Into the World, via the Golden State
I never thought I’d leave the San Francisco Bay.
I wasn’t born there, but I got there as fast as I could. It is still the only place I’ve ever been that surpassed my expectations within 45 minutes of my plane landing, and I happily spent six sun-soaked years there. Mostly I just went about my business, but I became a healthier, happier and smarter person than ever before. It was kind of like my Eat, Pray, Love period, except I didn’t have to blaze a trail of western condescension and cluelessness through Bali and India in order to achieve self discovery. Also, the title of my memoir would have been Study, Work, Sleep.
In the end I left the Bay Area because I married someone who couldn’t stay, and we haven’t really settled anywhere since. Moving fluidly through Glasgow (Scotland), Tallinn (Estonia), Almaty (Kazakhstan), and New York City (y’all know where that is) in the space of four years, I began to seriously enjoy being on the move. In fact, the more I saw, the more I wanted to see. These days I rarely think about California anymore.
On my last day in Oakland I was seized by the desire to buy a postcard. I wanted something small and light to take with me, a reminder of my plan to eventually move back. The problem was, no one makes postcards for the city of Oakland, San Francisco’s little sister across the Bay with the turbulent past and the uncertain future. So I made my own.
Then I started this blog. I posted some dribbles from trips to Italy, from around the Bay Area, and from my first few weeks in my new home, Glasgow. I spent 10x more time on the photo editing than on the “travel writing”, always worrying that this or that location wasn’t sufficiently, universally interesting. But eventually I decided to make a point of putting the “wherever” in Postcards From Wherever, posting gorgeous and well-known places when I did travel to them of course, but prioritizing the underrated.
While I am, at best, an amateur photographer, I love love love to edit photos. Heavy edits make the best postcards, so I use this space as a guilt-free excuse to add textures, weird filters and manufactured light sources to mostly iPhone and Canon Powershot photos. I also collect fonts somewhat obsessively— even for a graphic designer— and I use the postcard format for typography experiments.
Why I Travel
I did not begin traveling with traveling in mind. I began traveling by getting along with people who are more adventurous than I am, and then saying yes to everything. The more places you go, though, the more opportunities arise to visit more places still. At this point I like to visit countries where I have something to hook into. A friend or a friend of a friend will do the trick, or less often a language course or a job prospect will be the better road to go down.
I like to stay a while. In the past I have been most comfortable obtaining long term visas and then using my new country as a base camp to explore the surrounding region. I have always shared expenses with my partner and held down “normal” jobs. I’ve been lucky to find positions where remote working is acceptable, but being married to an EU citizen has also removed a lot of barriers in terms of qualifying to work in certain countries. I don’t live like a backpacker and I never intend to, but I’ve found I can see a dizzying number of places by constantly establishing new homes.
For me, the point of travel is to see things I’ve never seen before, make new friends, and learn everything I possibly can. History, geography, languages, and culture at the University of Real Life.