–camping as a kid, skiing and snowboarding across the country, and seeking out the world’s best waves. I also started writing novels back in 2003, when I embarked on a fifteen-month round-the-world surf trip. I got married this June and vacated my Long Island apartment to set off on a ten-week honeymoon; it just made sense for me to combine my passion for travel and writing. So I launched Somewhere Or Bust–a travel blog that features travel tips and tales, many of which occur because of misadventure.
Where those around you surprised when you packed your things and left?
The first time I set off overseas, I don’t think people were very surprised, but they certainly couldn’t understand how a person could live out of a backpack for over a year and lug around a surfboard.
Seeing as your a proper surfer dude where is the one place you recommend other like minded people check out?
For the first year of my trip, I only visited places with waves. Most spots were quiet fishing villages. So during flat spells or after morning surfs, there wasn’t much to see, so I’d meet the locals, pick up odd jobs, or sit in coffee shops beside the sea and write for hours. The best destinations to feel like you’ve fallen off the tourist trail and to experience some of the best waves (whether you surf them or just watch) would be:
Margaret’s River in Western Australia–The waves there can get up to fifty feet and they break over rocky reefs. I found work at a hostel on the beach, but the town Margaret’s River, a few miles inland, is a laid back hippy commune worth visiting, too. There are also great trips south to a place called Elephant Rocks and a spot where you can climb a one hundred meter tree.
Mundaka in the north of Spain–This is one of the fastest waves I’ve ever surfed. I stayed for a week and met only two other non-Mundakans (if that’s what they call themselves). But during the five-day flat spell, I visited with the butcher for prosciutto, the baker for bread, the dairy man for cheese, and the fruit vendor for an orange. Then I’d find a bench along the river and eat that same delicious lunch daily. After that, I would tour the town with an Euskadi-English dictionary and translate all of the graffiti that was vehemently in favor of seceding from Spain. A few of the old men would shout “Hola, Noah.”
Bundoran in Northern Ireland–Here I worked in a bar, lived with the bar manager for a week (even though he fired me after two days), and just hitch-hiked back and forth between an empty wave that broke in emerald green waters and the bar manager’s home at the foot of some spectacular mountains.
Chicama in Peru–This wave is two miles long if it works right. When I arrived, it worked right. (For perspective, most great waves work for a few hundred meters…)
And you’re writing a book?
At the moment, I’m shopping around two books–a novel and a work of nonfiction–both of which are rooted in travel. The novel is about an infant survivor of the Cambodian genocide who has been brainwashed by his mentor and escapes this man by embarking on a world adventure. The nonfiction book, also deals with genocide (I’m usually not so grim), but is my story to uncover my grandparents’ experiences in the concentration camps. The search leads me to Israel and Poland. I’ve also started writing a travel book about my year of misadventures.
What’s the plan?
At the moment, I’m traveling around Southeast Asia. I have to return to the States in September to go back to my teaching job, but I’m looking forward to future adventures. I hope to visit South Africa, Brazil, and India soon. There are also a few States that I’m keen on exploring, like New Mexico, Oregon and Washington. But honestly, I’ll travel anywhere.
A big thanks to Noah for taking part, great to have you.
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