Each week, The Pin The Map Project turns towards the travel community to share the stories of travelers, editors, writers, bloggers and photographers. This week, meet Hannah McBride of Nowhere Magazine, a literary travel magazine and site that launched in 2009. Hannah is the web editor for Nowhere Magazine and handles all the content that appears on Nowhere’s webpage. Before starting at Nowhere, Hannah spent three years traveling throughout South East Asia where she mastered the art of friendly Thai conversations with “na” and “jao” and developed a knack for picking the best street cart food. Here I interview Hannah on her love of travel and what’s next for her and Nowhere Mag.
What inspires you to travel?
I’m from the Midwest, a place that most people don’t view as a “destination” either because they don’t know much about it or understand its appeal — I seek places like that when I travel.
For those who don’t yet know you, can you explain your travel style?
As a fairly organized person, I like to research and plan a lot before I go somewhere. That said, once I’m there, I don’t stick to an itinerary. Some of my favorite memories while traveling have come from getting lost or following whims.
How do you afford your travels?
I taught while I was in Asia and traveled during school breaks, which struck a good balance with working locally to make money to travel. Travel gets much cheaper once you’re on that side of the world.
Where has been your favorite destination?
I was in Burma when Aung San Suu Kyi was elected — it was amazing to be in a previously closed-off country ripe with the enthusiasm and energy of change.
If you had to settle down in one location forever, where would you choose and why?
Somewhere on a lake, with a healthy change of season and friends and family nearby.
What’s the funniest or weirdest cultural idiosyncrasy you have either witnessed or experienced?
This was actually something I experienced when I came back from living overseas but I noticed that everyone was staring down with their hands in their laps and smiling. I realized that they were just using their phones. It was disturbing to see everyone so engaged with these devices but disconnected from each other.
What keepsake do you have to get at all your destinations? (Whether it’s something free like ticket stubs or brochures, or something you have to buy)
This habit didn’t start as intentional but I have accumulated a lot of magnets from places I’ve visited, most of them strange-shaped or featuring animals.
How about the one thing you cannot travel without?
Baby powder and a pen.
What is the best piece of travel advice you have picked up over the years?
I have developed these pair of philosophies that work in tandem: “look around you” and “just ask.” When one doesn’t work, use the other.
Why did you begin your website? And how did
you come up with your website
Our editor Porter Fox started the website after working in travel writing and journalism — the name suggests our affinity for reporting and writing from places that are out-of-the-way, not well-known or otherwise seen as “nowhere.”
What is your one piece of advice to budding travel writers looking to start a blog or website?
Focus your thoughts and energies on observation. Too much travel writing falls into two categories: ‘navel-gazing I-went-to-this-place-let-me-tell-you-all-about-it’ diary entries or tips and advice intended to help you get the most out of a place, like it’s a casino.
What’s next for 2014? (Trips planned, etc.)
Nowhere is having our first travel writing contest, with a $1,000 prize, so I’m looking forward to reading all the entries. As for personal travel, I usually have a “near” and “far” trip marinating. For a near trip, I’m planning to go to New Orleans because I’ve never been and heard only good things. For a far destination, I want to visit the Mediterranean or the Middle East — Turkey, Greece, Morocco and Iran in particular.
Be sure to follow Nowhere Magazine here: